Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is under the management of the National Parks Board (Singapore). The National Parks Board is committed to the conservation of this wetland through prudent management, research and education.
Its objectives are:
Conservation – to function as an important site in the East Asian Migratory Flyway for waders and to maximise the carrying capacity of the reserve for birds and other wildlife.
Education – to provide education of the Natural Sciences, in the local context, through the natural and diverse interest within the reserve.
Recreation – to provide an alternative form of recreation to encourage an appreciation of the beauty and diversity of wildlife.
Research – To contribute to ornithology and biological knowledge regionally and internationally.
For full details of Sungei Buloh, visit www.sbwr.org.sg or check the virtual visit to Sungei Buloh.
Each year, the wetland reserve sees 100,000 visitors.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve has 18 fulltime staff.
The wetland reserve is headed by an Assistant Director directed by the Director (Conservation), the latter being based at National Parks Board Headquarters.
The Education Outreach activities are led by Senior Outreach Officers.
The SOO manages a Volunteer Coordinator (with 60 volunteers), Outreach Officer and Visitor Services Coordinator.
Sungei Buloh was designated as a nature park in 1989 and opened by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong on 6th December 1993. It was gazetted as a nature reserve in 2002 and renamed as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. In the same year, it joined 30 other wetland sites in the East Asian Australasian Shorebird Site Network and was recognised as a site of international importance for shorebirds.
Set in 130 acres of mangroves, mudflats, ponds and secondary forest is Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, a rare oasis of natural wonders and tranquility, home to unique plants and animals, as well as a wintering ground for migratory birds.
The wetland reserve houses a full complement of amenities to make learning enjoyable: look-out towers and observation hides, boardwalks over the water and viewing platforms.
The rustic-looking Visitor Centre houses the theatrette which screens a 13 minute AV show, Nature Gallery with static and interactive exhibits, Nature Cove, an information centre and cafeteria.
The amenities serve to provide modern comfort for the urbanites. It is also equipped with a workroom for group work.
It was the birds that first attracted attention to this wetland. Today, the wetland reserve has a record of 212 species of birds, 60% of what can be seen in Singapore. From September to March, mother nature provides us a rare opportunity to view migratory birds such as plovers, sandpipers and egrets from Siberia, China, Japan and Korea as they stopover at the wetland reserve to escape the northern winter.
Sluices management allows the control of water levels in the ponds. At any one time, at least one pond is kept low in water level to expose the mudflats for the shorebirds to feed and roost. The departure of the migratory birds does not mean a lull in activity at the reserve because April to August is the breeding season for local resident birds.
The breeding activities of our local birds like the Tailorbird, Baya Weaver and Heron are fascinating to many: their courtship calls, breeding plumage and nests of various shapes and sizes. Apart from the birds, the mangrove ecosystem provides yet another interesting aspect of the wetland reserve. The peculiar root formations of the mangroves, with some twisting and turning while others protrude out of the soft mud, are a curious sight.
This dynamic ecosystem supports a wide variety of wildlife that visitors can enjoy at close range. All time favourites with the visitors include the mudskippers, crabs and the monitor lizards.
The philosophy is ‘day out with a conscience’, to learn something about the intricate ecosystem and translate it into actions for the environment.
Interpretation and exhibitry
The Visitor Centre houses the theatrette, which screens a 13 minute AV show providing the overview of the wetland reserve and a Nature Gallery with static and interactive exhibits.
Signage lines the routes in the wetland reserve to provide information as well as provoke thought.
Publications and the website communicate information, issues and messages to different sectors of society.
Volunteers and staff are onsite to present live interpretation.
Formal (school and university) learning
Outreach Officers at the wetland reserve work with schools to develop specific programmes upon request. The wetland reserve is a ‘living classroom without walls’ where subjects as diverse as arts and science, conservation and environmental concerns, can come alive for children. Interesting projects such as ‘Birds in Wetland Reserves’ are run in collaboration with British Council and the Ministry of Education, and the Nature Journal Competition 2003 was sponsored by HSBC. Through these projects, students are exposed to the natural wonders of nature and are able to appreciate the delicate environment we all live in.
On a monthly basis, our Officers travel to different schools throughout Singapore to bring SBWR to the students. They conduct a 45 minute slide talk that aims to interest young students in local flora and fauna inhabiting the mangroves and freshwater habitats at the wetland reserve.
To encourage the usage of the wetland reserve as an outdoor classroom, teachers from various schools are invited to attend the teachers’ workshop that is held every school vacation. During this workshop, the teachers are equipped with the know-how to run educational programmes in the wetland reserve.
To promote a sense of ownership and responsibility in students, we will jointly develop a three year programme with schools that are keen to adopt the wetland reserve.
Currently, we have Woodlands Secondary School adopting the Butterfly Trail, Commonwealth Secondary School adopting the Mangrove Boardwalk, and Hillgrove Secondary School adopting the freshwater ponds. Schools which are interested in our school programmes can call 6794 1401 for more information.
Informal (general public) learning
The public programmes that we run at the wetland reserve are targeted at all other visitors. Visitors can either explore the wetland reserve on their own with the help of a self-guided brochure and signage along the way, or join our regular programmes such as Saturday guided walks, Prawn Watch, Bird Watch, to learn more about the mangroves and other flora of the wetland.
The range of education materials includes workshops, guidebook and a triannual magazine, ‘Wetlands’, which are available online or sold at the wetland reserve.
From time to time we also organise special events with our partners to raise awareness of the wetland reserve. Through the years we have conducted year-long spore art, nature journal and photography competition, Young Naturalists Programme, ‘Care for Nature’ Family Nature Hunt, Reforestation Programme, International Coastal Cleanup, Mangrove Replanting Programme to name a few.
To bring Sungei Buloh closer to the public, we have also increased our reach to public libraries whereby all staff from the SBWR are involved in giving talks in their speciality. The website, www.sbwr.org.sg, gives the latest reserve and events news. People can phone the Information Counter at 6794 1401 during office hours.
The wetland reserve has a community of 60 volunteers, corporate sponsors/volunteers who are involved in guiding, research, training, website maintenance, photography and funding projects.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve welcomes professionals from around the world like government officials, policy makers, planners, politicians, researchers and educators.
Sharon Chan, Assistant Director Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Address: 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925
T: (+65) 67941401
F: (+65) 67937271
Mohamad Azlin Sani, Manager Conservation (Outreach)
T: (+65) 67942414
F: (+65) 67937271
Mendis Tan, Manager Conservation (Outreach)
T: (+65) 67941403
F: (+65) 67937271