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#EarthDayKL2021 – Restore Our Earth

The on-going pandemic meant that this year’s Earth Day celebrations were conducted digitally. Here is a summary of Earth Day activities across the month of April.

Earth Week with Think City Institute

Together with Think City Institute and supported by TNB, FoBK hosted 4 webinars across the week of 20-27 April 2021. Below are the recordings of the webinars:

#1 – Youth Engagement in Climate Action

Description: The climate emergency will affect our collective future. So how can the leaders of tomorrow rise up to seize the future today? This webinar will explore how to amplify the voice that matters most – youths!

Speakers: Jasmin Ilham (Climate and Environment Consultant, UNICEF), Mathini Arveena Ravee, Klima Action Malaysia (KAMY)

Moderator: Thary Gazi Goh, Urban Biodiversity Initiative (UBI)

#2 – Why Communities Are Important In Protecting Green Spaces

Description: How do you balance the development of Greater KL while protecting urban green lungs? This webinar takes a look at the instrumental role of community-based organisations in advocating for the protection of urban forests and why your voice matters.

Speakers: Justine Vaz (General Manager, The Habitat Foundation); Peter Leong (Treasurer, Friends of Bukit Kiara)

Moderator: Kribanandan Gurusamy Naidu, President of the Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK)

#3 – Firefly Biodiversity, Mysteries & Ecology

Description: Did you know fireflies can be found in urban forests? Inland fireflies are numerous in shape, size & light display patterns, reflecting their higher biodiversity & unique relationship with our forests. As part of FoBK’s ‘Magical Mysteries at Bukit Kiara’, a project supported by GEF-SGP-UNDP & JLN, there will be a sharing of insights into these fascinating creatures.

Speakers: Thary Goh, Urban Biodiversity Initiative (UBI); Dr Nada Bt Badruddin, Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)

Moderator: Leon Koay (Friends of Bukit Kiara, Save Taman Rimba Kiara)

#4 – Restoring Our Earth

Description: The theme of Earth Day 2021 is ‘Restore Our Earth’. What does that mean for Malaysia? This webinar explores the challenges faced in tackling the climate emergency locally.

Speakers: Sofia Castelo, Lead of Think City’s Resilience Community of Practice, Think City; Dr Dzaeman Dzulkifli, Executive Director, Tropical Rainforest Conservation & Research Centre (TRCRC)

Moderator: Baida Jane Hercus, Free Tree Society (FTS)

Spotlight On Our Friends

In line with this year’s Earth Day theme, we featured other organisations that do amazing conservation work across Klang Valley and Malaysia. From Malaysian Nature Society to Shah Alam Community Forest and EcoKnights, this is not an exhaustive list but just some of the good folks doing good work across Greater KL.

Watch the videos on Facebook.

A Guide To Bukit Kiara with a Budding Biologist

Have you ever wondered what exactly are the plants you see in Bukit Kiara? We enlisted the wisdom of Marcus Lim, a 9-year old budding biologist, to be our guide to the wonders of this urban forest!

Getting Lost in Bukit Kiara with Rambo Tan

It was a wild day out in Bukit Kiara as wild man Rambo Tan decided to go for a walk in the forest. With some help from Marcus Lim and friends, he survived the short trek – no injuries but with lots of stories to tell.

Watch the livestream on Facebook.

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Bukit Kiara: In The News – Mar-May 2021

Of a forest reserve that still is… and other musings

8 March 2021 – Peter Leong, FoBK’s Treasurer, shared an op-ed on Malay Mail about the state of forest reserves in the context of the breaking news about Shah Alam Community Forest’s being legally a Permanent Forest Reserve.

While it may be slightly below the 300m ASL criteria that “counts for more” on hill/slope development guidelines, so too do other Klang Valley green lungs capped by not-particularly-tall peaks (eg. Bukit Kiara 270m, and Bukit Permatang Resam a.k.a. Unity Peak of Kota Damansara Community Forest 210m) — both afforded a high level of recognition and protection for 400 and 800 acres respectively.

