CatholicNews ■ Sundays June 6 and June 13, 2004

11

“God destined the earth and all it contains for the use of every individual and all peoples”.

poster that way each time she spots a different butterfly. I’m so glad she’s become more conscious of butterflies now.”

From the East
CONVENT of the Holy Infant Jesus (CHIJ) Katong Primary is just one of the many schools which has benefited from its collaboration with NSS. With the help of Dr. Vilma D’Rozario and other volunteers of the NSS, students have participated in various Fun With Nature programmes, set up a butterfly patch and gone for nature walks to learn more about the flora and fauna along East Coast Park.
Photo: Sr Wendy Ooi, fsp

Photo: Sr Wendy Ooi, fsp

Angela Poh, Head of the Science Department and a parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour explains why she chose to work closely with NSS. “The aim is to make science come ‘alive’ and to provide pupils with handson activities. It also aims to evoke a sense of importance for the need for nature conservation and develop proenvironmental issues among the pupils.” CHIJ Katong Primary is now a member of NSS and Angela is grateful for their alliance. “We’ve collaborated with NSS for three years already and I’ve learned a lot from them. The next time we hold a jumble sale, we plan to give the proceeds to NSS.” Steven Chua, father of Angela, comes to the school three times a week to help maintain the butterfly patch as well as an aviary the school recently set up. The retiree happily shares, Photo: Sr Wendy Ooi, fsp “I love nature and I love planting so I volunteered to take care of the plants and the aviary, just to occupy my time. I make the children happier and make the place greener.” In the process, Steven also says that he is learning a lot from his work, like the name of the various plants under his charge.

STUDENTS of CHIJ Katong Primary relax at the school’s butterfly patch.

Our nature lovers
Catholic, committed and loving it
By Sr. Wendy Ooi, fsp

the Bukit Batok Nature Reserve. Carol and Eugene share their discoveries and experiences of the Earth Day activities. Carol: “The Earth Day exercises was a nice experience with the family which we don’t consciously do. Usually it’s just a trip to the shopping centre. If everyone had the opportunity to be involved, it can be quite rewarding to get in touch with nature, as St. Francis did. Children are pampered and take many things for granted. I realized that our kids are more concerned about getting dirty and being messed up. Our environment is so well taken care of, paved walkways from the shaded bus-stop to the flat, from the air-con bus or car to the home. They are not used to sweatiness and the heat. The eco-farm was like going back to basics, we ate everything out of vegetables. There were no burgers for the kids. The parents were more enthusiastic at the eco farm. The kids were complaining, ‘it’s so hot’ or ‘so many mosquitoes.’ But there were also younger children who were very interested in the farm animals.” Eugene: “When we were younger, we had more opportunity to be with nature. Nature was just outside our doorstep. Most of the time we run out of the house. Now that we’re older, we don’t have much time and so may forget to introduce that to the children. Now everything is at home, and kids play with their Play Station or Gameboy. We now take nature for granted. We don’t even think about it if not for awareness days like Earth Day. We must take part in nature activities more often until it becomes natural for the child to be aware of nature. Exposure to nature is very precious now, and there’s not much that’s left behind. We think it’s important to bring this issue to the children. Carol: “After attending the talk of Dr. Vilma on the life-cycle of the butterfly and after the butterfly garden was set up at St. Mary’s, our six year old daughter, Janelle saw a butterfly at our house. She immediately ran to a poster we bought with the different species of native butterflies and stuck a 3M Post-It. She plans to mark the

Photo: Sr Wendy Ooi, fsp

And the West
Carol Seow and Eugene Lee (above) are parent-volunteers at the St. Francis Kids Club in the parish of St. Mary of the Angels. The club provides faith formation for preschoolers between the ages of 3 and 6. To commemorate Earth Day (April 22) this year, Jocelyn Lee, the club’s main coordinator, organized a series of activities for the children. With St. Francis as patron saint of ecology, the goal was to inculcate in the children a love and care for creation. This included setting up a butterfly garden with Dr. Vilma D’Rozario, a visit to an ecological farm (the Green Circle Eco Farm), and bird watching with the NSS at

Dr. Juliana Kiu, is also from St. Mary of the Angels.She helped to set up a booth during the Earth Day activities in the parish. She is a native of Sarawak. “When I first came to Singapore, I was very impressed with the neatness of the trees compared to the dirty and untidy trees in Malaysia. But I’ve just started to realize that they are pumping lots of pesticides on the trees, pruning them, so they are neat but also artificial. The trees in Malaysia however are pesticide-free, more natural and create a healthy environment. Last December when I went home to Sarawak, it was the first time to be in the countryside with the whole family and it was a rediscovery of nature for me.” Juliana also discovered a plant native to Sarawak and also native to Singapore, but which is increasingly becoming endangered, the Pitcher plant. Juliana ordered 100 Pitcher plants for the church. Known as nepenthes or “carnivorous plants” they eat flies, mosquitoes and even cockroaches which fall into their pitchers, shaped like tubes, tubs, or drums. The plant’s fluids dissolve the insects which become nutrients and are then absorbed by the plant. By introducing the Pitcher plants which are very popular with the young boys, including her own son, Juliana hopes to stir up their love for nature.

To the North
Wilfred Abrigo, a Filipino Catholic who attends church services at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, is an employee of Agilent Technologies, a global technology company. This year Agilent launched a worldwide community effort on the environment among its staff. 1700 employees around the world organized and volunteered in events such as tree-planting, beach and river clean-ups, and restoring native vegetation to wetlands. Agilent Singapore conducted a beach clean-up at Sembawang Park. More than 25 bags of trash, including non-biodegradable plastics were collected during the activity which was in the form of a competition. Among the 80 employees participating were several Catholics including Wilfred who was overwhelmed at the garbage he collected, “Attending the Sembawang Beach Clean-Up project opened a floodgate of opportunities for me. I learned a great deal on how we should take care of our environment and preserve the natural beauty of mother earth. The activity also teaches me the value of Responsibility – making things right for the environment, Orderliness – with its rewards of peace, achievement and enjoyment, and Initiative – being part of the solution and helping others. I thought this was a very nice project. It puts things into perspective.” ■