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Welcome Address by Mr Ng Lang, CEO, NParks at the Launch of Wireless Learning Trail at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on Saturday, 25 Aug 2007 at 9am

25 Aug 2007
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Mrs Christina Ong,

Our partners from MOE, IDA and iCELL Network,

CEO PUB and CEO NLB
Principals and teachers,

Distinguished Guests,

Boys and girls,

1.Good morning, and a very warm welcome to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

2.I believe most of our guests here are not new to Sungei Buloh.This wetland reserve started out humbly as a collection of abandoned prawn ponds about 13 years ago.Today, it is a gazetted wetland reserve of rich biodiversity and an important stopover site for migratory shorebirds.Between September and March every year, thousands of migratory birds used this as a stopover point on their way to the Southern Hemisphere to enjoy a year-round summer.For the people who know birds, this is a very significant international bird spotting site.It is not uncommon to find here bird watchers or "twitchers" who have travelled long distance from overseas with their long lenses with the hope to catch a glimpse of some rare birds.In recognition of its significance, Sungei Buloh was designated an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2003.

Sungei Buloh - A Key Learning Destination For Schools

3.For us city folks in Singapore, Sungei Buloh is a great destination to be close to nature, to discover nature and to learn to appreciate nature.For students, it is the ideal outdoor classroom for nature education - compact, exciting and safe. Every year, more than 400 school visits are organised to the wetland reserve, catering to around 25,000 students.

4.We have a dedicated team of staff and volunteers here, volunteers who have served since the early days of Sungei Buloh more than 10 years ago and still going strong.Apart from organising guided tours, they collaborate with schools to run several very meaningful programmes.We have the SUN Club programme that caters to students with special needs and "Nature Nurtures", a mentorship programme to help secondary school students build up self-confidence through nature-based activities.To draw youngsters to explore the Wetland Reserve, we also have the Young Naturalists Programme where children can learn more about the wetland by completing assigned activities.

New Wireless Learning Trail To Enhance Learning At Sungei Buloh

5.The wireless learning trail at Sungei Buloh is the latest of our initiatives to make our nature outreach programmes more engaging and exciting for youngsters.  Today, our students learn and communicate using very different tools and in very different ways.  Developed in partnership with MOE, IDA and a private sector company iCELL Network, this new initiative aims to bring our nature education programmes to youngsters using their tools and modes of learning.

6.In a moment, we will be giving you a more detailed presentation on how the wireless learning trail works.In essence, it is a trail that allows students to embark on a self-guided learning journey using the latest wireless technology and an ultra-mobile PC.While walking on the trail, students can listen to recordings to match bird calls, download information to help identify plants and even do an instant quiz to help validate their learning.They can also create and customise their own personal learning trail by including their observations and thoughts into their portable devices.More importantly, this system provides an avenue for students to design their own nature education programmes and to share them with other students.This is a great way to build a learning and sharing community among young nature lovers.

7.Apart from the wireless learning trail, wireless broadband is also available at Sungei Buloh, as part of the Wireless@SG broadband services provided by IDA.This means that students need not be at home or in school to surf the internet.They can do it right here, right now in the wetland reserve.I am sure this will enhance the experience of students doing field projects in Sungei Buloh.

8.I believe that this interactive learning trail is the first of its kind in the region.It is the first to be implemented in our parks and nature reserves.Besides Sungei Buloh, we currently have Wi-Fi access in 6 of our parks around Singapore, namely, the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Woodlands Town Garden, Ang Mo Kio Town Garden East, Toa Payoh Town, Pasir Ris and West Coast Parks.Soon, another three  parks - East Coast Park, Fort Canning Park and Admiralty Park - will also have wireless broadband access.The success of this project can plant the seed for our other parks and gardens to be developed as similar outdoor classrooms for students and the public to learn about nature.

Conclusion

9.The wireless learning trail at Sungei Buloh would not have been possible without our partners.I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to MOE, IDA and iCELL Network for putting in a lot of passion, energy and resources to bring this project to fruition.I would also like to thank the students from Kranji Secondary School, who pioneered the creation of the first contents for the learning trail.

10.Lastly, I am very grateful to the principals and teachers who have accepted our invitation to attend this event today.I will like to extend an invitation to your schools to join in this venture to create an interactive outdoor nature classroom in Sungei Buloh.With your help, we hope to make Sungei Buloh and our other parks and gardens enjoyable, interactive and engaging outdoor classrooms for our students of today and tomorrow.

11.Thank you.I hope you will enjoy the rest of the programme we have arranged for you this morning at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

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Information is Updated on 19/05/2013