We (i.e. Malaysian Nature Society Selangor Branch) haven't had Open Day celebrations for a year or so now due to logistics and funding issues. It's all very well to show up on the day itself and help man a booth for 4 hours and then pat oneself on the back for having 'helped', but the preparations leading up to the day itself is like a massive full-time job. Canopies, tables, chairs and pickup trucks would have to be rented, volunteers registered, food ordered, sponsors sought, announcements made and official approval sought from the local authorities.
This year, we were fortunate to have been offered a venue by Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam, more popularly known as Bukit Cherakah, a recreational park managed by the Ministry of Agriculture. It was decided that we would have our MNS Open Day and World Environment Day celebrations at the park on the 5th of June.
We were initially offered the use of Camar Rimba, a forested area within the park, but fellow event coordinator George and I determined that the location was a bit too far from the popular trails and we would face difficulty attracting visitors. Optimistic about a partnership with the Malaysian Nature Society, the park managers then very kindly offered us the use of the Visitors' Centre / event hall for the booths. Activities such as nature walks, birdwatching walk and Green Living's Eco-IQ Hunt could then take place in Camar Rimba.
Announcements were duly made, visitors invited, activities planned and preparations finalised. Green Living is lucky to have the assistance of our committee members, Shannon, Jack, Zhang En, Zhang Hui, Angela and Rudhra. We set up our usual games and educational activities at our booth, and added two new games.
Things didn't seem promising at first but by midmorning, we had a steady stream of visitors, and we raised more funds than we had originally anticipated. We managed to reach out to many members of the public, including families and youths who had visited the park to ride their bikes or do the Skytrex treetop adventure course, and we talked to them about issues such as energy and fuel efficiency, the 3Rs of waste management, and habitat conservation.
Seeing that there were many visitors walking past the Visitors' Centre or waiting for trams at the nearby tram stop, I offered to put on MYCAT's tiger costume to attract visitors. Once the visitors approached me to have their photos taken, I would urge them to sign MYCAT's "No More Dead Tigers" petition and attend the MNS Open Day inside the Visitors' Centre. This worked remarkably well, and so I endured 15 minutes of sweating and suffocating within the heavy and unwieldy suit every hour to bring in visitors and raise awareness.
What's new, Pussycat?
Feeling hot, hot, hot.
Thank you for not pulling my tail.
My ears flopped up and down each time I danced or did my jaunty tiger walk.
This will henceforth be known as the weekend I put on a tiger show. Rawr.
Please sign the No More Dead Tigers petition here to support the cause of wildlife conservation and environmental justice! Thank you.