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The Forestry Department has kicked off a partnership with the Ministry of National Security to plant trees at correctional facilities across the island. 

The tree planting thrust began with the planting of 76 trees at the Tamarind Farm Correctional Centre and Rio Cobre Juvenile Correctional Centre in St. Catherine on Friday, March 19 in observance of International Day of Forests (IDF). 

IDF, which is observed annually on March 21, is this year being commemorated under the theme "Forest Restoration: A Pathway to Recovery and Well-being".  

CEO & Conservator of Forests, Mr. Ainsley A. Henry says the Agency is happy to support the National Security Ministry as it seeks to improve the well-being of inmates and workers at the correctional facilities. “This effort ties in well with the theme for IDF as numerous studies have shown that spending time around and looking at trees, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and improves mood [through the reduction of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline]. The Agency is therefore happy to support the Ministry of National Security in the planting of trees within correctional institutions across the island”, Mr. Henry said.

The Agency, through Food for the Poor, will also be providing the Rio Cobre Correctional Centre with fruit tree seedlings for its orchard as well as few to add to diversify the trees being planted at Tamarind Farm.

“Another way that trees contribute to our well-being is through the food and medicine that they provide so when we got the request for the fruit tree seedlings, we were more than happy to make it happen and we’re grateful to Food for the Poor for their support in this effort and also their commitment under the National Tree Planting Initiative”, Mr. Henry said.

Meanwhile, the Conservator of Forests says the Agency remains true to its mandate of managing and conserving the forest resources of Jamaica for the benefit of present and future generations.

He says all the programmes of the Agency are geared towards restoring and conserving forests as well as increasing knowledge of their importance and advocating for the sustainable use of the resources.

“One of the reasons I am passionate about the National Tree Planting Initiative (NTPI) is that it not only supports the reforestation work of the Agency but it gives everyone the opportunity to play their part in greening our rural areas and cities. We love the responses we have been getting especially with the launch of the #MyTreeLegacy promotion and encourage those who have not yet started planting trees to contact us and get involved", Mr. Henry said.

All the trees planted at the various correctional institutions will count towards the NTPI. For more information and to get involved in the programme, persons may contact the Forestry Department at (876) 618-3205, or message us on social media.

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