Who doesn’t love a good story? To say that the art of storytelling is powerful is an understatement. By telling an engaging and captivating story, it can be the foundation of great ideas. It can also draw people from different places closer together.
So how did this newest endeavour come to life? Let us take a look back at its humble beginnings followed by our recap of the first virtual storytelling session starring Po and friends.
Our Wildlife Ambassadors, some of whom are also part of the storytelling team, have been engaging with organisations and schools via Monkey Talks where they elaborate on JGIS’ vision-mission, core activities and future goals. Later on, the Wildlife Ambassadors considered taking the JGIS advocacy further with a project that amalgamates passions for Dr. Jane Goodall, stories, conservation, and community.
Amazingly, a group of storytellers were among the first to express their interest in partnering with JGIS for a storytelling series centred on conservation and wildlife stories for all audiences. Both quickly bonded over their common interests and that inspired the beginning of a beautiful partnership ahead.
Another reason the storytelling project was born is to support the thousands of children in Singapore with hearing impairments. The storytelling team seeks to ensure that our conservation message reaches and includes the hearing-impaired. Plans of adding a sign language interpreter in our future storytelling sessions are in place.
Over 24 storytelling volunteers signed up for the project after a social media callout, lending their voices and ideas in producing the featured stories for the first virtual session. Cora from the storytelling team facilitated a training spanning two sessions where volunteers learned how to narrate stories that captivate children like in Po’s story. Such the storytellers learned to animate their stories as if they were characters in the story itself, hence bringing the story from book to real life.
After weeks of preparation, the dream was realised when JGIS hosted the first virtual storytelling session on October 24 at 3 pm with Cora as the main presenter. The event was welcome to all audiences.
At the start of the online storytelling session, the participants were greeted with a warm welcome from storytelling volunteer Sid, better known as Safari Sid. He started with an enthusiastic introduction of Dr. Jane Goodall, followed by a short narrative of his trip where he saw chimpanzees on an island.
The two main children’s stories featured in the program were “Practice Makes Po-fect” and “Hershie the Hermit Crab”, which were stories written by Raffles Institution’s students in the Ecological Literacy Program.
Practice Makes Po-Fect is a story about Po, a baby Raffles bangled langur, who learns to jump on his own with some help from his friends. The highlight of the zoom session was when the crowd engaged in a chant at the climax of the story.
The second story was Hershie the Hermit Crab which was based on the book ‘A Crab, a Shell and a Little Help’. This story spotlights Hershie the Hermit Crab’s quest for a new shell.
Following this, a video clip of ‘Storytime’ was shown, where Dr. Jane read Patrick McDonnell’s ‘Jane, a narrative that chronicled her life as a young girl. This added a personal touch to the storytelling session
Last but not least, the short story, ‘Three Questions’ by Leo Tolstoy was screened.
At the close of the session, there was a mini-workshop where participants were invited to create their own stories that featured Singapore primates.
The first virtual storytelling session received rave reviews from attendees. For instance, Mdm Wong on Facebook commented that her son enjoyed the event and will be looking forward to our upcoming sessions.
Now it’s your chance to be involved in our upcoming storytelling projects
- You can submit your stories, drawings, digital art, videos or voice recordings to stand a chance to have your wildlife story. The winning entries will be featured in a future storytelling event or on the JGIS website. Send your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message to the JGIS Facebook page
- Keen to join us as a Storytelling Project volunteer for our upcoming projects and events? Fill in this Google Form https://forms.gle/mQyae7WHSPbpoXa19
Our Storytelling Project is a unique experience for participants as it features stories on different kinds of wildlife in Singapore, such as Raffles Banded Langurs, Colugos, Dracos, Hermit Crabs.
For those who did not manage to join us for our first storytelling session, stay tuned and keep a lookout for more storytelling sessions. Stay safe everyone and see you in our next session!