Faculty of Environmental Studies, University Putra Malaysia Stories

on 24 Jun, 18:04
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Xiwen Yeoh

Shah Alam Trees for Life (June 2014)

Shah Alam Trees for Life (June 2014)
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It was another tree planting event held by Eco Warriors Malaysia together with Shah Alam City Counciland UMWT at Taman Tasik Kota Kemuning last Saturday! Yes, it was Shah Alam Trees for Life again which would be going on almost once for every month throughout the year! Too bad I can only write a post-event post instead of an event trailer as I was still in examination week before that weekend. Anyway, even though this was not the first tree planting event (this was the second one, here‘s the first one) that I have gone to, this one could be considered as a brand new experience because my fellow coursemates joined the effort!!! They drove all the way from UPM, Serdang to Kota Kemuning and somehow got lost in this place, hahaha. At the end they managed to get to this mesmerising lake on time before the tree planting section started.

Evening view of Taman Tasik Kota Kemuning, or we used to call it Lakeside

Sometimes I live in Kota Kemuning so I go to this place quite often for some morning or evening stroll. Lakeside is a recreational place with a very large lake and a fountain shooting up into the sky and spraying lake water at passer-bys. There is also pavement surrounded the circumference of the lake for people to walk on besides land covered with grasses. Scenery there is taotally amazing especially during the evening when the sun is setting. If you are lucky enough, at the correct orientation and time you can see rainbows as a result of the refraction of sunlight by the fountain. People living there love to get some fresh air at the lakeside and you can see all sorts of activities going on there: kite-flying (even the four-stringed one which can do tricks), fishing (which is actually forbidden), jogging, cycling (it is quite dangerous as joggers share the same pavement with cyclists, and the pavement is not very wide), having picnic, strolling and the list goes on. So when I heard that Shah Alam Trees for Life is coming to Kota Kemuning, I was thrilled! It was so near to where I live! And there is no excuse for my dear for not coming with me (hehehe).

The morning of the event! Fresh air!

The other side of the lake. See the fountain?

As I was a bit late for the event, the tents were already full with volunteers. For the last Shah Alam Trees for Life event that I attend, there was not so many people compared to this one! Guess what? There were more than 1000 volunteers in this event!

I went to Lakeside a week before the event and found that all the holes were dug (a bit disappointed as they were not dug using the driller, hahaha, I kinda like the tractor with driller), leaving behind holes which were quite an ugly view. Finally came the event day where we were going to plant the trees and cover up the holes with healthy-looking topsoil! As usual, volunteers were divided into a few plots and the volunteers from UPM (us!) and University Technology Mara (UiTM) were given one of the furthest plot at the end of the lake. Me and Hanis had fun working together in getting the tree-lings planted as nice as possible so that the authority did not have to replant these poor trees (if mishandled). Firstly we had to remove the tree-lings from the poly bags. Although the bags were cut open vertically, we had troubles removing the tree-lings from the bags without breaking the rootballs because I think the tree-lings had overgrown that the roots had penetrated the bottom of the poly bags. Some of the tree-lings were somehow crooked as their stems were not upright but bending in weird direction.  However one good thing about the tree planting event this time compared to last time was we don’t have to move the top soil from one particular site to the planting site which would be really exhausting! After planting the trees, we had to insert a pole beside the tree then tied the tree to the pole using a string to make sure that the trees grow in the right direction.

The mayor and other VIPs heading towards the plot.

Bernard (leader from Eco Warriors) giving instructions and reminders to fellow volunteers. The crowd was so huge!!!

Demonstration of tree planting. The tree-ling on the ground was planted in a biodegradable poly bag instead of the normal black colour one as shown in the photo, which means we do not have to remove the poly bag! What a good innovation! Less waste will be created!

Me and my coursemates together with some other volunteers were the last who left the planting sites as we saw there were lots of unplanted trees on the other plot. So we planted as many as we could but at the end we surrendered due to the scorching hot sun and the overwhelming workload (seriously there were still a lot of unplanted trees there due to uneven distribution of volunteers, some plots got more than enough volunteers but some not). No matter how, it was the first time we attended tree planting event together! When we work on something with the physical support of friends, things seem easier and more enjoyable! After the exhausting work we sat at the wooden table under the trees and chatted about our future plan as an active environmental student. It doesn’t matter how many trees we had planted but how encouraging this feeling of cooperation has given us to fight for the environment creating awareness among the public. It would not be easy, but we will still give it a try despite all the difficulties ahead that we can foresee.

