Winners of Schools’ Poetry Competition receive awards

Marilyn Headley, CEO & Conservator of Forests (right) presents Roxanne Branford from Bellefield High School with the first place award at the  awards ceremony held at Devon House on Friday, March 21.

Roxanne Brandford, a ninth grade student of Bellefield High School in Manchester won the Forestry Department/ JaREEACH Schools’ Poetry Competition with her entry titled, “Forestry”. 

Brandford received the top prize of a laptop computer sponsored by the Jamaica Rural Economy & Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (JaREEACH) project during the prize-giving ceremony held at the Devon House on Friday, March 21 which was observed as International Day of Forests.  

Second place went to Mikayla Goss of Westwood High School for her poem titled, “Wondrous Jamaican Forest” and Ashleigh Sanderson of Hampton High School placed third, rounding out the top three winners. 

The competition which was held  January 27 until February 28, 2014, saw thirty-six (36) students from ten parishes across the island competing for a laptop, two tablet computers and a three-in-one printer along with trophies and certificates. Students were required to research and pen poems to reflect their views on the theme, ‘Forestry in Jamaica’. Poems were to be no longer than twenty-five lines in length, with the competition being open to all students between 13 and 16 years of age.

The Forestry Department collaborated with the Jamaica Rural Economy & Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change (Ja REEACH) Project, funded by USAID & implemented by ACDI/VOCA in executing the competition. As a result of this partnership two additional categorical prizes were awarded. A regional prize for the parishes of St. Ann and Clarendon in which a JaREEACH reforestation initiative is being implemented by the Forestry Department was presented and also a special Category prize for a poem reflecting on the relationship between forest and climate change.

Fourteen year old Saqlain Campbell of Clarendon College won the Regional Award with his poem entitled “Walking through the Jamaican Forest”. Ashleigh Sanderson of Hampton also won the JaREEACH Special Category prize for her poem titled “Life of a Tree” which reflected on the relationship between forests and climate change. 

Poems were judged on interpretation of the theme; accuracy of facts about Jamaica’s forests, overall impact of the poem to etch itself into your memory, beauty entertainment and organization.

The school competition was initiated as part of the Public Education Programme of the  Forestry Department to raise awareness about forests in Jamaica and their importance among our students.