For the first time, the National Parks Board (NParks) organised a combined appreciation event to honour its volunteers for co-creating our City in a Garden. Held at HortPark this morning, the event was also organised in celebration of International Volunteer Day, which fell on 5 December.
This year, NParks has over 800 volunteers who serve on a regular basis. This marks a 33 per cent increase in the number of active volunteers compared to 600 in 2011. From as young as nine to over 80 years old, the volunteers willingly sacrifice their time, including weekends, to lead tours, run programmes and participate in surveys. A total of 39 volunteers have served for more than 10 years.
The partnership that NParks has established with volunteers has allowed it to accomplish more than it could by itself.
Dr Leong Chee Chiew, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, National Parks Board, and Commissioner of Parks and Recreation elaborated: “By making planned programmes like guided walks and talks available to people from all walks of life, our volunteers’ efforts have made it possible for everyone to learn more about biodiversity and enjoy nature. Thanks to their commitment to various volunteer programmes, they have made it possible for all of us to enjoy a dose of nature as we go about our daily lives. Our City in a Garden provides Singaporeans with a high quality of life because of our volunteers.”
Previous years’ thank-you events were held separately, so today’s inaugural event gave volunteers the opportunity to come together and learn from those who serve in different activities in other parks, gardens and nature reserves.
The guests also benefited from the personal sharing of three individuals, who spoke about their experience as volunteers.
Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Minister for National Development, graced the occasion as Guest-of- Honour, and presented awards to long-serving volunteers who have remained faithful to their call for 10 and 15 years.