By the Ecolitters
‘Look closer, look longer, look harder’.
Since the first session, this tagline has been brought up repeatedly by our teacher mentors, Mr Tan Sijie and Mrs Aileen See. Encapsulating the main essence of the Ecological Literacy Programme, also fondly referred to as ‘Eco-Lit’, this tagline encourages our members to observe the world around them, and to notice and experience the beauty of the world’s flora and fauna.
When you go to any of Singapore’s parks or nature reserves – be it on a family trip, or for recreation – are you actually able to name the various trees and plants you see? Does something simple, like a bee buzzing around a flower, slip past your eye? As Eco-Lit members, we are all united by our deep passion for understanding our ecosystem and its interactions with other aspects of the world, to help and protect the spaces of green left in our urban societies.
To understand how to take care of the world, we first learn to take care of something on a much smaller scale. Our well-loved Eco-Lit Garden is home to many hand-planted crops, such as passionfruit and mulberries, that we tend to and harvest regularly. While each yield may be small, the thrill of seeing our hard work manifest into the literal fruits of our labour is hard to beat.
Of course, every explorer needs their trusty journal to record lasting memories! Our Eco-Lit members are each equipped with their own personalised Eco-Lit nature journals, not just to record logs of our time in Eco-Lit, but also to encourage us go out into nature by ourselves, ask our own questions, find our own answers, and ultimately, learn more about our fascinating world.
While Covid-19 might have stolen our chance to have field trips (arguably one of the main perks of Eco-Lit), we’ve still had the opportunity to experience many meaningful and fun-filled activities planned by our teachers. From pressing wildflowers to making our own sugarcane juice from harvested sugarcane, Eco-Lit continues to provide us with unique out-of-classroom experiences that you’d be lucky to find anywhere else.
Another highlight of Eco-Lit sessions is the various guests that have come to share their insights with us. Ever wondered where Pokemon can be found in real life? What about how humble seagrass can reverse climate change? All these interesting topics (and more!) have been covered by our distinguished speakers this year, imparting us with greater knowledge and a thirst to learn more.
Eco-Lit also offers an irresistible opportunity for us to write and publish our own childrens’ books. Started in 2010, this book project aims to shine a spotlight on Singapore’s ecosystem by covering various aspects of Singapore’s ecosystem, planting the seed of exploration into the next generation. This optional, student-driven project has published 27 books so far, with copies reaching the National Library Board and primary schools around Singapore. (If you’re interested to read them, do check them out at http://www.ri.edu.sg/school-life/raffles-leadership-institute/ecolit-books)
So, if you’re a nature enthusiast, and have a love for the outdoors, do consider joining us! Our only stipulations are regular attendance for sessions on Wednesdays 1-3pm, and a positive learning attitude.