NParks to rope in community to help grow Nature Ways

Sharon See Channel NewsAsia 2 Feb 13;

SINGAPORE: Singapore will have four more green corridors that will link up parks and nature reserves, and the National Parks Board is involving the community to help grow these green links.

Called "Nature Ways", it is hoped the green corridors will encourage movement of birds and butterflies from one green area to another.

It is the first of a slew of programmes to mark 50 years of greening in Singapore. On 16 June 1963, former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew planted a Mempat tree at Farrer Circus, which signified the start of Singapore's greening campaign.

The Kheam Hock Nature Way is one of four that will be created over the next two years. The other three are in Admiralty, Tampines and Yishun. In total, the Nature Ways are expected to be 60 kilometres long.

The idea is to fill the Kheam Hock area, which spans some 100 hectares, with plants that attract birds and butterflies to create a Nature Way that will link the Central Catchment Nature Reserve with the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

On Saturday morning, National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan took the lead by planting the bird-attracting native Nipis Kulit tree.

Poon Hong Yuen, CEO of NParks, said: "Nature Ways are really routes on which we plant many native plants to attract birds and butterflies and other types of nice, beautiful wildlife.

"The more important thing, also, is to connect up nature areas. So, for example, for the Kheam Hock Nature Way, it will connect up the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

"But I think the most important and exciting aspect of the Nature Way is that we're going to involve the community...helping us to create our City in a Garden.

"The final product will be a very lush streetscape that's a bit different from the normal roadside trees. In a sense, it's almost like a linear forest because it's supposed to draw wildlife out of the forest into another green area."

To reach out to the wider community, NParks will also involve schools.

Mr Poon said: "Actually the school is a very good place to start, because we have many enthusiastic young people who care for the environment and they also have links to the residents in the area. So that's how we bring in the community to help us plant and help us co-create the environment."

At the Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS), students learn how to tend to a nursery.

Shanmugam Sangeetha, a Secondary 3 student of SCGS, said: "The duties are actually watering, weeding and fertilising the plants. We also have a plant sale in May where we sell these plant species to the public so that we educate them to enhance biodiversity in their living areas."

The plants are sold to residents in the neighbourhood who want to spruce up their own gardens.

But the green thumbs who want a hand in nurturing Singapore's Nature Ways can approach NParks to find out what plant species suit that area best.

Mr Poon said: "Over the years, we have learnt and identified the type of native plants that attract certain types of birds and butterflies. So for example, butterflies are very picky. They'll only latch on to one type of plant - similar things with the caterpillars. So with this knowledge, we know what sort of plants to plant on the Nature Ways to attract the type of birds and butterflies that we want."

Those interested in co-creating the Nature Ways can call 1800-4717300 or email

- CNA/ir