Back in college, the subject I dreaded the most was botany. The professor would have us identify different plants by its leaves, flowers, fruits, and even by the root cell composition. What a drag! I was so bummed out by the whole thing because I never thought I would be using it, especially since I was a BS Psychology major! Soon as the semester was over, I would say goodbye to all that I have memorized. Little did I know it was going to be a vital tool for my future work! It was a good thing my long-term memory is working pretty fine. It did not take too long for me to re-awaken the skills and knowledge I used to have. At first of course I had to rely on my spatial memory (i.e. “uhh…yeah that blah tree is the one in front of that thingymajig”) but through time, I was able to really identify different plants/trees by the way they look.
I never got to actually put my skills to the test until one fateful day in Pangulasian Island Resort…
It was a hot day and all of us environmental officers were engaged with different staff training sessions the whole day. In between the sessions, we were trying to develop the different tours and one of them was the Nature Walk wherein guests go on a walking tour of the resort with the environmental officer pointing out and giving interesting facts about different plants and animals along the way. Since the tour is still being developed, we did not expect anyone to sign up for it so we were surprised when one of the butlers approached us and said that his guest is requesting for a Nature Walk. Of course, we could not say no to a guest, especially one who appreciates nature so even though we were packed for the day, we made sure we are able to facilitate the tour in the afternoon. Since I am the one who is most familiar with the different plants along Pangulasian, I was chosen to do the tour.
My guest, Patricia Achleitner, is part of an aquatic research group in Switzerland. Since she is also an environmentalist, I felt a bit of pressure but it was immediately washed away by how friendly and pleasant she is. The tour took approximately 45 minutes. We had special guests in the form of a water monitor lizard, a bulbul, and a group of monkeys, two of which were fighting over a female! We were also able to hear different birdsongs such as that of the white-vented shama’s and a sunbird’s.
It was, overall, a very enjoyable experience for the both of us. When we got back to the resort center, it was already sunset and so we took a couple of pictures before parting ways.
This is the story of my first nature walk. I can’t wait to have more soon!