Pearlynn Sim is a recipient of the NParks Undergraduate Scholarship and has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Conservation.
S ingapore is globally known for being a green city, where diverse flora and fauna thrive alongside buildings and highways. Much of the credit has to go to NParks and the tireless, behind-the-scenes work done by its dedicated staff. With its efforts in building and rejuvenating green infrastructure and community engagement and involvement, NParks is realising its vision of Singapore as a City in a Garden.
Besides the nature reserves, gardens and parks on the Singapore mainland, NParks also manages several island parks. One of these is Coney Island Park, NParks Undergraduate Scholar Pearlynn Sim’s place of work. The Park Manager for Coney Island Park takes us through her work, and her fulfilling experience working for NParks.
Why did you apply for the NParks Undergraduate Scholarship?
My love for the outdoors and nature shaped my aspirations to be a part of the environmental scene in Singapore. I applied for the NParks Undergraduate Scholarship for the opportunity to contribute to NParks’ vision to make Singapore a biophilic City in a Garden, and to share my love for the environment with fellow Singaporeans.
Were there any other scholarships that caught your interest, and if so, what made you decide on NParks?
The NParks scholarship appealed to me because I wanted to join an organisation with a vision that strongly resonates with my own aspirations. It was the only scholarship that I applied for, as I was certain that I wanted to be part of NParks to help better the lives of fellow Singaporeans by developing and managing quality parks.
Tell us more about your scholarship application journey.
I learnt about the scholarship from my college admission counsellors in school, who encouraged me to pursue the opportunity as they were aware of my interest in the outdoors and nature.
The application and interview process went smoothly for me as I had interned at NParks for eight months prior to my application. Through this experience, I learned a bit about the inner workings of NParks, and some of the staff got to know me too.
Most of your work involves managing parks. Is there a particular reason you chose this line of work?
Park management is one of NParks’ core areas of expertise and it involves a variety of work including landscape and facilities management, people and programming coordination, and biodiversity conservation and habitat enhancement. Every day is different, and the dynamic nature of the job keeps me on my toes to constantly improve and enhance our parks for fellow Singaporeans to enjoy, and for native biodiversity to thrive. It is meaningful work and I am constantly inspired by my interactions with visitors who appreciate the work that we do.
There is a perception that working for NParks is always outdoors, hot and sweaty work. Is this the case? And why so or why not?
My job as a Park Manager has a good balance of outdoor and indoor work, and this is great because being outdoors is always a welcome change from sitting inside all day! Also, it isn’t always hot and sweaty to be outdoors. It can be really cooling under the tree canopy, and I appreciate the sea breeze during my work in Coney Island Park.
Which moments of your work stand out to you?
Enhancing Coney Island Park for flora and fauna, and interacting with our dedicated volunteers are moments on the job that stand out for me. It is rewarding to know that the habitat enhancements that we make today will contribute to the health of our forests in the future. Our volunteers constantly inspire me, as they dedicate their free time and contribute to these efforts tirelessly. It is especially heartening to see families at our volunteer sessions, sharing in the spirit of caring for nature together.
What is the working culture at NParks like?
NParks is a tight-knit community; everyone is friendly and always willing to help each other. Being like-minded in our love for the outdoors and nature makes for good conversations and great working relationships.
Could you share more about the career opportunities in the industry that your scholarship prepares you for?
Before heading off for my studies as an undergraduate, I had work attachments with different divisions in NParks. This broadened my exposure to the wide range of work that NParks does, as well as the variety of career possibilities in the environmental field. As part of my studies, the NParks scholarship allowed me to pursue academic opportunities to learn about natural resources management.
As an NParks staff, I have been involved in different projects aimed at improving our greenery management and refining our work processes. This includes exciting work such as harnessing new technology and fostering partnerships with other organisations.
What are your personal and career aspirations?
I aspire to keep improving and enhancing our parks for everyone to enjoy and biodiversity to thrive. Through this work, I hope to pass on my love for Singapore’s rich natural heritage and inspire fellow Singaporeans to help care for it as well.
Why should aspiring scholars apply for the scholarship with NParks?
If aspiring scholars are interested in nature and the outdoors, they should apply for the NParks scholarship to join a community of like-minded people dedicated to the preservation and management of greenery in Singapore.
Any words of advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
If you have a passion for the environment, look for opportunities to get involved and try to meet people who are working in the field. Do not be afraid to try different things to discover the best fit for you, be it in park management, horticulture, landscape architecture or research.