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New environmental awards competition launched

Published:Saturday | April 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Diana McCaulay (left), CEO Jamaica Environment Trust, and Dr Dale Webber, chairman, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, look on as students of Westwood High, Laura-Ann Chung and Tasara Burnett, show off a denim skirt that has been transformed into a handbag as part of their school's recycle-to-save project at the Jamaica Environment Trust and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica's Earth Day celebration at Hope Gardens on Thursday. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

Laura Redpath, Senior Reporter

Earth Day activities marked the day's 40th anniversary at Hope Gardens and encouraged persons to think beyond mother Earth's special day and make environmental awareness a way of life.

An announcement was made by Jamaica Environment Trust's CEO, Diana McCaulay, providing students, teachers and partners with information about the newly launched Environmental Challenge awards.

"We don't spend any time talking about what is right. So that is what we want to do with Jamaica's Environmental Challenge awards," McCaulay said.

Students, teachers and partners learned that anyone could be nominated for an award.

"We will recognise projects, communities, schools, teachers (and) anyone in the society who is doing good things for the environment," McCaulay announced.

The Environmental Challenge awards programme is the first of its kind across Jamaica.

The various award categories include Most Environmentally Aware School; Youth Excellence in Marine Conservation; youth environmental leadership awards for persons under 16 and under 21; champion environmental teacher; energy, wildlife and water-conservation categories; sustainable agriculture; waste management; trees for the future; and, best environmental community.

Preserve Earth

Primary and secondary students also have the option of taking part in a separate poster and essay competition.

According to Barrington Lewis, finance manager at the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, these competitions are meant to promote efforts to preserve Earth.

Holy Rosary Primary School guidance counsellor Andrea Lewis expressed interest in the Challenge awards and the school competitions.

"I think it would provide good exposure and bring out creativity," Lewis said.

Although Holy Rosary Primary does not have an environmental education programme, Lewis said the school's curricula incorporate sustainability education. The school is also on its way to launching its own internal recycling programme.

Recycling through creativity

Lewis said presenters at the expo were helpful in providing her with the information she needed to support Holy Rosary's green footprints into the future.

Trelawny's Westwood High School promoted recycling through creativity. Bags made from scrap denim were a few of the items being shown.

St Catherine's St Jago Cathedral Preparatory had life-size cardboard trees as part of its creative message against deforestation.

Portable vegetable gardens in oil drums cut to half their size were part of Shortwood Teachers' College's and New Day Primary and Junior High school's presentation.

It has been 40 years since the first Earth Day participants in San José, California buried a brand new car, bringing attention to the impact cars have on the environment and protesting against consumerism.

Thursday's local theme focused on the 'green generation', emphasising educating Jamaican youth on climate change, energy efficiency, recycling and biodiversity.