New nature programmes for scouts to raise interest, awareness in environmental matters

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Scout Association has partnered with the National Parks Board (NParks) and Gardens by the Bay to raise interest and awareness in environmental matters among young people through new programmes.

Marking the official launch of scouting programmes centred around environmental education, representatives from the three organisations signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday (May 19).

Over the next five years, the newly-launched Young Environmentalist Badge and Young Nature Surveyor Badge programmes will each enrol 2,500 scouts aged seven to 16, while the Young Naturalist Badge programme will enrol 1,500.

Said Mr Tan Chong Lee, assistant chief executive officer of NParks: "We hope that these programmes will help students learn the importance of conservation, and understand the part they can play in caring for the environment and its biodiversity."

Under these programmes, young scouts will learn to identify various species of plants in parks and the Gardens, and take part in volunteering activities such as helping to weed and prune gardens.

In time, the scouts may even serve as ambassadors at national parks and at the Gardens, where they may share their nature-related knowledge with the public.

By tapping on the domain expertise of NParks and Gardens by the Bay - who will provide training - these programmes aim to be much more comprehensive than existing ones, according to Mr Desmond Chong, deputy chief commissioner of the Singapore Scout Association.

"We are all aware of the importance of nurturing a love for nature in the young, particularly in this digital age, " said Ms Peggy Chong, deputy chief executive officer of Gardens by the Bay.

"Children having an early start in engaging with nature will be a joyful thing to see," she added.