IFRA 2005

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					  Paper Presentations

                             30 August 2005 (Tuesday)
11.15am – 1.45pm            Paper Presentation 1


            Enhancing Learning and Community Spirit Through
            Student Involvement in Community Landscaping and
            Horticulture Activities
            By : Dr. Hedy Goh Kiow Leng, Koh Yong Cheong, Sim Ee Min
            School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology, Ngee Ann Polytechnic,
            535 Clementi Rd, Singapore 599489
            e-mail : Hedy_Goh@np.edu.sg

            Abstract
            Ngee Ann Polytechnic conducts a Diploma in Horticulture & Landscape
            Management (HLM) course since 1998. This is a practice-intensive course where
            students also train at the National Parks Board. We have developed a broader
            perspective to student learning by undertaking community projects that create an
            awareness of environmental issues as well as enhancing community participation.
            Since 2001, we have adopted Labrador Park off Teluk Blangah Road. This park is
            the only mainland park in Singapore with a natural rocky beach and has relics from
            the World War II. Projects are undertaken and implemented with the broad objective
            of contributing to the public usage of this historic park.
            Our student projects for Labrador Park have included the design and landscaping of
            a butterfly trail, the design of sea creature motifs along the walkways and shelters,
            tissue culture and re-introduction of pitcher plants back to the park, and preparation
            of herbarium specimens of indigenous plants for display at the Visitors Centre.
            Over 30 students are also trained as volunteer guides for the nature and heritage
            trails to guide park visitors.
            Students in the Diploma in Horticulture & Landscape Management course have also
            taken on projects for Admiralty Primary School, the TENT (a non-profit organization
            for troubled teenage girls), MINDS (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled,
            Singapore) Education Centre, SAVH (Singapore Association for the Visually
            Handicapped) and the Teens Library at Jurong Regional Library.
            In the landscaping projects, the students conduct site visits and analyses as well as
            communicate with the clients on their needs and budget requirements before
            preparing landscape designs to suit their needs. Once the project is implemented,
            students also follow up on these projects by providing planting and maintenance
            training to the participants (e.g. plant pruning and maintenance of water features).
            The hydroponics project for the SAVH is a long-term set-up, which the students
            followed up regularly on their own to ensure that the systems are running smoothly.
            These community projects have helped to inculcate a strong sense of community
            spirit and social responsibility amongst the HLM students and have involved and
            benefited various sectors of the community.
Introduction

Ngee Ann Polytechnic conducts a Diploma in Horticulture & Landscape Management
(HLM) course since 1998. This is a practice-intensive course where students also
train at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the National Parks Board (NParks). We
have developed a broader perspective to student learning by undertaking community
projects that create an awareness of environmental issues as well as enhancing
community participation. These projects ranged from landscape designs to setting up
of hydroponics systems as well as planting & maintenance of softscapes at the public
areas and organizations.


6.1     Community Projects
6.2     Labrador Park
The School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology at Ngee Ann Polytechnic formally
adopted Labrador Park in 2001. However, projects were undertaken at the park since
2000.


        This 16.8 ha historical park, located off Pasir Panjang Road is the only
mainland park in Singapore with a natural rocky beach and has relics from World War
II such as the Casemate, ruins of command post, machine guns posts, observation
positions and tunnels.


        Ideas for projects at the park were jointly proposed and discussed with the
NParks before being undertaken and implemented with the broad objective of
contributing to the public usage of this historic park.


        Our student projects for Labrador Park have included the design and
landscaping of a butterfly trail, the design of sea creature motifs along the walkways
and park shelters, tissue culture and re-introduction of pitcher plants (Nepenthes
ampullaria and Nepenthes gracilis) back to the park, and preparation of herbarium
specimens of indigenous plants for display at the Visitor’s Centre. Over 30 students
are also trained as volunteer guides for the nature and heritage trails to guide park
visitors during events such as the annual national Clean & Green Week.
       We have received the biennial Creative Awards for Park Adopters (2002 and
2004), for the HLM students’ Design of Sea Creature Motifs for the Park Walkways &
Shelters and the Landscape Design for the Butterfly Garden at Labrador Park.




