More plants at park to attract butterflies

Students from Ang Mo Kio Secondary School were among the volunteers who helped to plant more than 300 shrubs of 15 different species in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park's butterfly habitat yesterday. With them is their school principal (third from right), Mr A
Students from Ang Mo Kio Secondary School were among the volunteers who helped to plant more than 300 shrubs of 15 different species in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park's butterfly habitat yesterday. With them is their school principal (third from right), Mr Abdul Mannan, 43.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

More butterflies might soon be seen fluttering in Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. In a bid to draw more of the beautiful winged creatures, more than 300 shrubs of 15 different species were planted yesterday in the park's butterfly habitat.

Some 25 species of butterflies have been spotted at the park, but it is hoped that the new plants will attract another five to seven species, including the Leopard Lace-wing and Grass Demon.

About 100 students, volunteers, as well as representatives from the National Parks Board (NParks) and April Group - a pulp and paper company with its corporate headquarters in Singapore - took part in the planting. Mrs Josephine Teo, an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC and Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, was the guest of honour.

The effort to spruce up the butterfly habitat is part of the April Group's $100,000, five-year sponsorship, which will also go towards the planting of 250 trees in the park later this year. The plant species planted yesterday included the Calamansi and the Yellow Cane Palm. Both are host plants that provide food for caterpillars to feed on.

Yesterday's shrub planting is expected to double the size of the butterfly habitat, which was originally about 260 sq m, nearly the size of three four-room HDB flats.

Butterflies contribute to a park's ecosystem by pollinating many of the flowering plants they feed on. The diversity of butterflies is also an indicator of good air quality as butterflies are sensitive to air pollution, said NParks. Mr Kong Yit San, NParks Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Park Management and Lifestyle, said the butterfly habitat "will be an asset", enhancing biodoversity, among other things.

Ang Mo Kio Secondary School student Nguyen Minh Quang, 15, who took part in the planting, said: "I always hear people saying that Singapore is a clean and green city but I never had the chance to contribute to it." He was from Vietnam but is now a Singaporean.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2015, with the headline 'More plants at park to attract butterflies'. Print Edition | Subscribe