The Forestry Department has partnered with several organizations across the island to plant more than 2000 trees in observance of Earth Day 2016 on Friday, April 22, 2016. The tree planting activities were in keeping with this year’s theme, “Trees for Earth”.
These tree planting activities which involved several companies, schools and non-government organizations, started as early as Tuesday and will continue until Saturday following Earth Day. The trees, all provided by the Forestry Department, were planted at various schools, churches and forest estates.
Ms. Marilyn Headley, CEO & Conservator of Forests, says the Agency is pleased with the interest among the various groups in planting trees as it serves to improve our environment. “As our planet adapts to and seeks to mitigate the impact of climate change, trees and by extension our forests, are recognized as powerful tools in minimizing the effects. In addition trees provide a myriad of benefits including clean air, food, clean water, medicine and many other commodities which we depend on daily. Therefore we are happy that more and more persons are recognizing these and other values and playing their part to improve the environment,” she said.
The tree planting activities will continue into tomorrow (Saturday, April 22) with the Jamaica Money Market Broker Limited (JMMB) volunteers planting more than 400 trees in Bridgeport and Passage Fort in Portmore, St. Catherine and also in southern communities in Clarendon. These tree planting activities forms part of the company’s promotion encouraging Jamaicans to plant 5000 trees for Earth Day over the past two weeks.
The Old Harbour Bay Youth Coalition Club is one of organizations that is seeking to improve the environmental resources in the coastal community of Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine by planting tree seedlings at the Prophesy Basic School this Earth Day. Youth Mentor of the Club, Hilary Smith, says the club is extremely thankful for the support received from the Agency which will strengthen their climate change community action efforts.
Meanwhile, the Agency has also partnered with the Sandals Foundation to plant 900 seedlings in three forest estates in Western Jamaica. Director of Programmes at Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, said the Foundation is extremely proud to partner with the Forestry Department and other environmental organizations throughout the Caribbean. “While Earth Day is a special celebration of the planet and its importance to our lives, we would like consider every day as an Earth Day. This year we are aiming at planting 1500 trees in the Caribbean with the help of our partners and volunteers and we hope others will be inspired to join us in protecting our trees and forests `because they are a precious resource that we rely on every day,” she said.
Another one of the partners that sought to make their mark while promoting national development is the Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat, which engaged members and students of the St. Boniface Anglican Church and Basic school and the adjoining Donald Quarry High school to plant 100 trees on the property in Harbour View, St. Andrew. Other companies with whom Forestry Department partnered are San Souci Hotel who planted two hundred (200) trees in the Bogue Forest Estate in St. Ann; and the Peace Corp Volunteers who participated in a tree planting and public education session at the Easington Primary School in St. Thomas.
Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated globally on April 22 and encourages the activities that demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970 and is commemorated in more than 193 countries each year.