Located within the Singapore Botanic Gardens, the Keppel Discovery Wetlands is the first project in Southeast Asia to recreate a freshwater swamp forest. Officially opened by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, on 31 March 2017, the venue allows members of the public to experience this unique natural habitat in the heart of the city for the very first time.
The Keppel Discovery Wetlands was officially opened by Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Lee Hsien Loong, on 31 March 2017. The area was established with a $2.08 million commitment from Keppel, which supported the restoration of a freshwater forest wetland ecosystem historically found in the vicinity of the Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Keppel Discovery Wetlands is part of a new 10-hectare conservation core at the Singapore Botanic Gardens called the Learning Forest, which also includes the SPH Walk of Giants – a collection of some of the region’s tallest tree species, a bamboo garden, as well as a showcase of wild fruit trees.
The restored 1.8-hectare Keppel Discovery Wetlands was designed with ecological considerations in mind, and includes a carefully curated plant collection of over 200 species. The Wetlands restores the area’s existing water sources by creating a linked series of five water bodies that connects to the Swan Lake.
The Wetlands includes the Discovery Trail, Botanists’ Boardwalk, Orchid Gardens and Pulai Marsh. Playing host to a diverse range of wetland plants and animals, the Wetlands enhances the biodiversity found in the area and provides opportunities for the public to access and experience a freshwater forest wetland habitat right in the heart of the city.
At the launch of the Learning Forest, PM Lee shared, “Our Botanic Gardens thrives not because of the interesting mix of plants, but because within it, there is life. It is teeming with activity. It is loved and nurtured by the community, by all age groups. I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to create this Learning Forest − corporate partners such as Keppel and Singapore Press Holdings, the many volunteers who spend time planting trees or leading guided walks. For them, it is a labour of love.
“Many of the trees in the Learning Forest are still young. But gradually, year by year, they will grow and mature. In the fullness of time, they will enrich our natural heritage. More Singaporeans will grow to love it, and I hope we can all care for and nurture it so that future generations will also get the chance to enjoy this green gem and form lasting, precious memories of their own.”
Dr Lee Boon Yang, Chairman of Keppel Corporation, commented, “The Keppel Discovery Wetlands provides a unique opportunity for Singaporeans to learn about our amazing biodiversity. This initiative resonates with Keppel’s commitment to sustainable development. We hope that all visitors will be inspired to better understand and appreciate Singapore’s natural environment.”
To mark the occasion, PM Lee planted trees together with Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Lee and Mr Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation and Chairman of Keppel Land.
Also participating in the tree planting were advisers for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and Tanjong Pagar GRC and Dr Teo Ho Pin, Mayor of North West District, as well as corporate partners, students and volunteers. A total of 80 trees from 20 different species were planted.
Led by Dr Lee, senior management from Keppel Corporation accompanied PM Lee on a guided tour of the Wetlands and were introduced by NParks officials and student representatives to its key features and biodiversity.
Also present at the event were representatives from Keppel Volunteers, who will serve as Green Ambassadors for the Wetlands.