Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, plants a tree with assistance from Jerome and Chaunte Arthur of the Warrens Primary School at the National Botanical Gardens. The tree planting was part of a ceremony to mark Arbor Day 2019. (A.Husbands/BGIS)

Minister of Environment and National Beautification, Trevor Prescod, has set the ambitious target of having 600,000 trees planted in the National Botanical Gardens at Waterford, St. Michael, for We Gatherin’ Barbados 2020.

He was speaking at a ceremony held last Friday at the Gardens to mark Arbor Day, which is celebrated on September 22, annually.

The Minister told those in attendance that 600,000 trees by next year when Barbadians return home for the year-long celebrations was an achievable target and invited individuals and businesses to donate and plant trees in the Gardens.

“The more of you who become involved in this, the faster we can achieve the objectives we set out. We will give you the location. If you have the collective strength to deal with a half-acre, we will give you a half-acre.

“And don’t believe that that is beyond us. Six hundred thousand trees and by that time the population should be close to 300,000 and we if we produce two trees on average per person, we’ll get there,” Mr. Prescod surmised.

He, however, pointed out that persons who planted trees would have to help care for them over time.

Over 100 students from 10 primary and secondary schools got the process started by planting 150 fruit and shade trees in the Gardens after the ceremony.

Mr. Prescod disclosed that the National Botanical Gardens would feature a number of ponds, in addition to an amphitheatre. He said it belonged to all Barbadians and urged citizens to make full use of the grounds.

Additionally, the Environment Minister tasked the National Conservation Commission and the staff at the Botanical Gardens with launching a primary schools’ beautification competition by next month, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

“In our primary schools across Barbados, we must instill in them certain qualities; respect for beauty and respect for peace, and I want both departments to work with us collectively to help to achieve that,” Minister Prescod urged.

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