JIS News

The Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture will host a series of exhibitions from March 30 to May 4, aimed at increasing environmental awareness by focusing on the importance of trees.
Visitors will also be encouraged to participate in the department’s private tree planting programme as a means of increasing and protecting the island’s forest cover.
This programme, which began in 1998, provides technical advice and makes available a variety of seedlings to private landowners, companies and schools, free of cost.
Seedlings handed out are of the mahoe, Jamaican mahogany, Spanish elm, cedar and Caribbean pine varieties.
In an interview with JIS News, Maxine Hinds, the Forestry Department’s information and public awareness officer said: “This series is very important to the work of the department as it seeks to educate Jamaicans about the need to conserve trees, which are critical to protecting our watersheds, preventing soil erosion and for beautification or aesthetics”.
The exhibitions will also highlight areas of collaboration and co-management between the department and environment-related agencies.
For example, extension officers of the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) assist participants in the private planting programme by giving advice on tree varieties that are best grown in particular areas.
The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT) and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) co-manage the national parks with the department. The Department also assists the Scientific Research Council (SRC) to judge and mark essays and posters in the Council’s annual environmental awareness competition.
Other exhibitors will be the National Water Commission (NWC), which will highlight the importance of trees in maintaining adequate water supplies.
There will be an informative Geographic Information Systems (GIS) exhibit, showing how the department uses this technology to produce maps of the island’s topography.
The exhibition will also feature a nursery showing proper potting and composting techniques.Members of the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF), who have been trained in spotting environmental infractions, would be on hand to remind the public that offences such as illegal harvesting of lumber were punishable by law, Miss Hinds told JIS News.
The conservation efforts of bauxite interests, who have agreed with the Forestry Department to re-plant mined out bauxite lands, will be represented by Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica (JAMALCo), which will mount a display on these efforts.
Exhibitors will make presentations and provide informative brochures on their areas of specialization.
The first exhibition will take place on Tuesday, March 30, at the Department’s offices at 173 Constant Spring Road. The second will be held at the JAMALCo sports complex in Clarendon on Thursday, April 22.
The third is on Thursday, April 29 in Morant Bay at the Anglican Church Hall, while the final one will be on Tuesday, May 4 at the Cecil Charlton Hall in Mandeville. All the exhibitions will open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Miss Hinds told JIS News that she was anticipating a high level of turnout from primary and secondary schools islandwide.

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