PENCINTA ALAM DEC 2012
GREEN LIVING COLUMN
YEAR-END STAYCATION IDEAS
By Wong Ee Lynn
GREEN LIVING COLUMN
YEAR-END STAYCATION IDEAS
By Wong Ee Lynn
The end of the year is approaching, and for many, this is a time to clear their annual leave days or just take time off to be with their families, particularly school-going children who are on their year-end semester break.
The word "staycation" is a combination of "stay" and "vacation", and describes a vacation at home or near your home and within the same state or area. Staycations are getting more and more popular for environmental and economic reasons. These are some of the advantages of staycations over travelling abroad:
(i) Less stressful -- Let's face it. Not many of us enjoy the hassle of having to with travel insurance, missing luggage, delayed flights and other disappointments.
(ii) Less expensive, but better for the local economy, especially if you are creating opportunities for local and indigenous communities.
(iii) Less travel and less fuel usage.
(iv) Less consumption, less waste and no excuses to buy tacky souvenirs for everyone back at the office.
(v) It may cultivate greater interest in and awareness of the local environment
A staycation can be more than just another day spent on housework and taking care of bills and errands. Here are several ideas on how those of us who live in or around the Klang Valley can make our staycations more meaningful and memorable:
1. VOLUNTEER FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSE
Facebook groups such as Project Revive and Sampah Masyarakat periodically organise community cleanup projects as well as cleanliness awareness programmes. A local community group, Hawksbill EcoClub, organises periodic volunteer programmes for the Turtle Conservation and Information Centre at Pantai Padang Kemunting, Masjid Tanah, Melaka. Their latest call for volunteers on 24th November is for manpower to bathe the turtles, clean the turtle holding pond (for turtles pending release into the sea) and clean the hatchery. Keep in touch with these groups via social media to find out when their next project or campaign will be, so you can have a really worthwhile reason for going to the beach or park. MNS may also welcome the assistance of volunteers, particularly if you have special skills such as graphic design, photography, editing or organising to share.
2. VOLUNTEER AT THE NATIONAL ZOO
Nobody likes to see wild animals in captivity. But sometimes there just isn't a better alternative or permanent solution in the event of wild animals confiscated from or surrendered by private owners, private zoos, circuses and petting zoos, where they are likely to have been born and raised in captivity. A good way of helping wildlife and understanding the challenges involved in operating, managing and funding wildlife facilities would be to volunteer at Zoo Negara, where you will be able to do hands-on work to create a safe, clean and healthy environment for the animals and be involved in enrichment programmes to stimulate the animals and encourage them to engage in natural behaviour such as foraging and hunting. To be a Zoo Volunteer, you need to be at the Zoo by 8 a.m. and be prepared to work until 4 p.m. Bring your own food and drinking water. To register, you need to contact the Education Department at email@example.com at least a day in advance. The registration form is available at http://www.zoonegaramalaysia.my/education/pdf/volunteerprogramme.pdf, or you can register when you arrive. You must arrive at the Zoo on the designated day before 8.00 a.m. If you are driving, do try to park at the staff parking area or neighbouring residential area to avoid having to pay a hefty parking fee to the car park concessionaire. Enter the Zoo from Gate 3 and ask the Security personnel to direct you to the Education Office. Inform the Education officer on duty that you are here to volunteer and submit your registration form.
3. VOLUNTEER AT AN ANIMAL SHELTER
Are you an animal lover who is unable to adopt an animal due to family or work commitments or the fact that you live in a high-rise? Or do you already have a companion animal but feel sorry for other animals who have not found their permanent homes? You can help our local animal shelters, SPCA Selangor or PAWS by contributing your time and energy. Either register through their respective websites or come visit the shelters yourself. Weekends are a good time because there is then a greater likelihood of meeting other volunteers there who will be able to guide you and assist you. You will be able to assist in bathing and tickwashing dogs, applying medicine on minor injuries such as scratches and eye infections, cleaning the animals' living quarters and preparing food. Alternatively, you can also assist during their fundraising and educational campaigns and events. The sight of shelter animals may initially make you sad, but remember that your inaction and sorrow can't help them, only your direct action can.
4. DONATE BLOOD
Have you always wanted to donate blood, but were afraid that you may be too tired to go back to work or carry out your usual activities immediately after? A staycation is a good time to recuperate and rest after donating blood. The National Blood Centre in Jalan Tun Razak welcomes blood donors and has a high standard of care. For more information, you can call them up at 03 - 2693 3888 or visit their website at http://www.pdn.gov.my/. Just be sure you are in good health, have had at least 6 hours of sleep and have had a good meal before donating blood.
5. VISIT LOCAL NATURAL ATTRACTIONS
There are many local natural attractions you may not have visited yet. Green lungs such as Bukit Gasing Forest Park, Kota Damansara Community Forest and Lembah Kiara Recreational Park have much to offer cyclists, trekkers, birders and nature-lovers. If you are willing to drive out a little further, the Kuala Selangor Nature Park, which is managed by MNS, is an ideal destination for a daytrip or a short stay (the chalets have been recently renovated), and you may also be able to squeeze in a visit to Bukit Malawati to see the lighthouse and silver-leaf monkeys.
6. BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY
It is surprising how many KL-ites have yet to visit KL Tower, Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve or the Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge. Take a day off to take the LRT or bus to the city centre and explore all the sites that a tourist would. A fun way to enter KL Tower would be to take the alternative jungle path across the road from the Dang Wangi LRT station, along the fence of the Handicraft Centre. Go through the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve up the hill and across the little rope bridge to the park at the foot of KL Tower. There are also many museums you can visit in KL, including the National Museum, National Art Gallery, Telekom Museum, Maybank Numismatic Museum and the Philately Museum in Dayabumi. A walk in Little India (Brickfields) or Chinatown (Petaling Street) may also create opportunities for interesting experiences that you would normally not have time for in the course of rushing through these places to run errands.
Do you have other great staycation ideas? We would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Zoo Volunteers, image credit: Meiyi Leong and Ju Lienne Seet.)