As National Arbour Day approaches, the Ministry of Environment and National Beautification has launched an island-wide tree planting competition that will see the first-place winner winning $7,000.
During a media briefing at the National Botanical Gardens on Tuesday, Environment Minister Adrian Forde and officials of the Botanical Gardens and the National Conservation Commission (NCC), revealed this year’s plans for September 22, which also will include a virtual arbour tour, virtual scavenger hunt, webinars, and other activities.
Coordinator for the National Tree Planting Programme, Adaeme Gill, told reporters that despite the COVID environment, the ministry has been seeking several ways to keep the public invested in their year’s celebrations, with the tree planting competition being seen as one such interactive way to get people involved in the activities, even at a distance.
Gill said: “We were looking at interactive ways to get the public involved, and in light of COVID, we decided that a competition was one of the best ways to move forward. The competition has a $10,000 cash prize, and this cash prize will be split into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. First place will be $7,000, 2nd place will be $2,000 and 3rd place will be $1,000.
“The competition will run through a web application where the public will be able to take a picture of them planting their tree, and upload it to our tree planting website. We will launch the website on Friday via GIS (Government Information Service), and also via the Clean and Green Facebook page.”
Carlos Gilkes, an NCC technical officer, also revealed that the island’s Parish Ambassadors will take part in the Arbour Day celebrations along with the NCC who will be having a sale at its Codrington garden shop.
He said: “We have one item, ‘Bim Going Green’, and this medium is to engage the Parish Ambassadors, and this will also solicit the islandwide tree planting exercise, earmarking 24 locations in each parish for tree planting. The 24 is indeed significant as it is the 24th year of celebrations… we at the NCC are also using the 24 [with our] 24 per cent discount sale. The first customers patronizing the garden shop will get a free gift.”
Minister Forde stressed that the programme to plant a million trees nationwide continues to be important, with fellow lawmakers also being invited to plant trees of their own for Arbour Day.
He said: “[Members] who occupy both the Upper and Lower House will be involved in this whole tree planting exercise next week, because we want to lead from the front. We understand the importance of having that green space, we understand the importance of doing every single thing that we need to do to make sure we are able to sequester that harmful carbon dioxide.” (SB)