6.3    Admiralty Primary School
The HLM students were invited to help design an Eco-Garden for the school. The
students were briefed by the school principal on their requirements for the Eco-
Garden. They conducted site visits and analyses before working in small groups on
the various landscape concepts and designs. At the end of their project, the students
presented their designs to the school authority. The school will select and implement
the design in June 2005. Staff and students have been invited to help train some
teachers and pupils on growing and maintenance of the plants.


6.4    The TENT (a non-profit organization for problem teenage girls)
Third year HLM students designed the landscape for the new premise of the TENT at
Upper Serangoon Road as part of their Landscape Design III module in Aug 2004.
They then presented their designs to the TENT Committee.


Quote from Ms TL Wan, Manager of the TENT:
“The students worked very hard on the designs and it is obvious from the designs
that they have the comfort and the interests of our residents in mind. I guess it
takes one teenager to know another teenager’s taste and preference! After the
designs were submitted, the residents and the staff deliberated on it and made a
decision”.


       The management of the TENT has sourced for funding of the project and
second year HLM students will carry out implementation of the landscape designs as
part of their Planting & Maintenance module in May 2005.        Once the project is
implemented, students will also follow up by providing plant pruning and
maintenance training to the residents.


6.5    Movement for the Intellectually Disabled, Singapore (MINDS) –
Youth Education Development Centre at Yio Chu Kang
Students designed a garden for the residents at the Centre as part of a “horticulture
therapy” and this included a sensory garden. This project was undertaken as an
assignment in the second year Landscape Design module.


6.6     Teens Library at Jurong Regional Library (JRL)
A new concept was experimented with when the new Jurong Regional Library (JRL)
was set up. This was the formation of a Teens Committee to plan a Teens Library, to
get ideas from teenagers on what they want and how the Library can serve their
needs. One level of the JRL was designated as the Teens Library and our HLM
students were invited to provide landscape designs for 2 areas, one around the
staircase with filtered skylight and the other an indoor terrace area. Four HLM
students worked on the project for 3 months, with constant inputs from the Teens
Committee, to develop designs to suit their needs. The projects were finally
presented to the National Library Board Committee and were implemented.


6.7     Chao Yang Special School
HLM staff and students volunteered their Saturdays for 3 months (Sep – Dec 2003)
to teach basic horticultural skills e.g. the techniques of cutting, rooting, repotting and
transplanting of plants to students with learning disabilities at Chao Yang Special
School. The students then raised funds by selling these potted plants at a Christmas
Fair.


6.8     Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH)
Since 2000, staff and students have developed and maintained a hydroponics system
for growing vegetables at the SAVH. The hydroponics project for the SAVH is a long-
term commitment, which the students followed up regularly during their weekly
practical sessions or on their own time during vacation breaks to ensure that the
systems are functioning smoothly. Students are also involved in replanting, pruning,
plant protection and maintenance. Another irrigation system for the herb garden was
also installed by students and staff in 2002.


6.9     Changi General Hospital (CGH)
HLM staff and students helped CGH to develop an innovative method of soil-less
cultivation on roof-tops to produce vegetables for the hospital’s kitchen and staff as
well as a therapeutic environment for treating patients. They were able to have a
positive impact on the environment through a cooler rooftop and minimizing water
use by recycling.


6.10   Singapore Christian Home for the Aged
Staff and students volunteered their expertise and time in designing and installing
the hydroponics system for growing vegetables at the Home. They also helped with
the planting and harvesting of the vegetables. Residents are able to take part in an
outdoor activity that is nurturing as well as to sample the fruits of their labour.




6.11   Conclusion
We have leveraged on our student-centred learning strategy to bring about social
responsibility amongst our students and community participation. Students are proud
to see their ideas, designs and projects being implemented and enjoyed by the public
and/or residents. These community projects have helped to inculcate a strong sense
of community spirit amongst the HLM students and have involved and benefited
various sectors of the community.


Acknowledgements
We would like to thank Dr Mallick Rahman, Mr Russell Sim, Mr Phang Chee Boon and all
HLM students who have contributed to the success of these projects. We would also like to
thank all the organizations for letting us be a part of their learning and development

				
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