Fifteen members of the Juvenile Liaison Scheme recently joined an initiative to plant between 5 000 to 10 000 trees along the popular multi-purpose Barbados Trailway Project.
According to Sergeant Kim Harris, who is attached to the scheme, beyond the 30 trees placed in the earth, the aim is to have positive values take root.
“If we can get our children to respect their environment, they can see it as a tool to respect themselves and others. I mean, this is a worthwhile contribution. It gives them the opportunity to do something as a team – team building, character building – and to be able to coexist while enhancing the environment as well,” she said.
The teens were invited to play their part by friend of the scheme and Director of the Future Centre Trust, Kammie Holder and lead volunteer for the Barbados Trailway Project, Ralf Luther.
Harris stressed the importance of such programmes, particularly in helping young people stay on the right track.
“So, it’s all about building the young person, developing that person’s ability for growth, and building their capacity to show you can go beyond, you can do whatever you set your sights on. It’s a lot of goal attainment, a lot of team building because we find sometimes for young people it is difficult to interact,” he said.
Luther was happy to have the youngsters on board, noting that some 1 000 trees have so far been planted along the trail which is open to locals and visitors for walking, hiking, running, cycling, walking dogs and even skating.
The trail runs across the country, starting in Bridgetown, through the St George Valley, St Philip, Consett Bay in St John, the East Coast – Bathsheba, Cattlewash, all the way to Belleplaine, St Andrew.
And there are plans for further expansion.
“We’re hoping to get the section from Bridgetown to Consett Bay into a state where it can be used year-round,” Luther explained.
“Right now, the challenge is with a lot of the cart roads. We are technically open to the public during the rainy season but it is very difficult to hike, run or cycle through them. We are now focusing on completing the Diamond stretch in the St George Valley. We recently erected the second shelter at Carmichael Road and we’re hoping to complete those 2.5 kilometres by the end of this year.”
Luther added that planting the trees has a number of benefits, including shade, and providing food.