The Minister of Environment and National Beautification has been tasked with ensuring there are 600,000 trees planted on the 254 acres of land at the National Botanical Gardens located in Waterford, St Michael in time for the We Gathering celebrations in 2020.
Minister responsible for the Environment Trevor Prescod made the announcement as he gave his feature address for World Arbour Day celebrated worldwide on September 21.
“As I told you there are 254 acres. We are going to plant a lot of trees here in 2020. The Prime Minister instructed me up till yesterday to give instructions to the [National Conservation Commission] and plant nurseries to be in a position by 2020 to produce 600,000 trees. I do not believe that is beyond us. By that time, the population should be close to 300,000 and if we produce two trees on average a person we will get there,” he said.
At the National Arbour Day celebrations, the Timothy Hoyte Award was presented to Arthur Nuzim Maynard who was a stellar employee of the Soil Conservation Unit for 33 years. Senior Technical Officer of the National Botanical Gardens Nigel Jones described the retiree as a master in his field having taught Jones many of the names of plants.
“In 1980, I was one of his students when I was pursuing a diploma in agriculture and had a job attachment at the Soil Commission Unit. Twenty years later, I was his student once again. At this time, I was doing a master’s degree in biodiversity and during that research project Nuzim taught me the names of every tree and shrub in Graeme Hall and Joe’s River,” Jones said.
Jones added that Nuzim, as he is affectionately called, is completely self-taught, but his knowledge of shrubs and herbs is so impressive that lecturers have used his knowledge in academia at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
When asked to give a few words, a soft-spoken Nuzim said he would continue to teach students the names of shrubs, trees, and herbs so the agricultural landscape of Barbados would live on.
“I will continue to send some knowledge to all who feel like listening and try to get [some of you] away from the medication that the doctor poisoning [wunna] with. I am 72 years old, and I have never been to the doctor,” he said.
His assertion about not going to the doctor was further explained by Jones who said in Nuzim’s community they consider him a ‘healer’ as many of his plant-based medicines have healed when traditional western medicines have failed.
“In his community, there were many people who were attending doctors year after year and receiving all of the contemporary medicines with no results and the ‘healer’, as they call him, they resorted to him and they started seeing results,” he said.
Also celebrating World Arbour Day were members of the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown who planted 45 trees in commemoration of the 45th anniversary of Kiwanis being established in Barbados. Former past president of the club Cyril Burke says it is good for the environment.
“We planted fruit trees. We thought that would be the best thing. We just plant trees to help protect the environment,” he said.
Students from Warrens Primary and Preschool planted a golden-apple tree while students from The Grantley Prescod Memorial School, Belmont Primary School, Springer Memorial, Lawrence T. Gay Memorial and other primary and secondary schools and religious groups planted 150 trees. (LG)