This is a valuable read to have a glimpse of the complicated background of gazettement, equity and a suggestion for how we can move forward.

Read the Malay Mail article here.

BFM Podcast: Friends of Bukit Kiara

5 May 2021 – Dr Kriban G Naidu, FoBK’s President, appeared on the ‘Earth Matters’ show hosted by Juliet Jacobs sharing a thorough history and vision of our NGO.

https://bit.ly/3faQ3fV

Listen to the podcast here.

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Friends of Bukit Kiara and TwentyTwo13 Spotlight

Together with our friends at TwentyTwo13, we will be crafting a series of articles across 2021 that shares the history and future of Bukit Kiara.

Written by FoBK president, Dr Kribanandan Gurusamy Naidu, the six articles will highlight various aspects of Taman Persekutuan Bukit Kiara including some history, the gazettement agenda, long term conservation and our planned FoBK activities.

Read them below here:

1. Years of Toil by Civil Society Resulted in Gazettement of Bukit Kiara Federal Park

The first article on TwentyTwo13 published in Jan 2021 shares the history of Bukit Kiara, from its roots as a rubber plantation from the Ng Chin Siu & Sons Rubber Estate Ltd, to its planned future as a public park and an arboretum in the style of Hyde Park in London.

The comprehensive article shares the abandoned plans for the stretch of land that currently covers the Damansara sewage treatment plant and the Muslim cemetery.

In 1993, the establishment of the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club on land meant for Pusara Negara signalled the full abandonment of the Taman Kiara Master Plan.

It also shares the long history of community engagement between Taman Tun Dr Ismail Residents Association, passionate activists, like-minded NGOs, member of parliament, and the public who have devoted much to the cause.

Read the full article here.

2. Friends of Bukit Kiara Moving Forward With A Wider Purpose

The second article which was published in Feb 2021 chronicles the history and mission of Friends of Bukit Kiara.

While the initial focus may have been on gazettement, since 2018, there has been a wider focus to include engagement on wider green lung advocacy issues together with other green lung community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations and the general public in the Klang Valley.

“In the first attempt of its kind in the Klang Valley, a successful roundtable discussed was hosted by FoBK in October 2018 which saw the coming together of 17 green lunch advocacy groups and representatives from the office of the Segambut MP to find a meaningful way forward.”

Read the full article here.

3. Explore The Uniqueness of Bukit Kiara

Published in March 2021, the third feature spotlights the uniqueness of flora and fauna of this beloved urban forest. With a variety of river sources, birds, insects and wildlife, it has become apparent that Bukit Kiara can potentially function as a living library of plants and animals that can be used for forest restoration and increasing biodiversity in the city.

Bukit Kiara is an example of how a deforested former rubber plantation can be restored into a forest or recreational land for public use.

Read the full article here.

4. Time To Restore Our Earth

Just in time for Earth Day 2021 on April 22, the fourth feature shares the exciting activities that FoBK has planned in collaboration with Think City Institutes’s Earth Week 2021.

Our climate leaders, grassroots activists, community leaders, artists, influencers, and the leaders of tomorrow will all come together to push us towards a better world and remind us of the theme of Earth Day 2021 i.e ‘Restore Our Earth’.

Friends of Bukit Kiara will be hosting 4 webinars together with Think City Institute

Read the full article here.

5. Bukit Kiara’s Public-Private Partnership Path to Sustainable Development

Published in May 2021, this article takes a holistic look at Bukit Kiara, reflecting on the tension of the public-private partnership that exists on this land. Despite news of Bukit Kiara being gazetted as a Federal Park on July 29 2020, the announcement only encompasses 110.8 hectares and there remains 51.4 hectacres that will hopefully be similarly gazetted by 2027.

What became of those major chunks outside of today’s 162.2-hectare Federal Park?

Read the full article here.

