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Central Branch Infant, St. Jago Cathedral Prepraratory and Linstead Primary and Junior High Win UDC’s Hellshire Schools Enviro Competition

Central Branch Infant, St Jago Cathedral Preparatory and Linstead Primary and Junior High copped the top prizes valued at $20,000 each and passes to Dunn’s River Falls and Park in the Urban Development Corporation’s (UDC) “2011 Hellshire Schools Enviro Competition”. The awards were presented at the 5th annual Hellshire Enviro Fair held at the Two Sisters Caves on Thursday, May 26..

Speaking at the awards ceremony Joy Douglas, General Manager of the UDC said “The Fair is a culmination of the hard work put in by the schools which participated in the Hellshire Schools Enviro Competition and I am indeed heartened to see the turn out particularly of young people which has surpassed last year’s record of 600. This says to us at the UDC that there is indeed hope for the future. It demonstrates that out country is in good hands” said the General Manger.

Also speaking at the ceremony the event’s Guest Speaker Rainee Oliphant, Senior Legal Officer from the Forestry Department made the students aware of the different types of forests that exist in Jamaica and the contribution these areas make to the preservation of the island’s biodiversity and improving the quality of life of all Jamaicans. She also encouraged them to pass the message of the need to protect the forests on to their families and friends.

The competition, which was open to students from infant, primary, secondary and tertiary institutions from Kingston, St. Andrew and sections of St. Catherine, was aimed at encouraging eco-friendly practices among young people and was carried out over the period from November 2010 to May 2011. To participate in this competition students were required to implement environmental projects within their schools with minimal intervention from teachers. This year’s projects included behavioral change campaigns, renewable energy, recycling, and farming.

The infant category was added to the competition for the first time this year. Central Branch Infant’s winning project focused on water conservation, St. Jago Cathedral Preparatory focused on minimizing emissions and maximizing conservation and Linstead Primary and Junior High focused on recycling coconut husks as a business venture.

Over 1000 patrons, including students from 30 primary, secondary and tertiary schools from Kingston, St. Andrew and St Catherine turned out to support the event which was hosted by the UDC. Other activities included tours of the Two Sisters Caves and visits to booths set up by the Forestry Department, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, Forest Conservation Fund, Hope Zoo and the UDC.

The Enviro Fair is a community outreach activity aimed at encouraging eco-friendly practices and an increased understanding of the environment. It was held in celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity, which is celebrated on May 22nd annually. The theme for this year was ”Forest Biodiversity”. The UDC hosted its first Enviro Fair at Green Grotto Caves in St. Ann on October 11, 2006 and hosted the inaugural Hellshire Enviro Fair during May 2007.