First Ever STEMng meet-up - The Adventure at Lekki Conservation Center and the Canopy Walkway from an Engineering Outlook
Four months have passed and I can say the Journey has been great - researching, learning, writing and earning, what an interesting amalgam. I owe this a couple of friends. @adetola shared the potential of the steemit platform with me, but I was still in doubts, especially when @rharphelle remarked that it hasn’t been really easy since he joined. Well, I would later be convinced by @mrbreeziewrites who also aided me in making my first STEM post.
Obviously steemit is like an ocean, where small fishes without aid will wander with no course. Even though I was lucky, not having to experience what my predecessor-friends went through, until SteemSTEM, I would say they were with no direction, experimenting different aspects of the platform to see which will unlock the potential said to be available inside.
Well, the tune of the music has changed today, and the reason is non-other than the “SteemSTEM effect”. Wondering what this effect is? Well, this effect dictates that, as long as an author writes within the jurisdiction of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), following all the necessary guidelines, he or she will grow organically and simultaneously earn a commensurating reward.
So far, the SteemSTEM effect has been working. Well, of course it’s a proven theory and many can attest to it. That being said, my growth in this community wouldn’t have been possible without the endless effort of our sub-community leaders in @gentleshaid and @greenrun. They both have been instrumental in the success story of every Nigerian STEM (Stemng) author, even though we only know them digitally.
Well, it’s not only them I do not know in person, there a lot of awesome persons in the StemSTEM and Stemng community that I don’t know in person. I could only guess how each of them look or would speak by my sparing interaction with them on discord. But fortunately, the stemng Lagos meetup was announced and I knew this was a great chance to meet these awesome writers.
Image credit: @gentleshaid
On Wednesday 11th July, 2018, the awaited opportunity came. Unlike @emperorhassy who couldn’t sleep well for reason of anxiety, I was furious at my tailor, sewing me an inferior equivalent of the style I showed him, but I had no choice than to choose from the available choices in my wardrobe.
Eventually, I slept, waking up to @rharphelle’s text, telling me where we are to meet for departure to the place for the meet-up. His time was too early for my convenience, as I wasn’t good at being prompt but I had to defeat my nature this time.
We eventually met and embarked on the Journey to the venue, Lekki Conservation Center (LCC) as it was situated in Lekki, Lagos. We were the first set of people to arrive at the venue, cool, I was bang on time this time around.
While we waited for others to arrive, we were entertained by spider monkeys, jumping around from one tree to the other. I knew monkeys could jump from tree to tree, but I have never seen this in reality. It turned out that LCC was fascinating and I wondered why I had never thought of going before then.
Soon, we were complete, there was no more anonymity, save for the absentees, @gentleshaid was taller than I had imagined and @agbona didn’t have the Igbo accent I had envisaged, it even turned out that @eurogee’s (of euronation) display picture belied him as he was white like snow. We had a couple in our midst in @real2josh and @bookie and even the scrabble master from shagamu, @sogless (soglass) was present. Synick to my surprise came all the way from Edo state, while @samest came later from his work place. @djoi, @harbayomi, @dandymee and @amazonaesh were also all in attendance.
Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC)
If you have been following closely, the venue was Lekki Conservation Centre, Lekki peninsula, Lagos and as the name suggests, it is a reserve area representing Lekki’s ecosystem which has been preserved far back as 30 years ago. Every other place outside it’s barricade has experienced urbanization.
LCC is a 78 hectare area of Natural Lekki Peninsula, which was established and is maintained by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), a non-governmental organization with the goal of nature conservation and sustainable development.
The site was established in 1990 and preserves the wetlands of Lekki peninsula which is rich in thick vegetation and swamp, aiding the preclusion of the extinction of the animal and plant life therein.
Animals inhabiting this ecosystem are monkeys, crocs, snakes and some birds. The monkeys were obviously all around while the latter two we didn’t see, save for a notice, warning us to be wary of snakes and crocs. The monkeys were much in population that @synick suggested that we renamed Lekki Peninsula to Monkey Island.
The Canopy Walkway
To better explore the Park, the canopy walkway was instrumental. As the name reads, it provide tourists with the opportunity to have access to the tree canopy. Using the walkway provided a good view of the region and one will better appreciate the Natural vegetation of Lekki.
The LCC canopy walkway which was an adventure on it’s own, is 401 metres long (longest in africa) with a peak elevation of 22.5 metres. We journeyed for about 2km on a wooden board path before reaching the entrance of the walkway. The canopy walk increases in height as we travel along it until the highest height was reached and later descended to the ground level as we approached the end.
The walkway from afar, appeared to be a rigid bridge but that wasn’t the experience – it was a swinging bridge with a lot of flexibility, owing to the aluminum chain-like base, suspended by steel ropes. There are 7 stages each which is stated to bear 6 persons at a time. In the true sense, each stage of bridge can hold more than 6 persons at a time but there must be allowance for safety – we call it Factor of safety in engineering.
We traveled on each stage in a group of six. The base of the walkway is technically a chain, consisting of perforated aluminum links. Each link is about 1 metre in length on the average and is hinged to the next link at its corners. Shielding the pedestrian is a fabric net, barricading both sides of the chain vertically, serving as a rail and support at the same time.
At the end of the first six stages are towers, were we rested and took pictures before moving to the next stage. The tower was also the major support for the bridge as each stage was attached at each end to two towers. Steel ropes which is expected to have enough tensile strength – the ability to withstand pulling from climbing – are located at regular interval to support this chain-like base of bridge at the intermediate points between the towers on both sides. The repeated steel ropes are in turn attached to a horizontal steel rope spanning from one tower to the other just like the
Bulk of the bridge was constructed from aluminum – the tower and the bridge base – due to its high corrosion resistance (a property essential to prevent failure in such a moist environment) and high strength to weight ratio – which is known to be greater than that of steel. Only the repeated ropes were made of steel due to the needed tensile strength.
Walking on the canopy walkway was a mixed experience – it was fascinating and scary. Its purpose was to make us see the Park from a good vantage point but the swinging nature of the bridge and the elevation often overwhelmed us that we concentrated more on climbing the bridge than view the park. At the second stage, I was going to turn back, when the thought that there was no escape in any adverse event, but then, another group of six were already on our tail. Moreso, I realized I had gone far away to turn back and even going back was the same experience.
The Family Park
The Family Park is a cleared ground, missing the thick vegetation of Lekki Peninsula. Its sole purpose is to allow tourists indulge in other activities of their interest aside taking a tour around the park. Contained in the family park are huts for any form of recreation and at its center is a fish pond.
Board games like Ludo, Chess, Snake and Ladder, and Draught were all available in a form they termed “floor games”, as they were made mega in size. On the chess board for instance, a person can stand as a chess piece. On the far side of the family park was a volley ball court – it was a pity that we had no ball with us.
But even when we thought we had finished and headed back, we sighted the Tree house – it was a small compartment very high on a tree. It appeared to be at an elevation even higher than the peak of the canopy walkway. It was our last adventure at LCC.
The meet-up was a memorable experience that anyone wouldn’t want to end, however, there’s nothing with a start that has no end. Upon leaving the family park, we headed back towards the reception area. It was the same 2 km walk on the wooden board as we did when we were going to the canopy walkway.
Before departure, we took a group photograph and then bid each other farewell.
Long live @steemstem, long live @stemng!!!
If you write STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related posts, consider joining #steemSTEM on steemit chat or discord here. If you are from Nigeria, you may want to include the #stemng tag in your post. You can visit this blog by @stemng for more details.