Primary and secondary school students across the island are continuing to learn more about plant propagation, as the National Conservation Commission’s (NCC) ‘Capacity Building for Youth in Sustainable Land Management’ initiative continues in earnest.
According to the NCC’s Technical Officer, Ryan Brathwaite, the planting phase of the four-year project is ongoing in keeping with the overall goal of propagating and planting approximately 80,000 trees across the island.
To this end, Mr. Brathwaite said that within the next three weeks, the Commission would be setting up shade houses at the Hindsbury and St. Luke’s-Brighton Primary Schools in St. Michael St. and George respectively, with Coleridge and Parry Secondary in St. Peter slated to come on stream shortly.
“This will assist schools in growing their own trees as well as vegetables. It is all part of the training,” he indicated.
The NCC official further stated that several primary and secondary schools had participated in garden creation and planting projects, and information technology as it related to forestry management.
Mr. Brathwaite, who noted that most planting was being done in the rainy season, or in areas which could be irrigated, added that several voluntary organisations, including the Lions and Optimist Clubs, as well as other public and private sector companies were also getting on board with the project, which is going into its third year.
In terms of other areas of improvement, the Technical Officer said the NCC had also recently invested in irrigation equipment to the tune of over $25,000. This, he said, included five water tanks to be used in the schools’ 4H programme and the Commission’s in-house propagation training; a mobile irrigation trailer, to be used on the island’s East Coast and at parks, and an overhead Greenhouse mist irrigation system.
“The idea is to provide the infrastructure for training, thus familiarising schools with technology to foster improved plant propagation. We want to get them more involved in agriculture and propagation, by utlising the same techniques as those used for agriculture and forestry,” he explained.
The project’s over-arching goal is to contribute to sustainable land management in Barbados through reforestation, by creating a sense of awareness, ownership and appreciation for the natural environment through youth empowerment.
Its primary objectives are to restore deforested areas; increase the variety of vegetation on the island; combat soil erosion and improve the island’s natural aesthetics.