The importance of trees and their impact on the environment will be the focus on Arbor Day, which will be observed on Saturday, September 22, under the theme: Trees: The Circle of Life.
General Manager of the National Conservation Commission, Keith Neblett, said that Arbor Day will be used to remember the September 22 passage of Hurricane Janet 57 years ago, which resulted in a loss of life and the near island-wide destruction of trees.
“This simple act in itself serves as a reminder to all of us of the need to replenish the dwindling tree stock on the island. National Arbor Day – a day dedicated to the planting of trees – should no doubt serve as a catalyst to all Barbadians to protect our island and by extension the environment in which we live, work and play,” he said.
He stressed that trees played a very significant role in our lives, noting that the Commission had embarked on a project in collaboration with the Organisation of American States to plant 80,000 trees over a five-year period. To date, 30,000 of the trees have been planted across the island.
This year, there will be a week of activities leading up to Arbor Day, which started yesterday with a church service at the New Dimensions Ministries, in Barbarees Hill, St. Michael.
Today there was a plant propagation workshop at the Blackman-Gollop Primary School, Staple Grove, Christ Church and it will be followed by another tomorrow, September 18, at the St. Luke’s Brighton Primary, Brighton, St. George, at 10:45 a.m.
There will also be a community tree planting exercise on Wednesday, September 19, at Bath Beach in St. John from 9 a.m. This activity is designed to highlight the importance of community participation in achieving a more sustainable standard of living. It is expected to attract community groups, service clubs and church groups, and will see the planting of 50 fruit trees at Bath Beach.
Activities leading up to Arbor Day will climax on September 22, when the day is recognised internationally. To mark this occasion, the NCC will be hosting its annual Arbor Day Expo at its Codrington, St. Michael headquarters and this will start with an official opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. The actual expo will get under way from 10 a.m. and run until 6 p.m.
Neblett said this year’s Expo was expected to attract 35 exhibitors including Earth Mother Botanicals, the Soil Conservation Unit, the Solid Waste Project Unit and Caves of Barbados.
It will also feature several tours that will showcase the water harvesting project and the utilisation of photovoltaic technology to power the security lighting around the compound at Codrington, St. Michael.
Additional tours will be conducted to draw attention to other projects and departments at the NCC, including the Nursery, the Building and Works Department and the redevelopment of the north wall park.
A number of environmental films on Climate Change and Tourism, Living Shore Lines, Islands on the Edge and The Solar House will be shown throughout the day, using equipment powered by solar panels.
The general manager further noted that there would be workshops and demonstrations throughout the day focussing on areas related to greening, including plant care, recycling, composting and alternative energy solutions.