Chairman of the NCC, Tyrone Lowe (left), presenting the 2011 Timothy Hoyte Award to Simeon Parris. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Simeon Parris, a general worker at St. James Primary School, has been awarded the 2011 Timothy Hoyte Award in recognition of his sustained efforts over the past year to beautify of the school. He was presented with the award today at the official ceremony for National Arbor Day held at the A. DaCosta Edwards Primary School, St. Andrew.

"He cleaned, he forked, he sowed, he trimmed, he planted. He has gone beyond the call of duty in his efforts to enhance the surroundings of the school," National Conservation Commission (NCC), Secretary, Beverley White stated before presenting him with the award.

Some of Mr. Parris’ efforts included painting old tyres to plant trees, placing blocks around trees, planting palms and ornamental grasses at the entrance of the school: planting trees in the play area to provide shade for students, and converting a dump into a kitchen garden which now produces vegetables such as lettuce, okras and sweet peppers.

Mr. Parris was identified as one of the driving forces in the transformation of the primary school. "The serene ambience of the school is now experienced from the time you enter the gate," Ms. White added.

At the ceremony, Chairman of the NCC, Tyrone Lowe, reminded those present that many of the comforts experienced today would not be available without trees.

He said: "They [trees] provide food for us to eat. They provide shelter. Our homes are built from the wood of trees. They provide lovely shade for us to relax, and birds to sing and congregate. They help with the clean air that we breathe in."

National Arbor Day is one of the vehicles used by the NCC to promote the green initiative – part of the policy of the Ministry of the Environment and Drainage.

As part of the ongoing programme to reforest the island, the NCC embarked on a project in collaboration with the Organisation of American States (OAS) with the objective to plant 80,000 trees over a five-year period. Mr. Lowe reported that to date about 18,000 trees had been planted across the island.

This project engaged the energies of schools, youth groups, 4H clubs, government departments and corporate entities, and falls in line with the tree planting activities on Arbor Day. "We need the help of all Barbadians in this initiative and we implore property developers among our citizens to do more to protect and preserve the trees that we have across the island and not wantonly destroy them," the NCC Chairman urged.

After the ceremony, students assisted Mr. Lowe in planting four trees on the school’s grounds.??


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