eagle eye
Kids Learn About Hornbills!
Cicada Tree Eco-Place together with Chua Chu Kang Primary School and West Grove Primary School got together to do two projects on hornbills aimed at having kids learn about hornbills and share this information with the community, in the hope that hornbill habitats will grow in Singapore and the region. These projects, which began in 2008, were sponsored by the NIE ASEAN Club, and shared with over 100 international delegates at the 5th International Hornbill Conference held at the Botany Centre, Singapore Botanic Gardens in March 2009.

Here is a summary of what each school did:

Chua Chu Kang Primary School
Hornbill Trail at the Botanic Gardens Jungle

Fifteen kids visited Pulau Ubin with Uncle Andrew to learn about the Singapore Hornbill Project and were inspired to design a trail at the Botanic Gardens Jungle comprising 4 trail stations for outreach on hornbills and their conservation covering the themes:

  • What is a hornbill?
  • Southeast Asian Hornbills
  • What is good hornbill habitat?
  • What kind of food do hornbills eat?
  • How do Oriental Pied Hornbills breed?
  • How can we protect hornbills?

The kids brought gardens visitors on the trail on the afternoon of Sunday 22 March 2009.
What are hornbills? The students talked about the Oriental Pied Hornbill which is the species that lives in Singapore. They also talked about the other species of hornbills which live in the ASEAN region.
Photo Credits: Andrew Tay
What do hornbills eat? (This station was positioned under a huge fig tree in the gardens as hornbills love to eat ripe figs).
Photo Credits: Andrew Tay
Nesting ecology of hornbills (this station was placed within the Botanic Gardens Jungle as hornbills look for tree holes in old trees where they nest and raise their young).
Photo Credits: Andrew Tay
How can we help hornbills? The students spoke about threats hornbills face such as habitat destruction. Solutions shared by the students included reforestation and planting of fig and fruit trees in schools and communities which will provide food not only for hornbills, but other birds and animals too.
Photo Credits: Andrew Tay
Reflections by students of Chua Chu Kang Primary: Seeing a hornbill at Pulau Ubin was the highlight of our project!
Photo Credits: Nick Baker
West Grove Primary School
Blog on Hornbills

Ten kids from West Grove Primary who called themselves the "We Love Hornbills" group created a blog on hornbills to raise public awareness and appreciation of hornbills.

The kids researched about hornbills and visited Pulau Ubin with Uncle Andrew.

They met Uncle Alan at the National Parks Headquarters and learned all about hornbills on Pulau Ubin and the special breeding program developed by the Singapore Hornbill Project. They even got the chance to have a sneak peak at nesting hornbills via a camera in a “smart nest” which is a high-tech artificial nest box housing the mother hornbill and her babies. Nesting can be viewed 24 hours a day on-line so that the nesting behavior of hornbills can be studied and documented in order to increase the survival of the species.

For more information:
Watch a video clip of hornbills' breeding behaviour online at www.youtube.com/user/NParksSingapore

Read more at:
Uncle Alan talking about nesting behavior of hornbills whilst the kids watched what was going on ‘live’ in a hornbill’s nest on a TV monitor. Isn’t that neat?

Blog entry posted by Wenn Ler (11 years): “Hiya everyone, my trip to Pulau Ubin was great and I learnt a lot of things…"

“This project taught me the importance of conserving nature and that nature is wonderful (taught me to mind my language too). Hornbills are delicate and fragile. It’s lucky that Singapore protects hornbills”. Ng Yong Zhin P 6J

Blog entry by We Love Hornbills!: “When we went to Pulau Ubin, the scenery was awesome…"

Back in their classroom, the kids emailed experts about hornbills. They shared their blog in an exchange program with an international school and will be sharing their project with their peers at their school’s media café. Their blog contains their journey in discovering hornbills and includes jokes and an on-line quiz on the Oriental Pied Hornbill.

Their teacher, Ms Mindy Marie Neo said, “Every child in the team has different interests. One of them enjoys making the blog look ‘cool’ and savvy, another enjoys taking pictures and drawing and some love to research, so it was important to understand the strength of each child in the team and give them space to contribute.”

“We tried to tie it (the project) to National Education by raising awareness that such birds can be found here and the importance of cherishing these little treasures that are found within our small island. These birds have chosen our country to nest and love and we should be proud of this; they are certainly part of our heritage”.

Check out our blog at: http://hornbillsrock.blogspot.com/

The kids shared their blog at a public lecture on hornbills held on 26 March at the Botany Centre of the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

Our appreciation to:
National Parks Board Pulau Ubin team
Ms Teo Guat Soon and kids of Chua Chu Kang Primary
Ms Mindy Neo and kids of West Grove Primary
Mr Andrew Tay
Prof Ng Soon Chye, Mr R. Subaraj & Dr Shawn Lum for agreeing to be interviewed by the kids