New opportunities for the community to partner NParks in revitalising Pulau Ubin
16 Jul 2017
- Launch of multi-year kampong house restoration effort on Pulau Ubin
- First comprehensive biodiversity survey of the island
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and National Development Desmond Lee today announced the launch of a multi-year kampong house restoration effort on Pulau Ubin at Ubin Day 2017.
The National Parks Board (NParks) will work with the Friends of Ubin Network (FUN) and community groups to sensitively restore kampong houses on the island, starting with House 63C. First built in the 1930s, House 63C was the home of Mr Tan Bak Tee and his family for 50 years. After it was used for other purposes such as a storehouse, it was eventually returned to the State in the early 2000s. NParks will build on these community-led efforts by connecting interested groups with experts in architecture, heritage and related fields as well as volunteer networks through FUN. Apart from House 63C, NParks will also identify other kampong houses suitable for restoration.
The community-led restoration will be aligned with the overall look and feel of Pulau Ubin and retain the cultural heritage and rustic character of the island. Enhancements will also be done sensitively and in line with the “Sustainable Design and Practices” theme of the vision for The Ubin Project. Moving forward, the Friends of Ubin Network will explore the re-vitalisation of the Ubin community by allowing interested groups and individuals to use and manage these restored kampong houses, as long as they are able to contribute to The Ubin Project. FUN will be gathering feedback and suggestions from Ubin residents and heritage groups on these proposals.
Ubin Day 2017
Today marks the sixth time Ubin Day is being organised. First held in 2002, Ubin Day is a community event which celebrates the different facets of the island. This year, a host of activities such as kampong games, art workshops, and visits to kampong houses have been organised by the community in collaboration with NParks. Educational booths by community groups to promote biodiversity conservation and cultural heritage will also be set up. Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng is our guest-of-honour at the event.
Ubin Day is part of Pesta Ubin, a festival organised by FUN members and the community. This year’s festival saw a record number of more than 8,000 participants taking part in about 100 activities over 10 weeks. For more information on Pesta Ubin, please visit http://pestaubin2017.blogspot.sg.
Revamped Nature Gallery by HSBC
Activities and enhancements on Pulau Ubin are made possible through community efforts, including corporate involvement. One of these enhancements, the revamped Nature Gallery by HSBC, was also unveiled at Ubin Day. It showcases Ubin’s biodiversity conservation, research, heritage, nature-based recreation and sustainable practices. Located near the jetty, the previous exhibition was 10 years old and in need of updating.
The revamped exhibition comprises information panels, educational displays and an interactive touchscreen to enhance the experience of visitors. Enhanced displays include 3D models of biodiversity found on Pulau Ubin including the Asian Small-clawed Otter (Aonyx cinereus), Dugong (Dugong dugon) and Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris).
The newly installed touchscreen enables visitors to view the nature conservation masterplan for Ubin including maps highlighting its vegetation, biodiversity areas, habitat enhancement and species recovery sites, as well as the bird calls of 10 species that call the island home. The Nature Gallery is supported by a S$100,000 donation from HSBC through the Garden City Fund.
First comprehensive biodiversity survey on Pulau Ubin
Minister Lee also announced that NParks will work with the research community on a two-year comprehensive biodiversity survey on Pulau Ubin, starting in late 2017. It will be undertaken by NParks staff, volunteers, researchers from the National University of Singapore and citizen scientists from nature groups such as the Vertebrate Study Group of the Nature Society (Singapore), Herpetological Society of Singapore, Entomological Network of Singapore and ButterflyCircle. This is the first time that a survey will be conducted on the biodiversity of the entire island.
Pulau Ubin is home to 720 native plant species and over 300 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, as well as about 240 species of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. Some of these species are only found on the island and not on the mainland. The comprehensive biodiversity survey will focus on plants and key groups of animals including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, dragonflies, butterflies and moths, bees and wasps, grasshoppers and katydids, as well as intertidal biodiversity.
The results of the survey will enable NParks to update the baseline data for taxonomic groups such as mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and butterflies and obtain new baselines for other groups. The data will help to update the species inventory of Pulau Ubin and aid in the planning of future research, habitat enhancement and species recovery projects. The results will also be used for systematic long-term monitoring and management of the island.
Data from the first BioBlitz@Ubin, which was held from 3 December to 4 December 2016, helped to set the ground for the upcoming comprehensive biodiversity survey of Pulau Ubin. Organised as part of the NParks Community in Nature Biodiversity Watch series, more than 450 species were documented by 100 participants including members of the public, naturalists and researchers over 24 hours.
Singapore Garden Photographer of the Year Photo Competition
Last November, NParks launched the Singapore Garden Photographer of the Year (SGPY) photo competition where photography enthusiasts can submit photographs of what they think best represents the three themes: “Gardens and Landscapes”, “People and Nature” and “Our BiodiverCITY”. Theme 1 (Gardens and Landscapes) and Theme 2 (People and Nature) attracted more than 8,000 entries in total. The competition’s presenting sponsor is City Developments Limited, supported by Nikon and the Photographic Society of Singapore).
A Special Category – Fort Canning Park (People and Nature), supported by partners from Fort Canning Park, was introduced this year. Under this category, participants submitted photographs that depict activities at Fort Canning Park.
Minister Ng presented the top awards to the winners of these themes.