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The significant development work taking place in the local forest sector and the individuals guiding it were celebrated by the Forestry Department (FD) on December 9, 2022 at the third Forest Heroes Awards Banquet at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.

Senator the Honourable Matthew Samuda, Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation lauded “the great and inspiring work and contributions through time, efforts and accomplishments of community leaders, business enterprises, corporate entities, tree planters and youth for their achievements,” while speaking at the  Banquet. 

Noting that the Awards Banquet was the final event of the inaugural two-day National Forestry Conference hosted by the Forestry Department in association with the European Union, Minister Samuda said “these awards not only acknowledge that good work is being done but that it is appreciated.”

Mr. Ainsley Henry, CEO and Conservator of Forest, concurred noting that “the theme of the conference ‘Forestry as a Business’, as articulated and demonstrated by presenters, participants and exhibitors, prove that critical growth is taking place in the sector and the Forestry Department is proud to be both facilitator and actor”. 

Among the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Banquet were: 

·         Mr. Lorrel Smith – Chair of the Dallas Castle Local Forest Management Committee 

·         Ms. Sharon McLean- Chair of the Northern Rio Minho Local Forest Management Committee

·         Mr. Phillip Thompson- Project Manager for the Buff Bay Local Forest Management Committee

·         Mr. Herbert Foster- Chair of the South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee

·         Ms. Marilyn Headley- Former CEO and Conservator of Forests.

The “Forest Champion Award” was won by Dr. Parvataneni Satyanarayana for exceptional contributions to the National Tree Planting Initiative through trees planted. At the same time, Bartley’s All In Wood captured the “Forestry Business Leader Award” for exceptional performance as a forest-based business.

Several Non-Governmental Organizations were also honoured, including the Trees that Feed Foundation, which was recognised as a Forest Hero in the NGO Category; the South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee, which was recognised as a forest hero in the LFMC category; and Private Forestry, Mr. Ricky Jackson.

The Jamaica Public Service Company was awarded the forest hero award in the corporate category, Mrs Petre Williams-Raynor in the Media and Public Education category and Ms Jamila Falak James received the Youth in Forestry Award.

Certificates of Recognition were awarded to Food for the Poor, Jamaica and the Hon. Robert Morgan, MP, for outstanding contributions to the forest sector. 

The Forest Heroes Award recognises individuals and organisations for outstanding contributions to the development of the forest sector in Jamaica and support for achieving the Forestry Department’s (FD) mandate. The awards were first held in 2013 when the Agency celebrated its 75th anniversary, it was again held in 2018 when the Agency celebrated its 80th anniversary.  This third staging is among activities to celebrate the Agency’s 85th anniversary.

Photo caption: Awardees and various representative pose for a photo following the staging of the Forest Heroes Awards in December 2022. Front row From left: Jerome Smith, Principal Director, Forest Operations, is with Forest Heroes awardees, Marilyn Headley, Herbert Foster and Sharon McLean (Lifetime Achievement awardees) Arlette Fullerton, Vice President of the South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee (LFMC), which received the Forest hero award for LFMC, Lacey-Ann Bartley, Forestry Business leader awardee and Nakhle Hado, Director of Agriculture and Fisheries, who accepted a Certificate of Recognition for Food for the Poor.

 Back row from left: Soren Dalsgaard , Senior Forest Economist & Team Leader at NIRAS International Consulting, Andre Fache, Programme Officer at the Delegation of the European Union to Jamaica, Belize, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and the Cayman Islands, Francine Black Richards, Senior Director, Corporate Communications and Marketing at the Forestry Department and Mr Ainsley Henry, CEO & Conservator of Forests 

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