Saturday, September 3, 2016

Garden Troopers - Green Encounters

[Media Invite]

I believe my love and fascination about the plants and animals started after my parents bought me a set of encyclopaedia. There were no internet back then and I would spend lots of time reading the books. I always wished to have a big garden where I can plant anything I wanted, but it remained a dream till today. Instead, I kept pots and pots of plants indoors and rotate them during the day when the sun is out.

Nowadays my own kids would be watching television programs, or getting onto YouTube during their free time. But very often the programs they watch would only be cartoons or some nonsensical stuff. Although it is not all bad and their English did show improvements, but I would have loved that they have better knowledge and appreciation for nature instead.

Last June, Steffi was invited over to Garden Troopers - Green Encounters, which was organized by Gardens By The Bay. It is a one-day educational program which aims to get youngsters between the age of 7 – 9 years of age interested in horticulture. Steffi was rather apprehensive at the beginning but luckily there was an ice-breaking session and she “settled down” with her new found friends in her group shortly after. There were student volunteers attached to each group to ensure that everyone Is taken good care of.

Playing some ice-breaker games to warm up.
Writing her own name on her tag.
Besides getting some very useful tips on gardening, or rather, how to keep plants alive, the young ones also got to learnt the different ways plants propagate or “duplicate” themselves. And they got their hands dirty, trying to plant some seeds, divide up clumps of plants into separate pots and get some cuttings properly rooted. This practical session surely beats only reading about the different plant propagation methods anytime and all the kiddos were paying close attention to the what the “trainers” were saying.

Learning how to plant the seeds.

A big clump of plants to be divided into more pots later.

Nice cutting waiting to be planted!
Next up, the kiddos were given clues and ushered to the Flower Dome to take part in a Botanical Scavenger Hunt! They had to scour the entire dome to try to find the elusive plants / flowers required. Motivated by the promises of prizes, the kiddos were all enthusiastic in their bid to be the fastest team with all the correct answers. And they would have to take a nice wefie of the whole team, together with the fauna in frame! Not exactly easy unless you have long arms, or really small faces! It was pretty exciting, and even I felt the adrenaline pumping when I was merely an observer cum photographer.

Making their way from the function room to the Flower Dome.
Trying to get into frame with the plant behind!
Harlow! Not the hari but the plant behind leh!
That's not all, after we came back from the dome and while the points for the hunt were still being tabulated, the kiddos were introduced to a group of plants which I loved too, the tillandsias! After being educated on the unique way that this group of plants thrive without soil, the kiddos were guided on how to create a beautiful container for the plants using sand art. A proud daddy moment again when Steffi completed hers! And at the end of it all, all the kiddos went home with potted plants in hands and better knowledge and appreciation of nature, especially plants!

Steffi's creation. Not too bad yeah?
Love it when she dares to raise her hands to answer!
Happy kiddos with their potted plants!
Well, the next program will only take place on 25 Nov 2016 and there will only be one run. Because the organizers tries to ensure that all the participants are really well-taken care of, there are only very limited slots available. Be sure to sign your child up here if you want to be guaranteed a slot! Thank you Gardens By The Bay for having us at the program!

Useful Information

Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2016
Time: 9am - 3.30pm
Location: Bay South Gardens, Gardens By The Bay
Fee: Friend of the Gardens - $60 per child, Public - $80 per child
Suitable for: Children 7 to 9 years old
Last day of Registration: 31 Oct 2016

Programme fee includes meals and admissions to the Conservatories. Advance registration and payment are required and walk-ins will not be entertained. For enquiries, email or call 64206843.

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