6. Citizen Science Approach To Green Lung Preservation, Biodiversity of Conservation of Bukit Kiara Gets UN Nod

In our last article of the series published in Aug 2021, we shared the importance of getting community involved in protecting green spaces and the biodiversity that comes with it. It shares how FoBK was awarded the United Nations Development Programme Global Environment Facility Small Grants for a Citizen Science project named ‘Magical Mysteries at Bukit Kiara’.

City green lungs can also serve as stopover sites where migrating birds can rest and refuel. Bukit Kiara is no exception.

Read the full article here.

Become a Friend of Bukit Kiara

What is really needed is more people joining and helping to make a difference.

For just RM60, you can help protect our beloved green lung. We are stronger together, and hope to have you onboard. Sign up at http://bit.ly/JoinUsFoBK

This post will be updated with future links when the rest of the articles are published.

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Bukit Kiara In the News: Jan 2021

2020 was the year that kept the world figuratively and literally grounded. As movement was curtailed, it drew attention to public’s need for green spaces and the increasing urgency to protect them. Here is a recap of coverage of Bukit Kiara:

The Therapeutic Nature of Kiara Hill Walk

Benedict Lopez wrote a brief introduction to the beloved Kiara Hill Walk of Bukit Kiara in The Star, comparing it to a form of therapy where one can be in harmony with nature.

“Cool fresh air pervades the environment with the absence of vehicles emitting greenhouse gases and this pollution-free atmosphere is immediately felt as you commence the walk from the guardhouse.

How I wish many parts of Kuala Lumpur can be like Bukit Kiara –- in harmony with nature.”

Flip-Flop Decisions Over Bukit Kiara Opening

With the uncertainty of rules and SOPs surrounding the new normal, there was much discussion about the inconsistent standards of public park openings. Brain Martin in an op-ed in The Star, lamented how that had caused public confusion and frustration.

“Unlike every other park in Kuala Lumpur (there are 14), Bukit Kiara is managed by the National Landscape Department, so City Hall’s decision to open public parks does not apply here.

I find this confusing and perplexing. Either all parks are open or all parks should be shut. It does not make sense to have different rulings just because different government agencies manage the parks.”

The Complexities of Tree Planting in Bukit Kiara

Dr Pola Singh, previous President of FoBK, shared his views of the government’s ambitious 100 million tree-planting project in TwentyTwo13 in the context of Bukit Kiara’s previous experience with a similar project.

“In 2009, a similar project was launched in Bukit Kiara involving the planting of 100,000 saplings.

At RM60 per tree, individuals and the private sector (including government-linked companies) were invited to plant trees and donors’ names would be inscribed.

The response was overwhelming. VVIPs from the corporate sector gave their full support.

Even our then Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin and Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were invited to plant a few trees.


More than 12 years have passed and I dare say that none of the 100,000 trees survived.”

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Cancellation of #EarthDayKL2020 Events

[16 Mar 2020 – We regret to inform that in light of the circumstances in Malaysia related to the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, we will be cancelling this and all other Earth Day KL 2020 events that were slated in March. This postponement is to ensure safety of all and we really appreciate your kind understanding on this. We truly appreciate your interest in this activity and will keep you posted about developments in this regard. Stay safe and clean, everyone!]

We are excited about the up-coming Earth Day KL 2020 event on 19th Apr 2020 and the pre-events in the run up to the day. It’s a healthy, outdoor activity which we hope both kids and adults will enjoy. We plan to keep the group small of no more than 30 people. We will also be conducting temperature checks and have sanitizers on hand.

Bearing in mind the health and travel advisories which have been issued by Ministry of Health and WHO on Covid-19, we would like to ensure the following for those participating:
i) You have not travelled or transited in high risk countries in the last 14 days, which include China, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Iran and Denmark,
ii) You are fit and well with no fever, cold or flu-like symptoms,
iii) You have not been in any direct contact with any patients.

