Singapore, 20 May 2010 - The National Parks Board (NParks) today launched the Nature Keeper programme - the first programme in Singapore for primary school students that focuses on local forests and its floral and faunal inhabitants. Made possible by a S$55,000 donation from Mitsubishi Corporation, the programme will bring students through a series of theoretical and field workshops on eight topics that will be carried out over two years. The topics include the impact of the release of animals in nature reserves, the native plants and animals unique to Singapore, the importance of forests in regulating climate, and more. (For more information on the topics, please refer to Annex A)
Nature Keeper Programme
Designed to stimulate the interest of the young and inculcate in them an appreciation of our forests, the programme will be carried out at the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves. Beyond the workshops, the programme also aims to nurture young volunteers in protecting our natural heritage in the longer term. NParks aims to reach out to 1,000 students over the next two years through the programme. Workshops that are held on scheduled dates over the next two years will be free for students. Schools or groups that request to organize the workshops on other dates will be charged a nominal fee of S$5 per student.
No release of animals
Some 30 students from Fu Hua Primary School, Neumind School and Zhonghua Primary. attended the first workshop during the launch of the programme to learn about the ill effects of the release of animals into the nature reserves. Following the workshop, the participants, along with their parents and teachers, are encouraged to join over 250 volunteers in NParks' 'Operation No Release', to reach out and advise members of the public to refrain from releasing animals. With the largest number of volunteers involved to date, 'Operation No Release' will be carried out in the nature reserves, reservoirs, parks, and waterways, over the next two weekends as well as on Vesak Day. (For more information on 'Operation No Release', please refer to Annex B)
The Nature Keeper Programme is made possible by Mitsubishi Corporation, through the Garden City Fund, NParks' registered charity and IPC (Institution of Public Character). The sponsorship monies go towards the production of the programme collaterals, field equipment such as binoculars, and logistics of the workshop including stationary and other materials, refreshments for the participants etc.
The General Manager, Mr Kenji Yasuno, from Mitsubishi Corporation, said: "'Corporate Responsibility to Society' is one of Mitsubishi Corporation's three Corporate Principles that serve as the foundation of our corporate philosophy since the company was established. The Nature Keeper Programme by NParks is one of the many socially responsible activities that we support globally. Through good corporate citizenship, we hope to instill in young children, who are the pillars of our future, the importance of the nature, and fulfill our commitment to building a sustainable future."
On the programme and partnership, Professor Leo Tan, Chairman of the Garden City Fund, said: "Programmes like this are important as they help our leaders of tomorrow cultivate an appreciation of our rich biodiversity in Singapore. This will go a long way in ensuring that our natural heritage can continue to thrive for decades to come, under their care. We are heartened that we have like-minded organisations from the community, such as Mitsubishi to partner us in leaving an enduring legacy for the next generation."
International Year of Biodiversity
The Nature Keeper Programme is organised in celebration of the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). NParks has lined up an exciting series of activities throughout the year to raise public awareness of the rich biodiversity in Singapore. For updates on other IYB activities, members of the public can visit www.nparks.gov.sg/IYB2010.