My fellow coursemates! (made by Faiz)

So dear Selangorians! If you live in Shah Alam, keep an eye on the Eco Warriors fanpage on Facebook or MESYM to update the information regarding the next tree planting event! The weather is really hot recently and we definitely need more trees to chill the atmosphere a little! Lets do it together!

P/S: This post was taken from my personal blog.

on 7 May, 16:17
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Xiwen Yeoh

MENGO H2O Hunt 2014

MENGO H2O Hunt 2014
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This was the first volunteering trip I went with my fellow coursemates (16 dedicated volunteers from University Putra Malaysia!!! Whee~~~~~) for the MENGO H2O Hunt 2014 at Publika last Sunday. We had to wake up early and take the bus early but at the end…we were still a bit late (boohoo…) that we did not have enough time to change into the Tshirt provided by the organiser and to take breakfast. The briefing was very brief and we were taken to our respective check point (as we were not familiar to that place) to start our work almost right away.


Awesome morning view. That’s one of the reasons I love to wake up early in the morning.

 

We could even see KLCC and KL Tower bathing in dawn light from Publika!

Unlike the tree planting event that I went before where everyone had the same work scope (which was planting trees, haha), each of us have different works to do. Mine was to be the head marshall (a.k.a. game master commonly) of check point no. 2 – hike & seek. The participants would have to look through the bookmarks each stated with a substance to find 10 water pollutants and jot them down within 10 minutes to avoid a penalty. For environmental studies student like me, it was a really easy task (hehe, being proud of myself) but it’s somehow slightly confusing for public especially the term ‘cadmium’ (I was refraining myself from telling them, ”you handphone!!!”, hahaha). So my job was to watch the timing and give them the stamp on their ‘passport’ after they had completed their task.

 

Had you found this check point? 😉

 

The mysterious bookmarks, let’s seriously think about what are the water pollutants existing in our environment.

 

Sounds superior, right? Hehe.

While waiting for the participants to find my check point, I just looked around the building or Publika. This shopping gallery is really special, so far it has the most unique design for a shopping center that I have ever seen. Every floor seems like ground floor as there is open area for some of the floors. For example, the square is not exactly on ground floor but it is on G3 which we had to take two flights of escalators to reach there (we got lost somehow when looking for the registration site). There were people cycling (I believe that the bicycles were borrowed from Publika) or jogging at the shopping gallery (healthy lifestyle! Don’t just go shopping at shopping mall!). It was so adorable looking at the little children interacted with their parents, they were just so so cute! And I saw couple bike! Two person sharing one bike! How sweeeeet! Besides, the washrooms in Publika are somewhere you should check them out. The designs of the washrooms are very artistic. One of the washrooms that I went has the paintings of traditional Chinese characters and dragons while the other one has…cartoons? Maybe if I was not wrong. Yeah we came to Publika for the first time and it excited me and Erika (hahahahaha).

 

The Washroom. Hahaha. Thanks to Erika for having an obsession to take photo through washroom mirror and her sense of arts.

 

The Square, which is located at the third floor a.k.a. ‘G3’. And I noticed there is a place called The Circle at ground floor, the place we first reached Publika.

 

Our VIP. (from the left: Ms. Yasmin Rasyid, Mr. Eric Tang, Dato’ Anuar Saddad, Mr. Awang Muzaiddin, Mrs. Jen Kristen Chang )

 

The prize-giving ceremony! Congratulation to all the winners!

I have heard of the name of Yasmin Ras long time ago but have not met her face-to-face. She is the founder and president of EcoKnights, a non-for-profit environmental organization started in 2005. I was just too shy to walk over and say ‘hi’ (boohoo again). There were not many volunteers there, not more than 30 persons. Too bad we did not really have much time to talk to each other. When I was carrying out my duty, watching the participants trying their best to solve the task, I wished that I was one of them. It was simply so exciting, just like ‘The Amazing Race’ that we watched on TV but this one was carried out in a smaller scale. As I was fixed at one check point, so I was unable to go anywhere else as I like to take photos or observe how the whole event went (not event the flagging off! Noooooooooooooooo). If possible I think I would just be a full-time blogger next time, haha. Oh yeah, there is another important thing. I think we would be on TV and newspaper, bwahahahahaha, there were many reporters there walking around with the bulky cameras (ok ok, DSLR).

