Speech by Minister Desmond Lee at the Opening of the E-Festival of Biodiversity
Sep 5, 2020
We look forward to the Festival of Biodiversity every year, since it was launched eight years ago. It has brought together our nature community, to celebrate our biodiversity, and to raise public awareness about the need to protect our natural heritage.
This year’s Festival is taking place in an entirely different climate. We have had to make significant changes to the way we hold the festival, to ensure that everyone keeps safe.
But the core purpose of our festival remains unchanged. Despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, we will continue to innovate and reach out to Singaporeans in fresh and effective ways, to raise awareness about biodiversity conservation.
e-FOB: Online events for the public, and new biodiversity books
For this year’s “e-Festival of Biodiversity”, we have a varied and interesting line-up of activities. For example, you can visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve virtually with our nature guide, and learn more about migratory shorebirds through our special online Wader Watch Zoom session. We will hear from a member of our Friends of Marine Park Community about her experiences volunteering in nature programmes.
We are also launching two books, featuring contributions from our nature community. ‘A Review of Garden Bird Watch (2015-2019)’ showcases birds identified by citizen scientists during our Garden Bird Watch programme. The second book, ‘A Guide to the Bees of Singapore’, has been produced in collaboration with the National University of Singapore. It is the first comprehensive and accessible guide for the bee fauna ever produced for any Southeast Asian country.
Recognising local biodiversity conservation efforts
Let me take this opportunity to acknowledge our educational institutions, educators, and students who have contributed significantly to our local biodiversity conservation efforts. You have incorporated nature into your curriculum, and helped us nurture future leaders in biodiversity conservation.
We are launching our new NParks Community in Nature (CIN) Schools Award to recognise your accomplishments. This year’s awardees will also be featured in an e-exhibition on the Festival of Biodiversity’s website, where we can learn more about your inspiring efforts.
More avenues for the community to get involved – Youth@SGNature
We need to do even more to involve young Singaporeans in our transformation into a City in Nature, because they will in time take on the stewardship of this City.
I am happy to announce our new Youth@SGNature initiative. This will offer more opportunities for young Singaporeans to participate in biodiversity conservation, through its many programmes.
We will connect you with mentors, as you take part in biodiversity conservation and horticulture, through the Youth Stewards for Nature programme. We also aim to involve some three hundred young people each year in biodiversity conservation projects and environmental outreach activities, through our Youth Nature Explorer programme.
NParks will partner Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) to introduce activities such as coastal clean-ups and biodiversity surveys in the MOE-OBS Challenge Programme, so that Secondary Three students can learn more about our natural habitats.
We hope you enjoy the exciting line-up of activities during this year’s Festival of Biodiversity.
If you are interested to find out more about our local biodiversity, and how you can get involved in our conservation efforts, do get in touch with us. We look forward to journeying with you.