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  Straits Times 4 Nov 07
Take a leaf out of her book and plant a tree for $200
By Shobana Kesava

Channel NewsAsia 3 Nov 07
Singaporeans can join Plant-A-Tree Programme

SINGAPORE : Singaporeans are being encouraged to contribute to greening efforts by planting trees under the Plant-A-Tree Programme.

The programme is launched by the Singapore Environment Council and the Garden City Fund, a registered charity complementing the government's environmental efforts.

On the last Sunday of every month or on special days like World Environment Day or Earth Day, the public can now plant trees at designated parks or nature reserves.

However for every tree planted, a payment of S$200 will be required.

Proceeds will go towards the Garden City Fund for more tree-planting activities.

Kicking off the programme was Kirtida Mekani of the Garden City Fund - planting 50 of the 250 trees she has pledged.

The public can log on to the Garden City Fund website at www.gardencityfund.org to check on the tree-planting schedule as well as where they can plant the trees.

Kirtida Mekan says: "I wanted to be a pro-active person and there're many different ways of being pro-active for the environment. If you're looking at recycling, there's a little bit I can do in recycling or buying green products, that's a reactive mechanism that I can control myself - I reduce or reuse. But I said: 'How can I be a pro-active citizen of Singapore? And give back?' One of the best ways is by planting trees.

"You're planting something which is living and something which will not just benefit me, but benefit everybody. One thing about trees is that the goodness of trees goes beyond. If I plant a tree it's not just me that's benefiting, everybody benefits. And trees have this cross-boundary goodness. I said," I'm giving through the trees and this great virtue the trees have to give us all the abundance and sustain us. So why not plant trees and have a ripple effect?" and I'm bonding, I'm strengthening my connections with Singapore also. - CNA/ch

Straits Times 4 Nov 07
Take a leaf out of her book and plant a tree for $200
By Shobana Kesava

A CAMPAIGN to encourage more tree planting bore fruit yesterday when MrsKirtida Mekani planted a sapling at Labrador Park.

Mrs Mekani, 48, who has been much involved in green volunteerism since the early 90s, said she wanted to encourage all Singaporeans to take a leaf out of her book and care for nature.

Her zest convinced the Garden City Fund - the fund-raising arm of the National Parks Board - and the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) to adopt her idea of allowing anyone to plant a tree in parks and nature reserves.

'When I couldn't have my own garden when I moved here from India in 1988, I began to see beyond myself; that every park is my garden. There are 300 here!' said MrsMekani, who lifted the SEC out of dormancy in 1992 as its first executive director.

'I want everyone to enjoy them. What better way than if they own a part of these gardens?'

The National Parks Board (NParks) wants people to plant regional species in 16 spots, including Fort Canning Park, East Coast Park and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. A schedule has been laid out for this on the last Sunday of every month and on occasions like Earth Day.

'We're hoping to bring wildlife like unusual birds back to areas which have lost tree cover,' said NParks chief operating officer Leong Chee Chiew.

The Plant-A-Tree programme could see up to 2,000 new trees taking root across Singapore in the next 12 months.

It costs $200 to plant a tree, with discounts for 10 or more. Those who support the scheme will get a certificate with a picture of them planting their sapling.

Proceeds are tax deductible and go towards the Garden City Fund.

To mark her silver wedding anniversary, Mrs Mekani, a fund committee member, has pledged $25,000 in support of the planting of 250 trees.

Fund chairman Leo Tan said $200 a tree is not expensive: 'The money goes towards buying the tree and maintaining it, which isn't much considering trees can live well over 100 years.'

NParks streetscape director Simon Longman added: 'We will recommend a tree from our list of about 100 coastal and inland species.'

SEC plans to take the scheme further. SEC Green Volunteers Network head Grant Pereira said: 'We want this to go beyond sponsorship to real adoption. We plan to teach students everything about the trees they plant so that they see how important trees are to the planet.'

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