Butterfly Paradise in the Heartland

If you wanted to find a place in Singapore full of colourful butterflies, fluttering jewel-like all around you, where would you think of? Well, you can consider the heartland of Tampines Changkat, next to Block 124, Tampines Street 11, where there lies a garden filled with lovely butterflies.

The garden is situated within a circular enclosure covered with netting, which prevents the butterflies from flying out.  A row of plastic chains hang at the entrance, acting as a curtain that allows access for human traffic, but not the butterflies. The pathway inside the garden is wide enough for the easy movement of wheelchair-users.

To encourage people to enter and learn about butterflies, an information board is displayed outside, showing the types of butterflies found in the garden and the plants they feed on.

This community garden is opened free of charge to everyone, and visitors can see about 50 butterflies of seven different species during the day. "As the garden has adopted an open concept, it creates a hospitable environment for those who come from near and afar", says Azza Dina, the Community In Bloom (CIB) manager in charge of the gardens in the Northeast district.

The creation of this butterfly habitat was initiated by Tampines GRC Member of Parliament Irene Ng, who mooted the idea of providing a place for residents to relax and get close to nature. The garden is currently maintained by Tampines Changkat Town Council and the Tampines Changkat Butterfly Interest group . Anjalai, from Tampines Changkat Town Council, says that it is a wonderful idea to have this butterfly garden right in the middle of the HDB estate.

Headed by Suzana Ahmad Dawan, the butterfly interest group comprises some 100 members. Each member has his or her own role to play - some are gardeners, others are photographers or nature guides, and a few maintain the garden's Facebook account. Once in a while, the group will release some of the butterflies back to the wild to promote biodiversity in their neighbourhood.

Suzana recalls that some members were so enthusiastic about their butterfly garden that they recently pitched a tent near the garden in order to enjoy the butterflies and surrounding nature! A resident, Damien Ng, who jogs past this garden every week said, "It's really a wonderful resting point after a jog. What amazes me is that the butterfly will land on you. This is how close you can be to nature."

Tampines Changkat Butterfly Garden is a fantastic addition to the community, especially for residents who appreciate butterflies and are keen to learn more about them. It also helps to educate residents about biodiversity. In fact, this garden has just won the Environment and Biodiversity Award (Organisations) in the recently-held Community In Bloom Awards 2012.

Heartiest congratulations to Suzana and her friends, as well as Tampines Changkat Town Council, for their achievement! The Tampines Changkat Butterfly Garden is open to the public. The best times to visit the garden are in the early morning and late afternoon. If you do pay our 'colourful friends' a visit, please remember to take nothing but photographs and leave nothing but footprints!

If you are interested in starting a community garden, or be part of the Community in Bloom network, whether in your estate or school, just visit the Community in Bloom page for more information.

By Chai Weili
Photographs by Community in Bloom

Are you a butterfly enthusiast?
If you are interested in starting your own butterfly garden, we have some tips for you. Alternatively, you may also visit the Butterfly Garden at HortPark every last Saturday of each month, from 9am to 12pm, to view these beautiful creatures up close. 

 

The information board of the butterfly garden.

 

The elevated walkway allows visitors to have the view of the whole garden.

 

The gardener of the butterfly garden (extreme left) explaining to visitors how the garden was created.

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