In this blog post, I’d like to share a bit about a conversation I had with a friend a few days ago (she’d like to remain anonymous!). I’m not quite sure how we ended up at this topic but we began talking about her previous school, Commonwealth Secondary School. She then brought up a recent incident where a male jambu fruit dove collided into a school window and died. While I have heard of the incident from some friends, I was not aware of the reason why. After this, my friend mentioned that her school “has a forest”. I was completely taken aback! A forest in a school?? How is that even possible when we already have so little forest left in Singapore?
She whipped out her phone and began to show me photos of the “pretty bird” and “forest”.
Male Jambu Fruit Dove 
“Forest” in Commonwealth Secondary School 
This was how I discovered that there is a Greening Schools for Biodiversity (GSB) programme by NParks! Funding and guidance is given to schools to ‘green’ their campus and increase biodiversity .
Commonwealth Secondary School underwent this greening process in 2012. Now, the school has 7 eco-habitats! You can watch the video in the link below if you’re interested to find out more about the vast greenery in the school!
Also, scrolling through the #cwssbiodiversity hashtag on Instagram got me pretty excited! Since building these eco-habitats, the school has attracted all kinds of wildlife, from migratory birds to monitor lizards to bats. This will bring the younger generation in Singapore closer to nature and hopefully instil a sense of love and care for the environment and wildlife within them.
I think that GSB is a great initiative as it provides habitats for wildlife in what are often densely urbanised areas. Compared to large natural forests, there is increased monitoring of the ecosystem and organism health. For example, when Golden Apple Snails invaded The Wetland in Commonwealth Secondary School, threatening native snail species by feeding on many of the water plants, the situation was quickly managed. Students, under the guidance of teachers, helped to remove the invasive snails and control its population, thus helping the ecosystem to restore some balance .
Students handling Golden Apple Snails 
There have also been many instances where injured animals, such as birds, were found by students and brought to ACRES Wildlife Rescue to be nursed back to health.
It would be good if NUS could cultivate such a culture in campus, where students and staff care for the environment and are more aware of the wildlife living so close to us! Perhaps then we would find more reported evidence of the health of organisms and ecosystems in and around NUS & we could start working on co-existing better with them.
Thank you for reading!
 : Photo by Tan Guan Rui Jacob, a biology teacher in Commonwealth Secondary School. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155471317767105&set=pcb.10155471327407105&type=3&theater
 : Photo from instagram account @jacob.rui . Retrieved from:
 : Greening Schools for Biodiversity. NParks website. Retrieved from:
 : Green schools a growing trend by Lea Wee on The Straits Times (2016). Retrieved from:
 : Environmental Education. Commonwealth Secondary School website.