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  The Straits Times 23 Apr 06
NParks starts register to track rising number of heritage trees
by Jean Loo

THE number of heritage trees in Singapore has jumped almost fivefold, going from 35 to 161.

And to encourage more Singaporeans to nominate beautiful, old trees for preservation, the National Parks Board has decided to start a Heritage Trees Register to keep track of them.

The register, available online on the NParks website, contains information on and photos of all the trees.

Launching the register yesterday at Turnhouse Park in Changi, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary (National Development and Community Development, Youth and Sports), said: 'There is a lot of history behind these trees and this register presents a great opportunity... to know more about these majestic green giants.'

Heritage trees cannot be cut down and are protected with lightning conductors with money from HSBC Bank's $255,000 Heritage Trees Fund.

A panel of officials and nature-loving volunteers decide if a tree should be placed on the register, based on its appearance, height and girth, as well as its social, historical and educational significance.

These criteria will also determine if the Bodhi tree outside Jin Long Si Temple off Bartley Road will be declared a heritage tree, said NParks director Simon Longman. It made the news last Friday when temple officials appealed to preserve it and the temple, both of which sit on land slated for residential development.

A new programme to help youngsters appreciate heritage trees was also launched yesterday.

The Young Arborist Programme for primary school and lower secondary school kids includes visits to parks and nature reserves, where students learn simple tree biology through activities like drawing flowers and collecting leaf samples. Leow Jia Hui, 11, from Zhangde Primary, said: 'It's very interesting to learn about the trees outside the classroom instead of just reading about them.'

NParks website 22 Apr 06
NParks announces the new Heritage Trees Register - Number of Heritage Trees increased to 161

The National Parks Board (NParks) announced today that the number of trees accorded with the Heritage Trees status has increased from 35 to 161.

At the same event, NParks together with The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) Limited also launched two important initiatives - the Heritage Trees Register and the Young Arborist Programme.

The two initiatives, which aim to protect Singapore's natural heritage and raise the community's awareness on the importance of conserving our mature trees and protecting our green environment, was launched by Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman. He was joined by Professor Leo Tan, Chairman, NParks and Mr Paul Lawrence, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer, HSBC.

The Heritage Tree Register NParks' Heritage Tree Scheme was launched in 2002, with HSBC as the sponsor.

The Scheme is significant as it represents a big step forward in the efforts to conserve Singapore's natural heritage, by identifying and protecting trees of historical and ecological significance.

HSBC's sponsorship covers installing of lightning protection for the Heritage Trees, developing educational signage and community outreach programmes to raise public awareness on the need to preserve the majestic trees that live in our midst.

To date, 161 mature and significant trees (including the first 35 Heritage Trees publicised during the launch of Heritage Trees Scheme in 2002) have been accorded with the Heritage Tree status. These 161 trees were selected from more than 360 nominations sent in by the public.

The Heritage Trees Panel endorsed the selected nominated trees, after the Panel had assessed the nominated trees' height and girth, as well as their social historical and education significance.

To recognise the majestic stature and landmark status of the Heritage Trees, NParks developed an online Heritage Trees Register. The Register, available for public viewing on NParks website, contains detailed information about all the Heritage Trees. Through this Register NParks seeks to raise the awareness about the Heritage Trees, and more importantly, highlight the community effort that has contributed to conservation, environmental awareness and public-spiritedness.

In conjunction with the Heritage Trees Scheme, HSBC has commissioned a television series entitled "Once Upon A Tree". The programme will explore the history of some of the oldest trees in Singapore and invite members of the public to share their personal experiences with our Heritage Trees.

Members of the public can participate in the programme by sending their Heritage Tree stories to onceuponatree@artscentral.sg, or write to Once Upon a Tree, Arts Central, MediaCorpTV12 Pte Ltd, 12 Prince Edward Rd #05-00 Singapore 079212.

They can also view the details of our Heritage Trees on the Heritage Trees Register on the website at www.nparks.gov.sg

The Young Arborist Programme With the maturing of Singapore's Garden City, it is an opportune time to reach out and promote greater awareness and appreciation of trees and the environment in the younger generation.

To this end, NParks, with the support and partnership of HSBC, has developed the Young Arborist Programme (YAP). Targeted at children in the primary and lower secondary school levels, YAP provides the means for students to use the entire Singapore streetscape as an outdoor classroom, and further enrich their knowledge of greenery through interactive learning and creative experiences.

Commenting on the Young Arborist Programme, Mr Paul Lawrence, GM and CEO of HSBC in Singapore said, "The Young Arborist Programme is one of the educational programmes supported by the Heritage Trees Fund, which was established by HSBC to provide support for initiatives to protect the mature trees in our midst and raise awareness on their ecological value and importance. It is never too early for our children to learn and care for our environment and I certainly hope that the YAP will help them develop their appreciation and love for nature and nurture them to become steadfast guardians of our natural heritage."

Said Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Community Development, youth and Sports, "The success of the Heritage Tree Scheme and the Young Arborist Program depends on the support and participation of everyone. So, the next time you take a walk or travel along the roads, keep a lookout for the majestic trees around you, and send your nominations to the Heritage Trees Panel. For parents or teachers, involve your students in the Young Arborist Program. Together, I am confident that we will be able to conserve worthy natural legacies for generations to come."

HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Awards

In conjunction with the event, five young environmental champions received their HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Awards from Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, for their outstanding contribution towards environmental protection and nature conservation.

HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Awards In conjunction with the event, 5 young environmental champions received their HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Awards from Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, for their outstanding contribution towards environmental protection and nature conservation. For demonstrating initiative and exceptional leadership qualities on top of their tireless dedication to the environmental cause, 2006 HSBC/NYAA Youth Environmental Award recipients Mr Lim Jun Ying, 17 from National Junior College, and Mr Surya Darma, 23, from the National University of Singapore (NUS), will be given the opportunity to participate in a HSBC sponsored overseas trip to study various environmental projects organised by international agencies such as EarthWatch and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Three other Merit Award recipients, aged 15 to 24, will each receive a $300 book voucher. Jointly organised by HSBC and the National Youth Achievement Award (NYAA) Council, with the support of the NParks, the annual Youth Environmental Awards seeks to acknowledge and honour young people who have excelled and distinguished themselves through their commitment and participation in environmental activities.

More importantly, the Awards are designed to highlight the catalytic role that youths can play in raising environmental awareness and triggering environmental action.

Mr Lawrence added, "At HSBC, we believe that young people hold the key to a sustainable tomorrow, which is why we are committed to motivating and empowering youths to take care of the environment. Despite their young age, our award recipients have displayed keen understanding of the importance in safeguarding our natural resources. They have impressed us with their ability to translate their energy and passion for the environment into tangible contributions towards the green cause. By presenting these young champions of the environment with the Youth Environmental Award we hope to uphold them as role models to inspire more young people to do their part for the environment"

What is a Heritage Tree? What is the current list of Heritage Trees? How can I nominate a tree for the Heritage Tree scheme? Details on the NParks website with an online form to nominate a heritage tree.
Related articles on Heritage Trees of Singapore
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