Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Earth Today | Forestry Dept celebrates 80 years of growth

Published:Thursday | January 4, 2018 | 12:00 AM
(From right) CEO & Conservator of Forests, Marilyn Headley cut the anniversary cake with head of Environment Solutions Ltd Eleanor Jones; Claire Bernard, deputy director general in charge of sustainable development and social planning at the Planning Institute of Jamaica; and mission environmental officer with the United States Agency for International Development, Jamaica, Malden Miller.

THE FORESTRY Department has launched a year of activities in commemoration of its eight decades of service to Jamaica.

The anniversary is being celebrated under the theme, '80 years of GROWTH: Safeguarding the future'.

GROWTH is an acronym, which means Guiding our country; Reforesting our landscape; Opportunities abound; Working together with communities; Transferring knowledge; Holistic approaches.

"The past 80 years has been defined by a kaleidoscope of happy memories and a few sad ones, too; the cultivation of strong friendships and enduring relationships. Of course, there have also been some paths that may have been slightly more difficult to travel," said Marilyn Headley, chief executive officer and conservator of forests.

She was speaking at the biennial staff awards held on December 8 in Kingston.

"Yet, despite the odd stumbling blocks experienced along the way, this organisation still stands after eight decades, stronger, resilient, respected, and doing exceptional and extraordinary things, locally and internationally," Headley added.

 

IMPACT OF FORESTS

 

To mark the year-long celebration, the agency will host church services across the island on January 14 and launch its anniversary mural competition among secondary and tertiary schools at the end of January. In March, there will be the first of two forest treks, the publication of the anniversary supplement and a forest forum under the theme, 'Forests and Sustainable Cities'.

"At the forest forum, which will be on International Day of Forests, we will hear from the experts in the field, both locally and internationally, on the impact of forests on some critical areas. It will also feature a panel discussion that will be centred around conservation, disaster mitigation and the economic impact of disasters on our communities," Headley noted.

There will be the Forest Heroes Awards in April, with celebrations continuing in September with a series of roadshows in various communities islandwide. On National Tree Planting Day (October 5), the agency will lead eight projects and has invited companies and individuals to organise their own initiatives in support of the national thrust to plant trees.

Persons will be given another opportunity to experience the beauty and wonders of the forests when a second forest trek is held in the western section of the island in November.