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NParks Buzz - Hort Experts Clinic: Sharing Arboriculture Knowledge Across Divisions

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20 May 2013

About 40 staff from various operations Divisions shared an enriching afternoon with NParks’ very own arboriculture experts at the Hort Experts Clinic on 20 May.

Our five arboriculture experts – Hamid, Chung Leong and Clayton from Streetscape, Daniel from CUGE Research, and Lahiru from SBG discussed topics close to the hearts of practising arborists ranging from pruning techniques, pest and diseases, diagnostic scientific equipment and legal perspectives relating to tree management.

The clinic was well received with many appreciating the insight and practical experiential knowledge that our experts generously shared. Participants also requested for longer and more frequent sessions to pick on our experts’ brains.

Stay tuned for the next Hort Experts Clinic on general horticulture.

The Hort Experts Clinic is brought to you by Hort Standards.

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Participants listening intently to our arboriculture experts

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NParks’ in-house experts, Hamid, Lahiru, Daniel, Chung Leong and 
Clayton (from left to right), sharing their experience and knowledge

Pilot Run of Workshop on Landscape Design Guidelines for Productive Maintenance & Sustainability

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27 May 2013

Landscape maintenance is generally the most investment-intensive activity over a landscape’s life cycle. Yet, its consideration is frequently overlooked and undervalued in many landscape design and construction processes. To address this, CUGE produced a publication and developed a course on how to incorporate sustainable maintenance principles so as to design better landscapes that can be managed more effectively.

CUGE launched the pilot run of the workshop on ‘Landscape Design Guidelines for Productive Maintenance & Sustainability’ on 20 May 2013. Participants learnt how to integrate maintenance and sustainability considerations into their landscape designs and open space management. Ms Tan Yoke Sim (CUGE Senior Trainer), facilitated the workshop, showing participants how to incorporate and implement these guidelines into the areas under their charge so as to reduce landscape maintenance cost and increase productivity.

21 landscape professionals from government agencies, such as HDB, NParks and Singapore Sports Council, as well as the private sector, such as Mao Sheng, Oh Eng Huat and Earth Concepts Pte Ltd, attended the course and gave positive feedback:

“The course is an eye opener.  We keep working in isolation.  This course makes you pause and reconsider issues.”

“Lively course, there is interaction with instructors.”

“The open discussion and group project are very interactive.”

The course was well received. CUGE plans to run this course again. Interested participants may contact Ms Penny Teng at penny_teng@nparks.gov.sg.

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Interactive group discussion, presentation and field trip

NParks Buzz - NParks Strengthens Ties with International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)

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17 May 2013

Senior representatives of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), USA comprising Executive Director, Mr Jim Skiera, Certification Director, Ms Marya Ryan and Board Member, Mr Terry Flanagan visited Singapore from 17 to 20 May 2013. Their visit underscored the recognition of NParks/CUGE as one of the key certification partners in Asia and Singapore’s position as a hub for arboriculture excellence for the tropical region.

NParks has had a long relationship with ISA dating back to 2001 and in 2007 CUGE was appointed as the sole authorized body to implement ISA certification examinations in Singapore. On 17 May 2013, ISA renewed its Memorandum of Collaboration (MOC) with NParks/CUGE reaffirming the strong relationship between the two organizations in raising arboriculture excellence.

The MOC signing was the highlight of CUGE’s Professional Speaker Series by Mr Jim Skiera. He was invited to share on the newer certifications offered, including the Board Certified Master Arborist and Tree Risk Assessor Qualification (TRAQ). The event concluded with a networking session with Singapore Arboriculture Association (SAS) and tree care professionals.

The ISA delegation was also given a show around of Singapore, highlighting various NParks greening initiatives including research work, training, streetscape greenery master plans, parks redevelopment, riverine parks, nature parks and CIB, besides the usual horticultural masterpieces like Singapore Botanic Gardens and Gardens by the Bay.   

The ISA visit to Singapore ended on a high note with ISA Board Member, Mr Terry Flanagan commenting, “we have met no other organisation in the world that has shown this amount of dedication and professionalism in their greening efforts. What you guys do is simply amazing! Singapore is truly a leader in greenery management.”

