Student-Run Parks a flourishing success

Students from ITE's Higher Nitec in Landscape Management and Design working at the Compositing and Vermiculture Zone at Bedok Town Park yesterday. ITE students also designed a garden with therapeutic features, deployed robotic mowers for turf managem
Students from ITE's Higher Nitec in Landscape Management and Design working at the Compositing and Vermiculture Zone at Bedok Town Park yesterday. ITE students also designed a garden with therapeutic features, deployed robotic mowers for turf management and used drones for tree inspection.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Minister Desmond Lee (left) on a tour of the Student-Run Park Initiative at Bedok Town Park yesterday. With him are ITE student Abu Bakar Hasyim Jamaludin and Mr Lim Teck Lee, deputy principal (academic) of ITE College East.
Minister Desmond Lee (left) on a tour of the Student-Run Park Initiative at Bedok Town Park yesterday. With him are ITE student Abu Bakar Hasyim Jamaludin and Mr Lim Teck Lee, deputy principal (academic) of ITE College East.ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Ngee Ann Poly-Clementi Woods Park to be in next phase, after ITE-Bedok pilot scheme

With a new branch of learning on offer, student Jasper Chan did not need much convincing to go out on a limb at Bedok Town Park recently.

Mr Chan, 20, put his books aside to climb a tree in the park to check on its condition.

His high-rise efforts were undertaken as part of a pilot scheme called Student-Run Parks - a collaboration between the National Parks Board (NParks) and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) that started in July.

The initiative involved second-year students from ITE's Landscape Management and Design course managing around half of the park's 12ha. About 40 stu-dents tried their hands at park management under the guidance of NParks.

Its success prompted NParks to announce yesterday that the initiative will be expanded to Clementi Woods Park next year under a collaboration with Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

The students from ITE have certainly put their stamp on Bedok Town Park.

They designed a garden with therapeutic features, deployed robotic mowers for turf management, used a telescopic camera and drones for tree inspection and even built a composting area to transform waste material into fertiliser.

Mr Chan said yesterday: "These practical skills allow for me to acclimatise into the work place. I am able to use the techniques learnt in my tree-climbing modules and apply them here as well."

The ITE students gave Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development, a tour of the park, pointing out their work and outlining the land management skills they have picked up.


Minister of Social and Family Development Desmond Lee with students and staff of ITE College East at Bedok Town Park. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

More landscape students will stand to benefit with the expansion of the initiative. The collaboration with Ngee Ann Poly will involve about 120 students in the Landscape Design and Horticulture course, leveraging on the existing Greenhub facility at Clementi Woods Park.

The Greenhub provides an air-conditioned space within the park where students can apply their skills on dedicated plots next to it.

 
 
 

The initiative will expand to include the entire park, allowing students to work with volunteers and the community, and receive feedback from the public on what they want in the park.

"As part of this programme, we see the students pick up skills that can lead to certification that will enable them to do the job better," Mr Lee said during the tour.

"From next year, we will expand this pilot programme as the students have given very good feedback."

Industry experts from the Landscape Industry Association (Singapore) will also be brought in to train and mentor the ITE and NP students next year.

"This has definitely made me more interested in arboriculture (tree care) and I hope to get my tree-climbing certification soon," Mr Chan said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Student-Run Parks a flourishing success'. Print Edition | Subscribe