New Tengah Nature Way to be launched next year: PM Lee

The Government cannot preserve every green patch in Singapore as it builds up the city, but it is committed to leaving green and natural spaces, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, as he announced that a fifth Nature Way - Tengah Nature Way -will be launched early next year.

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The National Parks Board sees 25% increase in active volunteers for 2013

Prime Minister Lee announces Tengah Nature Way initiative to involve community in co-creating Singapore as a City in a Garden.

The launch of public planting for Tengah Nature Way will be in the first quarter of next year. The launch will be a joint effort between NParks and South West Community Development Council, involving grassroots organisations, NGOs, schools, and residents.

Prime Minister Lee was the Guest-of-Honour at the opening of the Singapore Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum and Living in a Garden exhibition.

Apart from giving out awards, he also planted the 1963rd tree in the 1963 Commemorative Tree Planting initiative. The event marked the end of a year-long series of activities and events held to commemorate 50 Years of Greening Singapore.

The National Parks Board (NParks) reported a 25 per cent increase in active volunteers over the past year, signifying a growing interest in volunteering for biodiversity conservation. NParks has over 1,000 volunteers serving on a regular basis; more than half of the new volunteers were involved in the Comprehensive Marine Biodiversity Survey (CMBS), a national initiative to take stock of Singapore's marine life. Today, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong presented 10-year service awards to NParks' volunteers in recognition of their long-term commitment.

Mr Poon Hong Yuen, NParks' Chief Executive Officer, said: "Our volunteer programme started in the early 1990s with 50 people. Today, we are very encouraged to count more than 1,000 active volunteers as our friends and partners. They generously contribute their time, including weekends, to lead tours, run programmes and participate in surveys. As we commemorate 50 Years of Greening Singapore and look to the future, we encourage more people to join us in creating a greener and more endearing City in a Garden."

NParks and the South West Community Development Council will come together to create a green corridor connecting the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature Reserves with the SAFTI Live-Firing Area.

Estimated at 12.8km, Tengah Nature Way will run along Bukit Batok estate, including Bukit Batok West Ave 2, 3 and 5, through Old Jurong Road. The plants selected for Tengah Nature Way will complement the natural forest at both ends, as well as attract birds and butterflies.

This is part of NParks' plans to create 60km of Nature Ways by 2015, which is also in tandem with the district's sustainability masterplan to build a greener community.

A Nature Way is a route planted with specific trees and shrubs to facilitate the movement of animals between two green spaces. This will bring biodiversity closer to where people live, work and play. It is also one of the National Parks Board's (NParks) initiatives to achieve Singapore's City in a Garden vision.

There are Nature Ways at Admiralty (3.5km), Kheam Hock (1km), Tampines (6km) and Yishun (10.5km). NParks is collaborating with Nature Society (Singapore) and communities along the Nature Ways to grow more plants and carry out biodiversity surveys. In November 2013, NParks conducted free public tours of Nature Ways at Tampines and Yishun. This was held in conjunction with the launch of Clean and Green Singapore 2014. Both tours were fully subscribed. NParks will consider organising more public tours of Singapore's Nature Ways if there is strong interest.

NParks aims to create over 60km of Nature Ways by 2015.