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MOC signing between NParks and ISA

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ISA Executive Director, Mr Jim Skeira and his team delivering the talk

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Networking between ISA team, industry and staff

NParks Buzz - Getting to Know Plant Families

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14 May 2013

CUGE organized the Plant Diversity & Nomenclature Part II workshop on 14 to 15 May 2013. Trainer, Mr Bian Tan led the workshop comprising 24 participants from NParks, Gardens by the Bay and the Landscape industry.

Participants were introduced to the basics of botany, plant family identification and proper classification techniques. This is important as mis-identification of plants can lead to improper care and placement of plants in the landscape, which may eventually result in greater maintenance costs for the organisation.

Mr Bian Tan conducted both the classroom and field sessions on both days to cover various plant families. The field sessions allowed participants to practice the techniques they had learnt during the classroom session.

Participants also experimented on various plant samples provided in the classroom. The workshop concluded with a simple assessment to reinforce the concepts covered over the two days.

Here are some positive feedback received:

Gary Chua, from Gardens By The Bay: “The trainer is very well-experienced and passionate about what he was teaching.”
Poh Choon Hock, from CUGE Research: “I like the practical analysis of the plant anatomies.”
Koh Kheng Thiam, from EM Services: “The site tour and explanations were very informative.”

The next workshop, Plant Diversity & Nomenclature Part III will be held on 28 and 29 August 2013. Interested participants can contact Ms Amutha at Amutha_Krishnamoorthy@Nparks.gov.sg or check out the CUGE website: www.cuge.com.sg for more details.

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One of the participants trying to identify his plant specimen

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Mr Bian Tan sharing with the class some unique plant features

NParks Buzz - A Showcase of Love on Mother¹s Day

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11 May 2013

A pop-up “Garden of Love” at a shopping mall was a unique showcase of love on Mother’s Day this year. CUGE, in partnership with the Landscape Industry Association (Singapore) (LIAS), set up an indoor garden at City Square Mall as part of an event called "My Mother's Day Floristry WSQ Showcase 2013" organised by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) on 11 to 12 May 2013.

Apart from the main programme that featured floral arrangement demonstrations and competitions, visitors were encouraged to view “thank you messages” and take photographs with their mothers at the pop-up garden. There were also photographs of an activity at Singapore Cheshire Home, in which volunteers from CUGE and Landscape WSQ participants helped to revamp the Home’s gardens, to the delight of its residents. The event received significant media coverage on free-to-air TV channels (Channel 8, Channel U, Channel NewsAsia, Suria, and Vasantham Central) as well as radio airwaves (Love 97.2 FM).

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Love 97.2 DJs at the Garden of Love

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Significant media coverage on free-to-air TV channels (Channel 8, Channel U, Channel NewsAsia, Suria, and Vasantham Central) as well as radio airwaves
(Love 97.2 FM)

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Representatives from WDA and CUGE at the Garden of Love

NParks Buzz - Battling Weeds in Our Landscape

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9 May 2013

Weeds are a common challenge faced when managing our landscapes. On 9 May 2013, colleagues from various divisions such as Parks, Streetscape, CUGE, Horticulture & Community Gardening, Conservation, and NBC got together to tackle this subject during the Weed Management Workshop.

The workshop began with an introductory lecture on the concept of weeds and their detrimental effects as well as unexpected benefits. Participants then ventured into the field to identify specific weed species and the various lawn conditions that these weeds might indicate. Finally, the workshop culminated with the topic most pertinent on everyone’s minds – how weeds should be dealt with. Using case studies of real-life weed problems encountered, participants discussed various practical and effective methods for countering weed issues.

Stay tuned for more runs of the Weed Management Workshop!

The Weed Management Workshop is a Hort Champ programme brought to you by Hort Standards, in collaboration with the Plant Information Unit and CUGE Research.

