Community groups, service clubs, schools, government departments, non-governmental organisations, and entrepreneurs interested in participating in this year’s Arbor Day Expo are asked to register early with the National Conservation Commission (NCC).

It will be held at Queen’s Park on Saturday September 26, from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., under the theme: ???Trees – the Circle of Life’.

This initiative is part of NCC’s continuing efforts to promote the planting and preservation of trees. It is designed to especially target persons with an interest in the environment, or whose core business is the provision of products or services that are derivatives of trees.

During the event there will be a practical/interactive demonstration of those products and services consumed and utilised on a daily basis; as well as display booths from individuals, groups and organisations showcasing environmental products and services.

??Workshops will also be held during the day, focusing on a number of pertinent areas, including plant care, plant propagation, identification and eradication of pests and diseases that affect plants.

A massive plant sale will run concurrently with the Expo, offering up to 20 percent discounts on selected plants. As customary, the NCC will also be donating a limited number of trees to the public. However, this will only be facilitated on Arbor Day, which is observed on September 22.

Schools, community service or church groups are, therefore, encouraged to contact the NCC indicating the number of trees required, as well as the specifics of their tree planting exercise.

The Expo will provide an educational, motivational experience suitable for the entire family. It is intended to raise the environmental consciousness of the populace, primarily as it relates to trees and their role, and the benefits and importance to our very survival.

Noting that environmental issues affect "every living thing in Barbados," Special Projects Officer with the NCC, Ricardo Marshall, stressed that one single disruption in the earth’s delicate balance could mean "certain destruction of the very place that cradles the lives of many species".

"Indeed, Barbados is not immune to these issues and subsequent consequences.?? One such issue that requires consideration is deforestation. Trees have been, or are being cut down at increasingly high rates, whereas the importance of planting and maintaining trees is not seen as [a] priority. If this is not stopped, many unfavourable side effects could result," he underlined.

Mr. Marshall cited the increased vegetation, the combating of soil erosion and improvement to the island’s natural aesthetics as among the long-term benefits of reforestation.

Persons interested in participating as exhibitors, may contact Ricardo Marshall at the NCC’s Codrington, St. Michael headquarters, at 425-1200/1202 or 1212.

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