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  Channel NewsAsia 1 Oct 07
Singapore Botanic Gardens to get new attractions

Straits Times 2 Oct 07
Asia's first garden for children opens here

$7m green space meant to give the young an insight into natural world
By Shobana Kesava

A $7-MILLION leafy wonderland opened its doors to children yesterday.

The Jacob Ballas Children's Garden - the first such purpose-built botanical attraction in Asia - sits at the Bukit Timah Core of the Botanic Gardens, at the junction of Dunearn and Kheam Hock roads.

Children will be able to romp around a tree house, venture across a timber bridge or play hide and seek around the giant trunk of a 100-year-old tree.

But more than just a large green playroom, the green space is meant to give the youngsters an insight into the natural world.

For instance, in one corner, they can learn about photosynthesis - or the way plants make food with sunlight.

Then, there is the Mushroom Shelter where they get up close to the biological composting and nutrient recycling process.

Mr Ng Lang, chief executive of NParks, said: 'It's for them to learn, and through their play and interaction with plants, to inculcate in them some curiosity about the natural environment that we live in.'

And so exclusive is it that, to get in, adults will have to be accompanied by a person below 13, or a guide.

Also speaking at its Children's Day opening yesterday, the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, said with a smile: 'Instead of thinking they want to be a lawyer, doctor or engineer, they might say maybe I want to be an environmentalist or environmental engineer.

'Young people must realise that this (land) is theirs... If you start the exposure as early as possible, you create options.'

Dr Yaacob also said that the Government was committed to environmental issues in Singapore.

For instance, it was already trying to encourage efficient energy usage such as by using more environmentally friendly airconditioners and lightbulbs in buildings here.

Such efforts are the easiest way to start changing energy-depleting habits here, he said.

Companies could explore green ventures, he said, and the Government would 'move with them'.

Channel NewsAsia 1 Oct 07
Singapore Botanic Gardens to get new attractions

SINGAPORE: More land has been set aside for the Singapore Botanic Gardens as part of the National Parks Board (NParks)'s redevelopment master plan.

The Jacob Ballas Children's Garden, named after a late philanthropist, can be used to cultivate an appreciation of the environment among the young.

NParks said about S$100 million has been spent since the master plan started in 1990. Tanglin Core opened last year and the Evolution Garden opened two years ago.

"We have just inherited another 11 hectares of land and there will be new gardens in the next three to four years. They will be built on the land," said Ng Lang, CEO of NParks. More details are expected later this month.

For now, the public can learn about the environment at the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden. At the garden, an exhibit explains the process of photosynthesis which plants go through to produce oxygen and food.

"It can teach me... plants need photosynthesis early in the morning," said Clementi Primary School student Lawson Kwek.

Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Yaacob Ibrahim also touched on the topic of gas emissions at the opening of the Jacob Ballas Children's Garden. He said the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) should be supported as it is already in place and provides a balance. But he added the mechanism still needs to be tweaked.

His comments came as a new media report suggested that Singapore may venture into its first CDM project in bio-waste management. The CDM allows developed countries to carry out projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries as an alternative to more expensive emission reduction in their own countries. - CNA/ac


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