If you have ANY of the above, we kindly ask you to delay participation and join us later in future events. While we cannot guarantee there is no risk, Friends of Bukit Kiara have been monitoring the evolving situation closely, and want this to be an enjoyable experience for all. As in all activities organized by Friends of Bukit Kiara, we take due measures in the organization of all our activities to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Please sign up for all events at http://bit.ly/EarthDayKL202

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From Glow Worms to Fireflies: The Magical Mysteries Of Bukit Kiara

More than 280 people including 9 Firefly Ambassadors attended a firefly talk and walk in the neighbourhood of Taman Tun Dr Ismail last Saturday on 15th February 2020.  This event was organized by Friends of Bukit Kiara (FoBK) as a run-up activity to the Earth Day KL 2020, which will be held on Sunday, 19th April 2020.   This year marks the 50th year to observe Earth Day globally, with the theme Climate Action.

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Mr Sonny Wong of Malaysian Nature Society speaks to a riveted crowd

People from all walks of life, including children and elderly, came to the talk held at Menara Ken to learn more about fireflies, their habitats and vulnerabilities to changes in the ecosystem due to development and climate change.  Mr Sonny Wong, Honorary Secretary of the Fireflies International Network, co-chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) a Firefly Specialist Group and firefly conservation program manager of the Malaysian Nature Society, spoke of the international interest in fireflies and support for the conservation of their habitats.

Special guest speaker Dr Wan F. A. Jusoh, Research Fellow at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, National University of Singapore, shared her research and study findings which was commissioned by FoBK.  She and her research team have identified at least three genera of fireflies in Bukit Kiara to-date and related the significant difficulty in identifying the fireflies to species level in the absence of taxonomic studies. She highlighted the need for more research and collaboration with different institutions including undertaking a full taxonomy study in the future when funds are available.

“Watching the awe and wonder in the participants’ eyes when they discovered that they have glow worms and fireflies in their backyard – it reminds me why I research them” said the Terengganu-born Dr Wan Jusoh.

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The attendees proceeded to Taman Persekutuan Lembah Kiara for a night walk to observe the fireflies.  The Firefly Ambassadors guided the participants who shared dos and don’ts to be observed during the walk.

“We are very encouraged to see such an overwhelming response to the firefly talk and walk.  It further demonstrates why it is so vital to protect Bukit Kiara as a green lung for future generations”, said Ir Dr Kriban G N, President of FoBK.  He hoped there would be public support for FoBK to conduct more field research on the fireflies in Bukit Kiara.

Also present were Pn Mariam from Jabatan Landskap Negara, Federal Territories Ministry, and her team who participated in the talk and walk.

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#EDKL2020 Pre-event: Young River Scientist

13 Mar 2020 – We regret to inform that Young River Scientist programme planned for this Saturday (14 March 2020) has to be postponed to later due to the Covid-19 outbreak. This postponement is to ensure safety of all and we really appreciate your kind understanding on this. We truly appreciate your interest in this activity and will keep you posted about developments in this regard.

Children explore fun river-related activities. And learn the importance of keeping our rivers clean as an indispensable and sustainable source of our drinking water and for other benefits.

Meet at the stream opposite the park’s playground.

This event is free. But donations to FoBK is appreciated.

Timing: 8.30-11am

Sign up now at https://bit.ly/EarthDayKL2020

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TRAKS – Trails Association Of Kuala Lumpur & Selangor

We’ll be sprucing up Magic Carpet on Saturday, June 15. Those interested are invited to come along. Bring your tools ie. parang, changkul and folding saw. Another chainsaw would definitely be a plus, as there are two trees that have fallen on top of each other. As they say: Many chainsaws make muchos sawdust!

Meet at the first guardhouse at 0900, we’ll skip and hop our way up the tarmac, turning right after the water reservoir, clearing up any mess we find along the way.

We’re planning to work for at least two hours and for those who will be joining us for the first time, please ensure you’re well hydrated while sweating it out on the trails (you can get some coconut water on your way in, should you forget to bring a water bottle)

We hope to see the old hands and some new faces on Saturday. Let’s show the trails some love!

#SaveBukitKiara