 

Me and my fellow coursemates posing after the event. (credit goes to Gee Latif)

 

After communicating for a few weeks over emails and phone calls, finally I met Mr. Syamil in person and I was surprised that he is really young. I even used the word ‘Mr.’, that sounds so old. He is the assistant coordinator for MENGO Support Unit Office. Hahaha. Just found that the colour of our clothes looks like Power Rangers. (From the left: Me, Syamil and Rahimi, the president of the Persatuan Mahasiswa Fakulti Pengajian Alam Sekitar)

 

P/S: This post was taken from my personal blog.

on 7 May, 16:15
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Xiwen Yeoh

Shah Alam Trees for Life 2013

Shah Alam Trees for Life 2013
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Here I come Shah Alam Trees for Life 2013!!!

Hey guys! It’s me going to another green event again! I feel really grateful that I got the chances to do things that I enjoy during university life. This time I went to the Laman Kemerdekaan, Shah Alam, one of the largest green lungs in Kuala Lumpur, for my first tree-planting activity – Shah Alam Trees for Life 2013. I have been following the Eco Warriors Group in Facebook since I was in high school but could not make it every time this event was held (starting about one and a half year ago, this was already the 28th event organised by Shah Alam City Council and Eco Warriors!!! I shouldn’t miss anyone of it from now on, bwahahahahaha).

So glad that we were having a nice and warm morning during this event. What a blessing!

The objective of this event is to create a recreational place for family gatherings within this lush greenery!

Trees are one of the most important parts in Nature which make up the water catchment area besides preventing soil erosion!

One day it will thrive and be as tall and as strong as any other trees there.

For your infomation, more than 42,000 trees have been planted for the past 27 Shah Alam Tree for Life events which involved about 8,000 volunteers. According to the information provided by Bernard Eng, one of the key persons in Eco Warriors, these are the trees that were planted at six plots there: Bucida, Kiara Pavuna, Euginia Oleana, Dalbergia, Kayu Putih, Sentang and Tecoma, which made up approximately 500 tress in total.
(links for some of the past events: http://www.mbsa.gov.my/en/shah-alam-trees-for-life ; http://www.mbsa.gov.my/en/shah-alam-trees-for-life1)

This is Bernard Eng who has been organising this event giving instructions on how to plant a tree. We have ‘met’ on Facebook long before and this was the first time we met face-to-face. I was inspired by his dedication in contributing to the environment from the way he talked. Indeed, we need young people to get involved in green actions!

Firstly, tear off the bag wrapped around the root ball of the young tree.

Reminder: Be gentle while handling the root ball (yes that is what we called, the compact soil at the root of the plant) as it could decide the well-being of the tree!

Opening ceremony by the Mayor of Shah Alam City Council, Y. Bhg. Dato’ Mohd. Jaafar bin Mohd. Atan. Thanks so much for willing to spend your precious time with us this Sunday morning!

The first tree being planted by our Mayor.

I forgot when was the last time I got my hands dirty with soil. I didn’t wear gloves that day, using my bare hands to work with the soil (it was not dirty at all seriously!). Work was not that tough since we had the tractor like machine to dig holes for us. It’s really quick and easy! What we finally have to do is to remove the young trees from the bags and put them into the holes and covered up the holes with soil. At the end, a pole was stuck into the ground beside the plant to make sure that it grows up straight. Actually it was quite difficult to plant the trees with its trunk straight due to my lacked-of-skills. They usually ended up a bit inclined to the side. Hopefully the poles will do the job later on!

This event was joined by Politeknik, KPJ Healthcare, Crown Worldwide, Uitm and other individual volunteers including Eco Warriors!

The ‘tractor’ I mentioned just now. Those workers form Shah Alam City Council were very friendly and helpful! They lent us hands whenever we faced problems during tree planting.

See? No hoe is needed!

Some of the pre-dug holes were filled with water due to the rain on previous night. Do you guys notice the frogspawn??

Rows of young trees ready to reach for the sky!!!

As we know, trees can purify and cool down the air besides providing shades under the scorching sun of Malaysia. Directly or indirectly, they contribute to our life so that we have a more healthy environment to live in, not to mention their other uses in industries etc. No tree = no life. We can even unwind ourselves by simply admiring the beauty of trees. Nature is not complete without trees. (one of the reasons that I love my university very much is because of the trees!!! haha)

Too bad that I attended it alone, most of my friends were having their own activities in university. However I met some inspiring Eco Warriors there. I could see sparkles in their eyes when they talked about the past experiences in tree plantings. Stay tune! The next Shah Alam Trees for Life 2013 will be in early of December 2013!

Cheers! Stay calm and plant a tree.

P/S: This article is taken and edited from my own blog: http://xiwenwendy.blogspot.com/2013/10/shah-alam-trees-for-life-2013.html

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