Youths in S'pore to help design roadside greenery, gardens & conduct surveys with NParks from 2021

Part of four new programmes introduced to engage youths more in building a City in Nature.

Zhangxin Zheng | September 05, 2020, 12:07 PM

Singapore is becoming a more livable and sustainable city, not just for the people, but also for the native fauna and flora.

New programmes to engage youths in building a City in Nature

In order to achieve this "City in Nature" vision, the National Parks Board (NParks) has launched a series of new programmes under [email protected] initiative to interest and involve more young people in Singapore.

This was announced along with the start of the Festival of Biodiversity which is going online for the first time by Minister for National Development Desmond Lee.

Four new programmes will be added to the current slate of community engagement:

Image via NParks.

NParks aims to increase the outreach to about 25,000 youths annually with these programmes, doubling the current number.

Here are more details of the four new programmes available for youths aged between 13 and 25:

MOE-OBS Challenge Programme

Students in Singapore will be exposed to knowledge about nature and biodiversity when they participate in MOE-OBS Challenge in the future.

The facilitators will be equipped with the knowledge to engage Secondary Three students in conversations and activities related to biodiversity, climate change and sustainability.

Students will be taking part in biodiversity surveys, tree planting, folklore story-telling and coastal clean-ups to learn about the environment and importance of coexisting with wildlife harmoniously.

NParks will conduct annual training for OBS instructors from the fourth quarter of 2020.

Green Friends Forum

Adding on to the current Biodiversity Friends Forum (BFF), NParks also introduced the Green Friends Forum (GFF).

Youths interested in urban greenery can volunteer under GFF to learn about related research work, skills in park operation and maintenance works as well as the nature-based solutions that have been implemented across Singapore.

Minister Desmond Lee engaging youth at Festival of Biodiversity 2018. Photo by NParks.

Youth Nature Explorer

Another new programme is the Youth Nature Explorer that will be taking in 300 youths aged between 15 and 25 every year to look at conservation in a holistic manner, pairing the knowledge of biodiversity and horticulture, NParks said.

Each batch of youths will take part in these activities:

  1. Invasive species management
  2. Biodiversity beach patrols
  3. Plant nursery work and landscape design

Following which they will have to create content for digital engagement and outreach to spread what they have learnt from these activities via NParks social media platforms.

This programme aims to cultivate a pool of young ambassadors for biodiversity and horticulture.

There will be an opening webinar on Sep. 19.

Youth Stewards for Nature programme

NParks will also be identifying older youths aged 18 to 25 from programmes such as Youth Nature Explorer to involve them more in real-world problem-solving.

Some of the potential involvement include helping to lead surveys to contribute to species recovery efforts, design the roadside landscapes to support biodiversity better or even design therapeutic gardens.

For example, they might be looking into the types of trees and plants to grow so that birds and butterflies can use these Nature Ways better in our urban areas.

There are currently 34 Nature Ways in Singapore.

These youths will be mentored by NParks staff over a period of three to six months.

The implementation of these projects will instill a sense of ownership for youths in biodiversity and greenery, NParks said.

The first round of the programme will start by January 2021.

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Top photos via NParks