NSS Every Singaporean a Naturalist


For a small developed island nation where much of its natural habitats have been heavily impacted since the 1800s, Singapore is still teeming with a rich biodiversity across an array of aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Cleaned rivers have seen the return of playful otters, the hawksbill turtle swim through our seas, and the world’s most hunted animal, the pangolin, still resides in our forests. Altogether, there are over 2000 native plant species, more than 300 native bird species, 300 native butterfly species, and much more in Singapore. The best of it all is that this incredible diversity is minutes away from anywhere in the city. 

However, are nature and the environment, as well as the impacts we make on them, a compass that guides us in our daily living? Interacting with our family, friends and neighbours, we know only a small proportion of us in Singapore make lifestyle choices around nature and nature conservation. How could we transform this paradigm such that nature becomes an integral part of the Singapore lifestyle? This transformation will happen if every Singaporean is a naturalist.

Every Singaporean a Naturalist (ESN) is Nature Society Singapore's flagship citizen science project and nature education programme. It is part of the society’s wider citizen engagement strategy aimed to engage Singaporeans through conservation-relevant urban biodiversity monitoring that will inspire them and make them knowledgeable about our natural heritage.


Young citizen scientists exploring flowers and their butterfly visitors.


NSS ESN aims to equip young citizen scientists with knowledge and skills to identify, monitor and hopefully appreciate common species of birds, butterflies, frogs, lizards and mammals in their schools so they can be engaged in a long-term study and appreciation of nature in Singapore with experts and volunteers of NSS. With funding support from HSBC (2017 to 2019) and Mandai Nature (2019 to 2025), the programme currently targets primary, secondary and tertiary schools but it will eventually be expanded to the wider public. 

As the programme expands across Singapore, together we will know what are the common fauna and flora in urban Singapore and how do they change across months and years around us!

The programme announcement in Nature News Sep-Oct 2017 issue can be found here.

The Pilot Stage & After

The programme was piloted at primary, secondary and tertiary school levels in the first school term of 2018. Leading to the pilot stage, teachers were engaged, and training sessions were conducted for young citizen scientists to familiarise with the fauna and flora around them. Read about the pilot stage of the programme in Nature News Mar-Apr 2018 issue here

Following the pilot stage, the programme has been fully rolled out in mid-2018. As of 29 Apr 2024, 7,754 observations of 440 species have been made by the young citizen scientists from our 62 participating schoolsTo check out these observations, visit our biodiversity database on iNaturalist here

The programme is now active on Instagram too! Do follow us @nss.esn to learn more about our local and regional biodiversity, to participate in the fun events and quizzes on our feed and stories, and more.

Interested in joining the full rollout? 

We are currently accepting new schools into the programme! If you are interested in knowing more and/or participating, please contact esn@nss.org.sg. 

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My Birdwatching Journal by My First Skool and Nature Society (Singapore)