Students enjoy World Wetlands Day
From quiz competitions to drum painting, near 200 students from Westmoreland and Hanover, accompanied by parents and teachers, turned out to support World Wetlands Day on February 2.
Under the theme 'Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction', the Negril Area Environmental Protection Trust (NEPT) organised a variety of activities intended to capture the imagination and prompt action from among participants in an open day event at the resort town's community centre.
Senior teacher at Sheffield All-Age School, Ramon Bremmer, had high praise for the event.
"It went well; it was a good day. The students were able to learn how wetlands are used to reduce disaster in Negril and in Jamaica as a whole," he told The Gleaner.
Dian Holgate, fisheries warden and acting environmental education officer, said: "I had expected more schools to participate, but it was an absolutely awesome event, and we got what we wanted to achieve."
Added Holgate: "The theme was covered. It was reflected in the parent-teacher quiz, in the poster competitions, and in the essays."
The wetlands quiz, poster and essay competitions saw schools facing off against each other with entries dealing with various aspects of the day's theme. The drum painting saw teachers and parents in competition. Winners are to be awarded in the coming days.
The quiz competition, Bremmer said, was especially thrilling for students.
"They were able to watch their parents in competition against each other. That was enjoyable and good for them because they also saw that their parents were involved in their school life," he added.
The activities were complemented by displays from participating schools and organisations, including the National Environment and Planning Agency, the Forestry Department, the Sandals Foundation, and the Westmoreland 4-H.
Holgate is hoping for a better turnout next year, even as NEPT looks to deepen ties with the communities.
"Our expectation is that it will be even more successful next year. We are looking forward to working with the schools, residential communities as well as the business community," she said.
"I think our presence has been felt and seen in the schools ... We are looking to go out in the communities and actually make an impact there on adults and households through groups that are to be formed," Holgate added.
TYPES OF WETLANDS
Among the types of wetlands in the Caribbean are mangroves, lagoons, salt ponds and salinas, together with estuaries, tidal creeks as well as brackish and freshwater marshes.
Among the major ones in Jamaica are the Negril Swamp in Westmoreland and Hanover, the Hague Swamp in Trelawny, the Great Morass in St Thomas, the Black River Morass in St Elizabeth, and the Salt River Swamp in Clarendon.
There is, too, Pear Tree Bottom in St Ann, the Great Salt Pond in St Catherine, Palisadoes-Port Royal in Kingston, and Canoe Valley and the Cabarita Swamp in Manchester and Westmoreland, respectively.
Together, they provide a variety of ecosystem services, including water purification and storage, nutrient cycling and shoreline protection and flood mitigation.
Learn more about wetlands at: http://www.nepa.gov.jm/student/resource-material/pdf/Importance_of_Wetla...