Westmoreland students to celebrate World Wetlands Day
TODAY IS World Wetlands Day, and the Negril Area Environment Protection Trust (NEPT) is looking to ensure that fact is not lost on the students and community members of Westmoreland and Hanover.
Under the theme 'Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction', the organisation is hosting an open day at the Negril Community Centre to commemorate the day. More than 300 students and community members from the Negril Environment Protection Area (EPA) are expected to participate.
"We want people to come out and support the event, to look at the activities, get information on what other people are doing, and generally get themselves informed," said Dian Holgate, fisheries warden and acting environmental education officer with NEPT.
The day will feature a wide variety of educational, interactive and fun activities, including a wetlands quiz, drum painting, as well as poster, essay, singjay and DJ competitions.
These are to be complemented by displays from participating schools and organisations involved in environmental conservation.
CLEARING UP MISCONCEPTION
On the value of this year's event, Holgate said: "Generation to generation, people have been having this misconception about the morass being a wasteland area, and so we have to educate them, and in particular the children, on how to take care of this resource."
Added the NEPT representative: "Also, we realise that climate change is taking a toll. Frankly, we have not had much rain for a very long time and so the vegetation is dry, and when it is that dry, it is less effective in doing its work," she added.
Among other benefits, Holgate noted that the Negril morass serves as a habitat for a variety of species, including endemic plants such as the royal palm, and filters nutrients, making the water that gets to rivers and beaches cleaner.
"NEPT has had tremendous success with this event over the years and would like to repeat the success for this year," she said.