Nominate a Heritage Tree - comments from Habitatnews, Monday 23rd September 2002
Habitatnews 2002-21: Nominate a tree! The Heritage Trees Scheme
I just received by email a speech by Minister of State Vivian Balakrishnan, at The Official Launch of Heritage Trees Scheme, 23 September 2002, 9.30 am.
In the Heritage Trees Scheme that he announced this morning, all of us are encouraged to nominate mature trees that we feel are worthy of conservation. The Heritage Trees Panel will "evaluate these nominations based on criteria such as the trees' height and girth, and considerations such as social, cultural, historical and educational significance."
He went on to urge us "to look out for mature, significant trees around you and send your nominations to the panel."
I was on Op Raleigh's Project C.A.R.E's Round Island Bicycle Ride yesterday. As we cycled some 125km around Singapore, the significance of trees were never more apparent. As we cycled past nature reserves or through groves of older trees, it was much cooler, the air was less dusty, more fresh and almost sweet that it was invigorating! We must certainly be thankful for we have. But there is more...
The mechanisms for the public to highlight trees of merit have existed in the past &endash; you just have to write in! How else can government agencies know or justify such an action when there are conflicting needs. But these avenues have been utilised by few. A good example of such a submission for Changi trees will be announced shortly in Habitatnews.
In this new scheme, the government has provided a more obvious channel by which to provide information, and a body to evaluate these submissions, and simple guidelines on which to phrase your proposal.
You can have fun by making the measurements of such a tree on your own, consult someone from NUS' Raffles Museum, NParks' Botanic Gardens or the Nature Society's Plant Group about the technical and cultural aspects of the tree and its uses, talk to the older members of the community about its role in local society and history, and make observations about it current role.
The Minister pointed out: "...as you explore and learn about these living monuments, you will not only realise just how much they improve our living environment, but also, in your own way, draw inspiration from them. With your active participation in this programme, I am confident we will be able to conserve more of these beautiful and majestic trees, which will make worthy legacies for future generations."
The ball is really in your court now. Happy nominations!
--- thanks to Airani Ramli for forwarding the press release.
Singapore Government Press Release. Media Relations Division, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, MITA Building, 140 Hill Street, 2nd Storey, Singapore 179369. Tel: 6837-9666
SPEECH BY DR VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN, MINISTER OF STATE FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AT THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF HERITAGE TREES SCHEME ON 23 SEPTEMBER 2002, 9.30AM AT SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDENS. Source webpage.
Professor Leo Tan, Chairman,
National Parks Board;
A very good morning to you,
I'm sure all of us have in some way, and in varying degrees, formed emotional attachments to the places and trees we have grown up with. It could be the row of Rain trees whose shade we enjoyed on our way to school or that Banyan tree under which we exchanged ghost stories in our school compound. Somehow, knowing that they will always be there and protected because we care enough to do so, provides us with a sense of security and a sense of rootedness to our home. That is why we have to conserve some of the more scenic and significant trees and tree-lined roads in Singapore. With this intent in mind, the government initiated the Heritage Roads and Heritage Trees schemes last year.
Heritage Trees Scheme
Tembusu at Botanic
Saving the Angsana from
Partnership in Green
Heritage Trees Fund
And as you explore and learn about these living monuments, you will not only realise just how much they improve our living environment, but also, in your own way, draw inspiration from them. With your active participation in this programme, I am confident we will be able to conserve more of these beautiful and majestic trees, which will make worthy legacies for future generations.
It is now my pleasure to officially launch the Heritage Trees Scheme. I urge everyone to be on the lookout for mature or interesting trees around you and play a role in conserving a piece of living history.
Asia, Monday, September 23, 2002
A $125,000 fund has been set up to preserve old and significant trees across the island. It comes from a joint community initiative by the National Parks Board and HSBC.
One of Singapore's important historical trees is an Angsana along Upper Serangoon Road which is more than 80 years old. It was almost chopped down when the road was being widened, but fortunately the National Parks Board saved it.
Now it is one of 36 trees, between 80 and 150 years old, to be preserved under Singapore's Heritage Trees Scheme.
But these heritage trees are not just old. They are said to have social, cultural or educational significance.
Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of State for National Development, said: "I would like to urge all Singaporeans and indeed all people living in Singapore to look for these significant trees and send nominations to us.
"And as you explore these living monuments, you will not only realise how they improve the learning environment but also how we draw inspiration from them for our lives."
The scheme was launched on Monday with guests reminiscing over the fun times they spent swinging on the boughs of a 150-year-old Tembusu tree, which is featured on Singapore's $5 note.
HSBC has donated $125,000 to protect such trees, erect educational signs and organise activities to raise awareness.
Greening Singapore first started back in 1963 with the Tree Planting Campaign.
Monday's launch to preserve mature trees is another step in that direction.
And the Botanic Gardens has the largest concentration of heritage trees.
From October, there will be tours at the Botanic Gardens highlighting these heritage trees and even a stamp series for collectors.