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Singapore Sensory Trail

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Originally appears in the Spring 2008 issue

Situated off the northeast coast of Singapore, the island of Pulau Ubin, or “granite island,” resembles many islands in the Malay Archipelago. It is covered with village and forest gardens, plantations, rainforest vegetation, mangrove swamps and shores, and fish and prawn farms. It retains the rural and rustic charm of an older Singapore, and has long been recognized as an important center of biodiversity. Its terrain includes granite gravel, boulders and quarry walls, and it is home to species no longer found on the main island of Singapore. For a visitor to the island, seeing Oriental pied hornbills, red junglefowl, rare bats and wild pigs in the vicinity of one of the most densely populated cities in Southeast Asia is thrilling. On April 15, 2000, the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore officiated at the opening of a sensory nature trail for the visually impaired on Pulau Ubin. The fact that an American official participated in a ceremony devoted to a special place in the hearts and heritage of Singaporeans is indicative of the rich origin and evolution of the project.

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Richard Frazier is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. He grew up in Missouri and has taught in Sierra Leone, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.