Thursday, 15 October 2020

Volunteering at Free Tree Society (Bangsar Nursery)

*Note: This blog post is based on my experience volunteering in Mid July 2020
I had the opportunity to Volunteer with Free Tree Society (FTS), Bangsar Nursery, back in July 2020, and I have to say it was a pleasant experience! Besides getting some hands-on plant care/gardening experience, we were taught about climate change and what we can do to play our part to prevent it.

What is Free Tree Society (FTS)? 

Established in 2013, Free Tree Society Kuala Lumpur is an environmental organisation that spreads the environmental stewardship message by giving away trees for free to green our Earth. 

They have a nursery in Bangsar and also a station at Taman Tugu, KL! You can read more about them here on their website!

How do I Volunteer with FTS? 

You are required to book a slot by sending an email to FTS. FTS offers various volunteering experiences, which you can refer to here on their website. 

I selected the Bangsar Nursery Volunteering program, which is available on Tuesday and Saturday mornings only. 

Every volunteer gets to bring home one plant of their choice after volunteering! I took home this white ghost cactus! Public volunteering sessions are free, however, companies or corporations booking for more than 10 volunteers in a session will be asked to donate a minimal fee.

Note that their volunteering program is limited to strictly 10 people and the slots get booked up fast, so do book your desired slot in advance! 

What do Volunteers do at Bangsar Nursery?

1. Tour of the Nursery

We started off the day at 9am sharp with a tour around the Bangsar Nursery. The nursery occupies just a corner lot amidst the residential area of Jalan Limau Purut, just right next to Federal Hill.
We were told of various way to greenify our space, even if we have a small compound.
There were random broken pots, painted over with bright cheery colour, displaced all over the garden. These function as an animal hiding/resting spot!

The toilets at the nursery run on a rainwater harvesting system.

Do you know that 97% of the Earth's water supply is seawater? That means only 3% of the world's water supply is fresh, consumable water. Will we run out of fresh water supply one day? 

Somehow rainwater harvesting feels like it is not too popular here in Malaysia, probably (my assumptions) due to the fact that our water bill is still somewhat affordable. I do hope that more places would start to adapt the rainwater harvesting system since rain is aplenty here in Malaysia. 

There is a small water feature at the nursery - which is an ecosystem on its own. There are aquatic plants and animals in it and are self-sustaining. On free tree giveaway days, visitor can even bring home an aquatic plant/animals! 
We were also taught about the basics of composting. I finally know why the compost at my home smells...absolutely atrocious. 

Compose should have a 30:1 Carbon to Nitrogen ratio. Food waste like skin of fruits and excess vegetables contributes Nitrogen, whereas newspaper, egg shells, coal etc are what contributes Carbon.

If you have a low Carbon to Nitrogen ratio (eg: your compost mostly consist of food waste), that's when your compost will smell horrid. To "neutralise" the smell, you have got to add in more Carbon compound (eg: newspaper and egg shells!)

Random bunches of old pencils/bamboo stick bunched up together and tied on tree you know what are these for?

They are animal resting spots!

3. Brief Climate Change Talk

And we were taught about some basic fact of climate change. 

3. Hands-On Activities

The hands-on activities differs according to the need of the nursery during your volunteering slot. During my visit, there were many aloe plants that are in need of repotting and change of fresh soil due to the constant rain, that caused the soil holding the aloe to be heavily waterlogged
We were taught how to make our own potting mix. The brown grain thingy in the green bucket are rice husks, which act as aeration for the soil!
And were taught how to properly handle plants and repot them!

Halfway through we got really distracted by this cute (but poisonous!) caterpillar. 

Other than repotting, we had the opportunity to learn how to propagate some mulberry plants too! Just to note again that everyone's volunteering experience differs according to the need of the nursery at that time :) But you'll definitely get a lot of valuable hands-on experience with plant care!


FTS have a little corner selling gardening stuff such as potting soil, gardening accessories and fertilsier 

Which as you can see, have really cheeky names.


I'd definitely recommend anyone who would want to start gardening or learn more about plant care to join this volunteering program. I found it highly educational and fun too! And a huge bonus of being able to bring home a free plant so that you can kick-start your gardening journey. The staffs were really friendly and helpful, as they provided really helpful tips and recommendation on what plants you can bring home based on the care level you think you'd be able to give for your plants, and the location (eg: indoors/outdoors and light level) your place has. 

Do follow their Instagram or Facebook page if you're interested to learn more about them. FTS often hosts free trees giveaway too so do keep an eye on them through their social media page! 

Free Tree Society
Instagram: @fts_malaysia


  1. Hi Jia Qi! Such an amazing experience volunteering with FTS. May I know how many days in advance did you booked the volunteering slot? I need to plan a Treeplanting program for student society next year and this FTS activity sounds great!

  2. Hey there! :) I booked almost one month in advance. Their Saturday session tends to get fill up fast. Hope this helps!

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