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YEAP’s seventh regional session focuses on biodiversity

Published:Monday | February 25, 2019 | 12:00 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Students attending last week’s seventh regional session of the YEAP Biodiversity seminar held at Dinrhill Technical High School.

With robust participation from eight schools in St Catherine, the seventh regional session of the Youth Environmental Advocacy Programme (YEAP), held at Dinthill Technical High School in Linstead on Wednesday, was considered a success.

The session, sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and its partners, National Environment and Planning Agency, Royal Hope Botanic Gardens and Zoo, the Forestry Department, and the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation, focused largely on biodiversity, an important aspect of preserving Jamaica’s indigenous wildlife, notably the Jamaican iguana and plants, for a sustainable environment and quality of life.

Senior director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Gillian Guthrie said the ministry saw it important under the programme to interact with the students about the importance of biodiversity to the quality of life, economic growth and social well-being.

“We wanted to sensitise our students to the different aspects of biodiversity and how it can improve the quality of their lives, and to get them to advocate for the preservation and conservation of Jamaica’s biological resources,” Guthrie told The Gleaner.

“This is a topic that is not readily discussed and given its importance, we thought it was necessary to bring it to the students to get them involved and give them an opportunity to speak to national technocrats who make decisions at the policy level.”

Dinthill Technical’s vice-principal, Monica White, said the programme helps the students to become more aware, judging from the interaction they have bought into it.

“Here at Dinthill, we have already joined in. We have formed our environmental club and have gone to many places doing beach clean-ups, and garbage separation in the community,” she told The Gleaner.

Presentations from the various partners highlighted different aspects of biodiversity, including human well-being, Jamaica’s rich biodiversity and climate change mitigation.

Dinthill’s head girl, Shania Grant, who chaired the programme, tested the grasp of her peers on the importance of biodiversity in a robust question-and-answer session that clearly indicated that the topic was well received.