SINGAPORE - It is never too early to learn about sustainability, with children as young as four the target of Gardens by the Bay’s latest initiative.
It launched three programmes on Tuesday (Feb 22) to teach the young about principles related to biodiversity, conservation and sustainability in a fun and engaging way.
The programmes - Green Guardians, Digital Twin and the National Geographic Weird But True exhibition - are targeted at pre-school, primary and secondary school students.
The guest of honour at the event, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, who launched the National Geographic exhibition, said the programmes will shape citizens who can mitigate environmental challenges.
"By shaping young minds early, we plant seeds of environmental consciousness and responsibility, which will bloom into constructive environmental action one day. This, in turn, will entrench sustainability as a mainstream norm and culture in Singapore," he said in his speech on Tuesday.
The National Geographic exhibition, which will run in the Gardens’ Cloud Forest conservatory till July 31, is based on the nature publication’s Kids magazine and best-selling series of books.
The exhibition will help students learn interesting facts about plants, animals and science, and will have four versions, with Weird But True as the first.
The Green Guardians programme, which features five tiers, teaches students about nature both in school and through activities on the ground.
Among the tiers is Seeker, which will educate students through e-books, and Explorer, which features virtual tours and onsite programmes where students will learn more about different plants and trees.
Another tier, Creator, engages students via hands-on workshops at the Gardens, where activities include growing their own mini urban herb garden.
So far, 50 schools have come on board.
Gardens by the Bay, which celebrates its 10th year this year, has also recreated its attractions virtually via the Digital Twin programme, allowing students to explore the attraction remotely.
It allows participants to navigate to key locations within the Gardens and see pop-up information panels on sustainability concepts such as waste management, electricity conservation and rainwater recycling, and how these are undertaken at the Gardens.
The remote model also means students from other countries can also take part.
The Digital Twin is currently a pilot, in collaboration with Canberra Primary School's Global Sustainability Development Programme.
The pilot is open to about 400 pupils from four schools in Singapore - Canberra Primary, Innova Primary, Woodlands Primary and Xinmin Primary - and nine schools in China, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa.
Gardens by the Bay chief executive Felix Loh highlighted the importance of cultivating a mindset of sustainability among the young.
"Gardens are public educators of nature and science. In our role as a national garden, nurturing a culture of sustainability among the next generation is one of our key focuses in our 10th year and beyond," he said.
"Schools and families can look forward to more events and activities with a strong environmental theme targeted at the young and delivered in an interactive way."