New opportunities for the public to experience kampung life on Pulau Ubin
03 Dec 2016
Singapore, 3 December 2016 — Members of the public will have new opportunities to experience kampung life, with the establishment of a new fruit tree arboretum and conservation of a Chinese kampung house on Pulau Ubin. These announcements come at the end of a year-long series of activities to “Celebrate Ubin”, and represent NParks’ commitment to further conserve the cultural heritage and rustic character of the island. Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs & National Development, Desmond Lee, together with Grassroots Adviser for East Coast GRC (Siglap), Senior Minister of State for Defence & Foreign Affairs and Mayor of South East District, Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman joined Ngee Ann Polytechnic students to plant fruit trees today to officially open the fruit tree arboretum. At the event, SMS Lee shared updates to species recovery efforts and habitat enhancement projects under The Ubin Project, and launched NParks Community In Nature Biodiversity Watch: BioBlitz @ Ubin – the first 24-hour survey to document biodiversity on the island.
SMS Lee also announced that NParks will be calling a tender in December for the provision and maintenance of a water treatment system at the Ubin Living Lab for educational groups, researchers, community groups and members of the public utilising the space. The tender will also include the installation and maintenance of compact Point-of-Use water treatment systems to be installed at public toilets at Chek Jawa Wetlands, campsites and other areas. These systems are expected to be completed by mid-2018.
New fruit tree arboretum and restored Chinese ‘Kampung’ house
Situated along Jalan Ubin, the fruit tree arboretum on Pulau Ubin will be the first of its kind in Singapore. Named ‘Ubin Fruit Orchard’, the site was previously a fruit orchard belonging to a resident on the island. About one hectare in size, the arboretum will feature fruits commonly planted in kampungs such as rambutan and starfruit. It will also showcase uncommon cultivars of durian and mango. Students from Nanyang Girls’ High prepared interpretive signs and students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic assisted with planting works for the arboretum.
Overlooking the Sensory Trail Ponds, House 363B has been refurbished and conserved as a model of a Chinese kampung house. Built in the 1970s, the house was owned by Mr Chew Teck Seng, who used to operate a provision shop in the village centre known as ‘Teck Seng Provision Shop’. Renamed ‘Teck Seng’s Place’, the house features interpretive signs and specially-curated memorabilia to give visitors a glimpse into life on Pulau Ubin in the 1970s. The house will be open on the 2nd and 4th weekend of the month and public holidays, from 10.00am – 2.00pm.
The Ubin Fruit Orchard and Teck Seng’s Place will be included as highlights of NParks’ new Rustic Reflections Tour, held monthly from next year. Members of the public can visit NParks’ website (https://www.nparks.gov.sg/ubin) for updates on how to register for the guided tour.
Updates to initiatives under The Ubin Project
A) Species recovery efforts
About 60 students from ITE College East and Republic Polytechnic have partnered NParks to complete works for the bird and bat species recovery programmes. ITE College East students aided in works at Ketam Mountain Bike Park to facilitate species recovery efforts for the Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis) and Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus). They built nest boxes for the Blue-throated Bee-eater, and planted Casuarina and Red Gum trees in the area to provide suitable nesting spots for the Baya Weaver. For the bat recovery programme, students from Republic Polytechnic produced three out of six bat box designs, which have since been fabricated into 30 bat boxes and installed across Pulau Ubin. Students from ITE College East also helped to construct five bat boxes. These boxes will provide places for insectivorous bats to roost.
As part of species recovery efforts for the Oriental Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinereus), two holts have been installed at Jalan Noordin and near the Sensory Trail Ponds to monitor and study otter behaviour. Though the otters have not been observed using the holts yet, a group of 10 were recorded via camera trap in late October 2016 – a notable occurrence as this is the first video record of the species in Singapore.
Monitoring for these species is ongoing, and further results will be shared at a later date.
B) Habitat enhancement
NParks has partnered Ngee Ann Polytechnic students to complete habitat enhancement works at the Sensory Trail Ponds. Formerly used for fish farming, the four ponds have been combined into a single waterbody to provide habitats for biodiversity. The students helped to design and implement the planting plan for fauna such as waterhens, crakes, herons, kingfishers dragonflies and damselflies. Works were completed in November.
NParks Community in Nature (CIN) Biodiversity Watch: BioBlitz @ Ubin
From 3 Dec (1200hrs) to 4 Dec (1200hrs), NParks will be conducting Pulau Ubin’s first BioBlitz as part of the NParks Community in Nature (CIN) Biodiversity Watch series. Over 24 hours, members of the public will join naturalists and researchers to document biodiversity found on Pulau Ubin.
During this timeframe, some 30 surveys will be conducted on a variety of fauna including mammals, birds, reptiles and insects. These surveys will be led by about 35 naturalists and researchers from NParks, Nature Society (Singapore), Herpetological Society of Singapore, Entomological Network of Singapore, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nature @ Seletar Country Club. The data gleaned from this BioBlitz will help set the ground for a comprehensive biodiversity survey of Pulau Ubin next year. The event was also organised to encourage the community to learn more about Pulau Ubin’s natural heritage and contribute to organised research efforts as citizen scientists.