Minister of the Environment, Dr. Denis Lowe, participating in a tree-planting exercise last year.??(FP)????

The Ministry of the Environment is seeking to foster environmental stewardship at the level of the island’s schools.

To this end, Environment Minister Dr. Denis Lowe, will next Monday, February 15, launch a new initiative entitled: ???Minister’s Environmental Partnership Programme’, which will, among other things, provide financial assistance to schools with strong environmental programmes.

"This programme is aimed at ensuring that Barbados’ school system remains a key agent in interpreting, promoting and achieving the goal of a green economy and importantly, to facilitate and enable involvement in environmental stewardship at the schools level,"???? Minister Lowe explained.

Wesley Hall Infants School’s Environmental Club will be the first beneficiary of the???? project. Minister Lowe will officially present the monetary award to the King Street, City institution, next Monday at 9:00 a.m. in recognition of its work.

Principal of the school, Sylvia Scantlebury, described the upcoming award as an honour.

"I think it is an honour that we are able to see the importance of the environment, especially with children at such a young age. Our children range from the age of four-plus to seven years, and I think it is very important for them to get the exposure in order to recognise how important the environment will be for them," she said.

Meanwhile, Remedial Reading Teacher and Chairperson of the Club, Marva Powlett, noted its formation was the brainchild of past Principal and environmentalist, Dina Salankey.

In addition to clean-up, recycling and beautification projects, she explained that they had participated in myriad activities over the years, including tours of national environmental sites.

"We seek to sensitise students at an early age -they are not too young. They have the interest, they actually like being out there with nature, so it is just a matter of giving them focus. The club also gives them a chance to do activities outside of the normal curriculum," Ms. Powlett maintained.

With a current membership of approximately 35 students, the Chairperson observed half of their former members had in fact gone over to the Junior School. She revealed that a membership drive would need to be conducted, especially among the younger students in order to rebuild the numbers to last year’s level of 60 to 70 children.

The School Environmental Partnership Programme builds on the work that the Ministry had been doing previously with Wesley Hall Infants, one of its adopted schools.??

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