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A new generation of environmental stewards were rewarded under the National School Tree Planting Competition (NSTP), for demonstrating innovation, civic pride, commitment to sustainability, and appreciation for the benefits of trees to the environment and community.


The top three schools in the primary and secondary levels as well as the top school in the Early Childhood Institution and Tertiary student categories were presented with their cash prizes during a prize-giving tour from May 2-5, 2023. 


“I am pleased that our students were eager participants and persevered despite extremely difficult challenges to contribute to the NTPI, better their communities and in so doing have cultivated a culture of environmental stewardship among themselves and their peers,” Mr. Ainsley Henry, CEO& Conservator of Forests said. He congratulated the winners and encouraged all schools to maintain and plant more trees once the conditions became more favourable. 


The first-place schools at all levels received cash prizes of $300,000 each. The winners were Snowden Infant School in Manchester (Early Childhood), Prospect Primary in St. Thomas, York Castle High in St. Ann (secondary level) and Kadeisha Cooper, a University of Technology Student in St. Andrew that won at the Tertiary level. The second place winners were Mona Preparatory (primary) and Lister Mair Gibly School for the Deaf (secondary) in St. Andrew while third place went to Bath Primary and Junior High in St. Thomas (Primary) and Glenmuir High in Clarendon. 


Sectional prizes for most outstanding student, most outstanding teacher and most innovative schools for the primary and secondary categories were also awarded. Both York Castle High and Prospect P Primary won $100,000 each for most innovative schools their respective categories. The most outstanding student and teacher awardees each received sectional prizes of $50,000, which went to Nesline V. Lawrence and Nakeel Phipps from Prospect Primary and Shennel Haye-Stephens and Tyrique Clarke from York Castle High School. 


The competition, launched in September 2022, was among activities introduced by the Forestry Department to support the achievement of the three million trees under the National Tree Planting Initiative (NTPI) in 2021/2022. The schools or students who propagated and planted the most fruit and ornamental trees won. All schools which signed up for the competition received 50 seedlings from the Forestry Department to kick-off their planting efforts. In addition to the Forestry Department, the generous cash prizes were sponsored by the JPS Foundation, Fraser Fontaine & Kong Limited, Barita Foundation, Xsomo International and VM Wealth Management.


The tree planting competition was opened to early childhood, primary and secondary schools, and tertiary students. Eighty-eight schools registered — eight at the early childhood level, forty-one at the primary level, thirty-five at the secondary level and eight tertiary students. Together, the schools planted one thousand five hundred and thirty-eight trees (1,538) with a survival rate of approximately 76%. The school's competition was launched in September 2022 and ended on February 28, 2023. 

 Photo caption: Students and teachers of the Lister Mair Gilby High School for the Deaf, second-place winner, Secondary Category, in the National School Tree Planting Competition, are joined by Sophia Lewis, Head of the JPS Foundation (centre) and Alexander Beckford, Projects Officer, Forestry Department in observing one of sixty-eight tree seedlings planted at the school.

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