The Forestry Department has been embarking on a programme of reforestation, and during this time of Labour Day activities, the Department is stretching out a helping hand to as many projects as possible.
Client Services Forrester at the Forestry Department, Nicola Hutchinson-Scott, told JIS News that the department is on a mission to “increase forest cover over Jamaica by two per cent over the next 10 years.”
Mrs. Hutchinson- Scott is encouraging persons and organizations that are interested in reforestation to get in touch with them.
“We do give out trees to interested groups free or cost. We normally do this, especially during this time of year,” she said.
“We normally travel with various types of trees and then choose some out of the lot. We sometimes do a reconnaissance and make the determination of what species do well in the selected areas, based on the climate, soil types and land spaces, because we do not want the trees growing too close to walls and buildings,” she added.
Since May 17, Mrs. Hutchinson-Scott has been assisting the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) in their Tree Planting initiative in schools across the parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew and St. Catherine. This activity culminates at the end of May.
The initiative sees the JIS going into selected schools as a part of their Child Month activities, while the Forestry Department plays a helpful role by donating seedlings which they plant, along with the students, teachers and JIS team, on selected areas of the school compound.
Padmore Primary School, located in rural St. Andrew, was the second school to benefit from this initiative in the past week, and Mrs. Hutchinson-Scott addressed the students about the importance of planting trees.
“Trees are important because they help us. We need the trees for oxygen and they need us for carbon dioxide. They provide us with oxygen, shelter, shade, food and leisure,” she said.
Radio Writer/ Producer/ Presenter at the JIS, and manager of the Tree Planting Initiative, Ruthann Kerr, was eager to get students involved in the Child Month activity that would give them a chance to start making a mark, and being a part of the future of Jamaica.
“We wanted to get children incorporated into activities that will benefit them in the future. May is Child Month and we didn’t want to do the ordinary features with just one or two views from children. We decided to get them involved in the climate change activities currently taking place, and thus getting them involved in the future that they will be a part of,” he said.
Principal of the school for the past two years, Keisha Hayles, is excited about the project.
“Trees are very important to Padmore Primary. If you look around you can see that we have some trees, but we need more. The air is fresh because of the trees around and so we are very interested in this project,” she told JIS News.
Contact: Christine Ade-Gold