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Official Magazine of the Nature Society (Singapore)
How a Budding Friendship Flowered
by Ilsa Sharp

Right through the 1990s, the NSS committee knew that the vital next step on the road to growth and professionalism for the Society would be the acquisition of its own permanent premises in a reasonably accessible city location.

By the time we were drafting our Five Year Plan, in 1997, the Society's Building Fund was approaching half a million dollars, and property prices were dipping to attractively low levels (from our point of view!).

The interior of NSS' office
on the first floor

The Sunflower—NSS is the
third unit from right
By early 1998, we were quite serious about acquiring property, and we started to look around not only for the property itself but also for sponsors who would assist us in this grand venture. It was about then that our thoughts turned to one of Singapore's most generous supporters of charity and sports, Singapore Pools.

Our 'courtship' of Pools began in January 1998. The Society initiated contact with the staff of Singapore Pools and invited them to see our tiny office. Keen to convince them of our passion for the cause, we next coaxed them into a guided walk on Pulau Ubin, showing with pride some of the habitats and species we work to protect and preserve.

Our friends from Pools showed a keen and perceptive interest in the Society's work on that day, challenging us with pertinent questions, such as what we thought about caged songbirds and of golf. We told them how a property of our own would be the key to future growth and the hiring of more staff, and to the Society's enhanced effectiveness as an educational group. We walked and talked, and generally had an enjoyable day, as one always does on Ubin.

Pools has been in touch with the Society ever since, as Exco have worked tirelessly over the past three years to seek out the right property. This year the Society finally committed itself to the purchase of The Sunflower, at 510 Geylang Road, and consequently Pools' generous $100,000 donation is at last in the pipeline.

Singapore Pools conveyed the good news to Exco in a letter received on October 2. As you can imagine, NSS Exco and Council are both pleased and proud that the Society's efforts have borne such healthy fruit. And the Society is extremely grateful to Singapore Pools for its generous gesture.

Many individuals in NSS have contributed to this success story since 1998, but special mention must be made of the contribution made by Lady YP McNeice, who in 1994, got the NSS Building Fund off to such a good start with her personal donation of $50,000. All the members who contributed to the Fund, however modestly, have helped build us this new home. And also all the volunteers who laboured to make a success of major fund-raising events such as "Ours To Protect", "Picnic Under the Stars" and the "Celebrity Bird Race". The Society thanks you all.

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