As Evelyn Low and her group of friends stood by the river at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, they looked at it in amazement.
Small boulders in the waters allowed them to traipse the streams, and butterflies were fluttering around the banks made of lush greenery.
“I didn’t know that this river used to be a canal!” Low exclaimed. It was her first visit to the park.
Low, Senior Administrative Assistant, JCube and her friends were among the 300 staff and family members who joined in the fun at the inaugural Green Day held on 15 March by CapitaMalls Asia.
“Green Day serves as an opportunity for our staff to gain ‘green’ knowledge in an enjoyable and relaxing way,” said Mr Chow Chee Khang, Head, Design Management (M&E;) and Chairman, Green Committee, CapitaMalls Asia.
Commending Green Initiatives
To kick start the event, a symbolic ceremony was held whereby Mr Wilson Tan, CEO, CapitaMall Trust Management was presented with the FTSE4Good award certificate to mark CapitaMall Trust’s successful listing under the FTSE4Good Index Series.
The Series, led by British stock market data provider FTSE Group, recognises companies’ efforts towards effectively meeting global corporate responsibility standards via their sustainability initiatives.
Amidst much cheer and delight from the crowd, CapitaFrog, the green mascot of CapitaLand Group, then made its grand entrance during the welcome address.
Next, Mr Pedro Santa Rivera from leading landscape architect firm Atelier Dreiseitl Asia, took to the stage to share inspiring stories about the remarkable transformation of Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park from a utilitarian, concrete water canal to the lively, winding river it is today.
Walking in a Green Wonderland
One of the programme highlights was the Discovery Walk. Before the walk started, participants received a questionnaire comprising eight questions on fun facts about the park.
To win prizes, they had to race to answer five questions correctly.
Eight pit stops around the park featured exhibition panels to guide the participants along.
During the walk, young children present were drawn to the Water Playground. By moving ropes on the ground, they got to control and play with the water flows.
In fact, the water used in this playground is recycled water treated by the phytoremediation system, where living plants remove impurities from contaminated soil.
Participants also encountered art and heritage along the way. At one of the pit stops, participants were tasked to form a Recycle Hill using concrete slabs from the former canal as an initiative to preserve a part of the park’s history.
At another interesting station, participants learnt how up to 11 soil bioengineering techniques were examined via a test-bed during the development of the park.
These techniques help to stabilise the river banks and protect them from erosion. They also form natural habitats for wildlife species to settle and multiply.
Going Green – A Meaningful Affair
Adding on to the fun of going green is a book-collection initiative for children.
At the book-collection booth, staff contributed more than 160 books for a good cause.
“The collected books will be delivered to underprivileged children to provide them with an opportunity to read and learn,” said Mr Chow.
The book collection drive was organised with local organisation Help a Child, Donate a Book, which sends the books to libraries in poorer countries.
The fun did not end there. During brunch, the emcee roused the audience with a live quiz that gave away CapitaVouchers as prizes to winners.
Questions were centered on the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) waste hierarchy management strategy.
Fu Lina, Cost and Contract Executive, CapitaMalls Asia, was one of the winners of the quiz. An interesting fact she learnt from the contest was how just five PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles are sufficient to make a square foot of a polyester carpet.
This was Fu’s second visit to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park since her move to Singapore nine months ago. She described the landscape as “beautiful” and the event as “educational”.
A percussion band ended the festivities with a bang. They performed a medley of songs with instruments made of recycled materials.
But ask the children about their favourite part of the day and many would reply, “CapitaFrog!”
Throughout the day, CapitaFrog brought endless fun and laughter to the children who enjoyed interacting and taking photos with the green mascot.
Rachel Koh, 7, said, “The best part for me was meeting CapitaFrog because it’s so cute!”
Rachel is the daughter of Jeannie Koh, Leasing Administrative Assistant, Westgate.
“It was great that the Discovery Fun Walk required teamwork. It’s always fun to meet up with friends from the various departments within the company to catch up and bond because we don’t see one another on a daily basis,” Koh added.
More than just about learning, CapitaMalls Asia’s Green Day 2014 was also a day about connecting with loved ones and fellow colleagues – all amidst the tranquil backdrop of nature.