A butterfly haven for macro enthusiasts?

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A butterfly haven
By Koh Eng Beng

Photo by Koh Yihui

LEAFY LANDING:: Butterflies such as this one are a common sight at the garden located at NIE.

A new garden has opened in NTU, but it was not meant for students.

Construction on an open-concept butterfly garden started in late July last year, taking three months to complete.

It has been successful so far and today, it attracts a number of butterflies to its flowers, adding colour and vibrancy to the otherwise dull-looking school compound.

Located beside the Greenhouse near Block 7A of the National Institute of Education (NIE), the garden, measuring about 10m by 5m, was constructed by the NIE Green club.

Visitors can choose to sit in the shade provided by the leaves of the banana trees nearby, or watch the butterflies from the corridor of Block 7A.

The butterfly garden is the brainchild of Associate Professor Vilma D’Rozario, advisor to the Trainee Teachers’ Club in NIE.

The main reason for initiating the project was to preserve the butterflies native to Singapore, which are dwindling in number due to the loss of their natural habitat as a result of urbanisation.

“I hope that our future generations will have the chance to learn about butterflies in Singapore,” she said.

Assoc Prof D’Rozario has also developed butterfly gardens in other local schools with The Nature Society (Singapore).

It is a non-government, non-profit organisation dedicated to the appreciation and conservation of natural heritage in the region.

Aided by Assoc Prof D’Rozario, Assoc Prof Tang Hung Kei from NTU and Assoc Prof Wong Tai Chee from NIE, the NIE Green Club began the construction of the butterfly garden by planting wild flowers and horticultural plants known to attract butterflies.

Today, club members take turns to water the plants and maintain the garden daily.

The club, with its 45 members from NIE, organises activities such as the Nature Photography competition with the aim of promoting environmentalism.

The club’s ex-president Muhamad Zaki Bin Jalil, 31, led them in the construction of the butterfly garden, which took about three months to complete.

“For me, nature provides the much needed solace from the stress of being a student,” said the final-year Geography trainee teacher.

Original source: http://www.ntu.edu.sg/chronicle/features3.htm

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