Holland Primary wins SEP competition
Defending champion Holland Primary School in St Elizabeth has copped the 2019 Schools’ Environment Programme (SEP) research competition.
The school, with its research topic, ‘Marine/Coastal Ecosystems’, with a focus on wetlands and their importance to the natural environment, was announced the winner during the SEP Research Day and Awards Ceremony on Wednesday at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
The institution was among the 15 top-performing schools for the 2018/2019 academic year that participated in the annual event, which included exhibitions displaying the environmental research conducted by the teams from each institution.
The displays were judged by environmental, education and conservation practitioners, as well as representatives from SEP’s corporate sponsors.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz, who addressed attendees at the ceremony, commended the students and staff from the participating schools for the ingenuity and hard work put into mounting the displays.
Vaz pledged the continued support of the Natural Resources Conservation Authority in the implementation of the programme, which, he said, promotes an awareness of proper environmental management in the future generation.
“In this group, I see budding researchers, ecologists, scientists, academics, geologists and climate change specialists. We are going to need the help of this group in the near future as the world grapples with environmental degradation and climate change. Based on what I have seen here today and in interacting with the youngsters, they are absolutely astute in relation to environmental management,” he said.
The minister called for more private-sector support to ensure continued implementation of the programme.
Meanwhile, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), Suzanne Stanley, said among the activities under the SEP were student workshops hosted by JET in Kingston and St Ann throughout the month of May.
The workshops highlighted the impact of improper disposal of waste on the environment and the Government’s recently implemented plastic ban.
Fifty-four students and 27 teachers from 28 schools participated in the student workshops, held under the theme, ‘Life with Plastic – Not so Fantastic’.
Stanley, who has been an SEP judge for several years, said: “By far, this was one of the most outstanding years in research that I have seen. You really did very well. We recognise all the hard work that goes into your projects.
“These young Jamaicans are tomorrow’s leaders, and we really have to adequately prepare them for the future they will inherit. That requires commitment in providing the tools they need to tackle global challenges. Environmental education is an important part of creating the change we all want to see in Jamaica.”
In addition to Holland Primary, the overall winner in the competition, awards were presented to schools that placed first, second and third in the Best Research Display category.
First place was awarded to Mar-Jam Preparatory, St Ann. Pisgah Primary, St Elizabeth, was awarded second place and Vista Prep in St Ann, third.
Several schools won prizes in various categories, including Campus Based, Greening Your School, Solid Waste Management and Environmental Club.
Sectional prizes were awarded for the Most Knowledgeable Students, Most Creative Display, Solid Waste Research and Best Spokesperson.
Winners received plaques, as well as printers, laptops, smart TVs, stationery, and book vouchers valued at $5,000 from Sangster’s Book Stores.
The SEP promotes environmental awareness and action in students and encourages the development of environmentally friendly schools and communities.
It is the flagship environmental education initiative organised by JET.
In the 2018-19 academic year, SEP was delivered in 32 preparatory and primary schools across the island.