In Singapore’s increasingly urban and technology-focused landscape, students can appear to be quite separated from the natural world. Decreased exposure to the natural environment not only reduces children’s knowledge about their surroundings, but also undermines their ability to comprehend the scale and urgency of some of the most concerning issues of our time, including climate change and biodiversity loss.
The Dover Green Heart aims to bring the wonder of the natural world to the centre of every child’s education. At UWCSEA, environmental stewardship is a major part of every child’s education and by supporting students to become eco-literate and helping them to develop the essential knowledge, skills and commitment to care, we hope to turn an ecological crisis into an exciting transformation of our economies and societies.
To this end, in 2014, a team of eco-visionaries began quietly dreaming and laying the foundations for the Green Heart project. Led by Nathan Hunt, UWCSEA’s Director of Sustainability, the team’s vision was exciting and expansive – they wanted the Green Heart to encompass functional spaces for the Student Environmental groups working to propagate indigenous plants, including a beautiful natural balcony for gatherings, and shaded outdoor classrooms – and most importantly, to be a natural playground where students could explore, wonder and engage with nature.
Robin McAdoo, UWCSEA parent and landscape architect, designed the creative concept for the space, which has evolved and grown over time, “From the very start, the investment by dedicated and conscientious educators was contagious and sparked my desire to help transform an existing void into a place to attract, comfort, and engage all who encountered it.”
The Dover Green Heart will be the living, breathing centre of UWCSEA Dover, providing a respite from the tropical heat and a unique hands-on, learning environment for the community. The opportunities to care for and learn from nature will, we believe, provide the essential foundation for an education is truly transformational.
Generous donors have provided the initial funding for the project, but we still have a long way to go. It is anticipated that the first phase of construction will start in December 2018 and there will be flowers blooming, bees humming and birds nesting within six months.