Connaught Drive part of a new civic district tree trail

KELLY NG Today Online 27 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE — The Republic now has an “Avenue of Heritage Trees” — trees that have been silent witnesses to several milestones in Singapore’s growth as a city-state, including the declaration of independence and the first National Day Parade in 1966.

Connaught Drive in the civic district was christened as such after 22 of its rain trees were on Sunday (March 27) earmarked as heritage trees — the largest number recognised under the National Parks Board (NParks) Heritage Tree Scheme in a single avenue.

That is half of the total number of rain trees lining the road, which flanks the Esplanade Park. And the Avenue of Heritage Trees will soon form part of a new three-kilometre Civic District Tree Trail.

From May 1, guided walks will be held monthly along the trail, which starts at the Istana and goes past various landmarks such as the National Museum, St Andrew’s Cathedral and Waterboat House, before concluding at the Raffles Landing.

The trail is also being designed to showcase its natural history, including the trees along Connaught Drive, which are up to 150 years old. A trail guide will be available on NParks’ website.

Last year, five Angsana trees were transplanted to the Esplanade Park to recreate a spot frequented by couples between the 1960s and 1980s, better known by its Hokkien name “Gor Zhang Chiu Kar” (or “under the shade of five trees”).

The original trees were removed when they were hit by the Angsana Wilt, a disease that destroyed many mature Angsana trees in Singapore in the early 1990s.

Said Senior Minister of State (National Development) Desmond Lee as he launched the Avenue of Heritage Trees: “As we continue to plant new trees, we must also cherish and protect the trees that have been maturing gracefully since Singapore’s early days.

“These trees are a familiar sight for us, and have been providing shade, shelter and a green respite for many generations of Singaporeans.”

The Heritage Tree Scheme confers recognition based on each tree’s age, social, cultural or historical significance, girth and health.

Since its launch in August 2001, 257 trees around Singapore have been placed on the honour roll after they had been assessed by a panel comprising NParks staff and landscape experts.

At more than 180 years old, the iconic Tembusu in the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the oldest heritage tree endorsed to date.

The trees are inspected yearly by professional arborists for their health. Lightning conductors are also installed on those assessed to have a higher lightning risk.

Members of the public can nominate trees they deem significant to be considered as heritage trees.

Avenue of Heritage Trees unveiled as part of new Civic District Tree Trail
The 22 Rain Trees along Connaught Drive will be part of the upcoming Civic District Tree Trail to open on May 1.

Channel NewsAsia 27 Mar 16;

SINGAPORE: An avenue of Heritage Trees, which will be part of an upcoming Civic District Tree Trail, was unveiled on Sunday (Mar 27) along Connaught Drive.

The avenue of 22 Rain Trees was launched by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee. This is the largest number of trees in a single avenue to be endorsed under the Heritage Tree Scheme, the National Parks Board (NParks) said in a press release.

The new Civic District Tree Trail will be opened to the public from May 1.

Among the highlights are Rain Trees with epiphytes at the front gate of the Istana, the Angsana in front of School of the Arts Singapore, the Heritage Ficus next to the National Museum, the Sagas within the St Andrew’s Cathedral compound, the Tamarind Tree at the entrance to the Merlion Park and a grove of Frangipani “Singapore White” trees at Raffles Landing.

A free guided tour of the two-hour trail will be available every month, NParks said.

“Even as we continue to plant new trees, we must also cherish and protect the trees that have been maturing gracefully since Singapore’s early days. These trees are a familiar sight for us, and have been providing shade, shelter, and a green respite for many generations of Singaporeans,” Mr Lee said.

“The Avenue of Heritage Trees gives us the opportunity to appreciate and to learn more about these important living heritage landmarks. Many of them are probably older than modern Singapore and have been silent witnesses of Singapore’s transformation.”

Some of the trees in the avenue are estimated to have been planted in the mid-1880s, making them more than 130 years old, NParks said.

- CNA/cy

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