by Ria Tan
7 Jul 07 was the auspicious day when the Chek Jawa boardwalk was launched.
Ria shares some personal behind-the-scenes stories.
Solid signs of the boardwalk first appeared in Nov 06, when pillars for the boardwalk started appearing on the shore. The Chek Jawa guides were at that time wondering whether the boardwalk would really be THAT tall!
Not realising that eventually, the pillars would be 'trimmed' to a more practical height.
The boardwalk was built with minimal impact on the rich seagrasses and sandflats. So much so that throughout the construction, public walks continued to be held. I once even saw a carpet anemone very close to a pillar. It was healthy and unharmed.
The walks were only suspended in early 2007 because massive flooding of freshwater had killed of many animals on Chek Jawa. After the mass death, it was thought best at that time, to give the habitat a rest from countless feet. More about this in an upcoming feature.
In Nov 06, NParks brought volunteers and friends of Chek Jawa for a briefing and tour of the works-in-progress. It was high tide so we took a boat to the worksite.
Work was well on its way at the time. Here we are examining the floating pontoon. It was quite exciting to see this new facility taking shape.
In Jan 07, a few volunteers had the traditional New Year Toast to Chek Jawa, with the boardwalk in the background.
In Feb 07, when TeamSeagrass did the first monitoring session on Chek Jawa, the boardwalk was well on its way all around the coast and through the mangroves.
By Jul 07, the boardwalk is all done and ready to take on visitors!
Prior to the launch, the volunteers got a sneak preview of the fully restored House No. 1 which is also Chek Jawa's Visitor Centre.
Among the House's unique features are a fireplace! Apparently it's a real working fireplace. The House has lots of informative panels about Chek Jawa.
And a Rescue Tank to hold any injured animals for recovery before they are eventually released.
The tank has a section of seagrasses, which allows a fabulous close up look at these interesting plants without having to get your face wet.
The panels also highlight some of the threats to Chek Jawa (and all our other shores too).
Finally, on 7 Jul 07, the boardwalk was officially launched. It was great opportunity to celebrate with friends who have walked this journey of many years. After the official business was over, we gathered together for a Toast to Chek Jawa. Although usually only held on New Year, we thought this was a special enough beginning to have an Extraordinary Toast.
We were delighted when NParks CEO Ng Lang made a special effort to come back and join us for the toast.
The completion of the boardwalk is indeed a milestone!
You CAN make a difference for Chek Jawa!
Visit Chek Jawa: with the boardwalk now open, you can visit any tide!
Share and speak up: write about your trip and thoughts of Chek Jawa on your blog, encourage guides by writing to the organisation.
ACT: be a nature guide at Chek Jawa!
More about the boardwalk launch
Champagne at Chek Jawa on the habitatnews blog with more details behind the boardwalk.
Chek Jawa now open-any tide! on the wonderful creations blog with more details of the launch including photos of what we saw during the walk.
The Banded krait that graced the launch on the habitatnews blog.
Chek Jawa Wetlands: the next chapter on Joseph Lai's eart-h.com
Charming Chek Jawa on the cooler insights blog
Chek Jawa Wetlands launched on the tidechaser blog
Seagrass poster for the launch on the teamseagrass blog
Chek Jawa journey: a new chapter on the wildfilms blog
by Ria Tan