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Workshop instructors, Dr Jennie Tang and Dr Chin Siew Wai showing participants how to identify weed species and the various lawn conditions that they might indicate

NParks Buzz - CUGE Research Work on Urban Planning Draws Interest

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6 May 2013

On 6 May 2013, as part of CUGE’s Professional Speaker Series, Senior Researcher, Dr Genevieve Ow, was invited to share her findings on the urban tree’s ability to heal itself quickly following correct pruning. This is important as it reduces the risk of infection and negative impact on tree growth. CUGE organizes this series as a platform to share innovative landscape practices to keep the industry abreast of best horticulture practices.

Dr Ow holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Plant Biology from Massey University, New Zealand and a PhD from the University of Canterbury focusing on Plant Physiology and climate change, with particular focus on elevated atmospheric temperatures.

There was a good turnout with over 60 practitioners who attended the session held at the Botany Centre function hall. For more information on the next Professional Speaker Series, please contact Mr Gerald Seow at gerald_seow@nparks.gov.sg.   

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Dr Genevieve Ow sharing her research findings

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Participants having further discussions with Dr Ow after the talk

 

NParks Buzz - A Revamped Garden by WSQ Landscape Participants

28 April 2013

smResidents of the Singapore Cheshire Home, a charity home located at Serangoon Gardens, are now able to enjoy a newly revamped garden as an early Mother's Day gift this year. The project is a tie-up between the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and CUGE to showcase the competency-based Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) programme. WDA also partnered Mediacorp, which selected its adopted charity, the Singapore Cheshire Home, to benefit from the project.

A group of volunteers comprising CUGE staff together with WSQ Landscape trainers and trainees visited the Home on 28 and 30 April 2013. Applying their horticulture skills developed through WSQ training programmes, they refreshed the Home's garden within a span of two afternoons. DJ Wallace Ang from MediaCorp's LOVE 97.2FM station also made an appearance at the Home on 30 April to help with the gardening.

The project will culminate in a pop-up garden at City Square Mall this weekend (11-12 May 2013) as part of Mother's Day celebrations. To be set up in collaboration with the Landscape Industry Association of Singapore (LIAS), the pop-up garden will feature small trees which members of the public can use to display Mother's Day messages and pose for photographs with their loved ones. CUGE will also be setting up a booth to showcase the WSQ Landscape training programmes, job placement and career opportunities in the industry.

For more details on the above event, please contact Alan Chan at alan_chan@nparks.gov.sg. For more information on WSQ programmes available at CUGE, please visit our website at www.cuge.com.sg. 

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Residents anticipating the revamping of their garden

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The CUGE team did not just help replant the garden, they also helped to weed the facade of the Home

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From left to right: CUGE colleagues, See Yi Koon, Siti Zambarah, Alan Chan, Nur Suhailah and Nalini, together with Mr Joe Tan and Mr James from Swee Bee Contractor Pte Ltd

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From left to right: Alan Chan, Mr Wallace Ang (DJ from MediaCorp Radio), Ms Chua Mui Leng (Executive, Singapore Cheshire Home), Ms June Lee (Principal, June Floral Art School) and Mr Christopher Koh (Deputy Director, WDA) helping to revamp the garden at Singapore Cheshire Home

 

CUGE Conducted the Second Run of Contract Interpretation Course


03 May 2013 -

Following the overwhelming response to the inaugural run of the Contract Interpretation Course conducted in November 2012, CUGE conducted the second run of this course in April 2013.

30 staff from Streetscape Division attended this course, which consisted of the following 4 modules:

1. General specifications;

2. Arboriculture works and pest management;

3. Horticulture works; and

4. Turf management.

Taking in the feedback from the first run, more case studies were added to make the course more interactive. There were also more illustration pictures and videos being used for better knowledge transfer.

Besides the training conducted by the trainers, participants also actively shared their knowledge with the class. For example, one participant shared that a hover mower had been previously used for grass cutting on a slope.

CUGE plans to open up this course to staff from other operations Divisions, and may eventually open it up to the industry. The next run has been planned for Parks Division staff and will be conducted on 27-29 May and 3-6 June 2013.

For more details, please contact Mr Chew Thiam Kwee at Chew_Thiam_Kwee@nparks.gov.sg.

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Mathichandran taking the class through a Reverse Auction scenario

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The class going through a Routine Performance Assessment exercise with Xing Qi and Siew Ngim

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The class discussing the different models of contracts with Damien