St. Joseph’s Infant, St. Jago Cathedral Preparatory and Waterford High have emerged winners in the Urban Development Corporation’s (UDC) “2013 Hellshire Schools Enviro Competition”. The winning schools copped trophies and cash prizes valued at $25,000 each and select passes to the Biodiversity Centre at the Port Royal Marine Lab. The awards were presented at the 7th annual Hellshire Enviro Fair held at the Two Sisters Caves on Friday, May 31.
Speaking at the event His Worship, George Lee, Mayor of Portmore, said “Taking care of the environment must become a way of life. As a society, we need to practice cleanliness, refrain from littering the streets and strive to protect our drains. Even after this event has concluded, we need to continue taking care of our schools, communities and the environment”.
Also speaking at the event, Lorna Clarke, Director, Corporate Communication, UDC said “Hellshire represents the largest dry limestone forest in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Unfortunately, not everyone understands that it must be protected. Some of the activities which are a threat to the resources in this area include, illegal cutting of trees for charcoal burning and destruction of habitat of protected species, such as the Jamaican Iguana, American Crocodile and Jamaican Skink. These activities must be stopped and we are depending on each and everyone here to take that message home and to encourage your families and your communities to refrain from partaking in activities that will harm the environment”.
The Hellshire Schools Enviro Competition was open to students from infant, primary and secondary schools from Kingston and St. Andrew and sections of St. Catherine and was aimed at encouraging eco-friendly practices among young people. This year approximately 16 schools participated in the competition which was carried out between September 2012 and May 2013. Students, guided by their teachers, were required to implement viable environmental projects. The foci of projects this year included alternative energy, recycling plastic and styrofoam, cash crops and container farming, the creation of greenhouses with recycled materials, as well as innovative recycling for profit and farming.
St. Joseph’s Infant’s winning project focused on growing food using recycled water, St. Jago Cathedral Preparatory focused on renewable energy and Waterford’s High’s project focused on hydroponics.
Hundreds of patrons, including students from infant, primary and secondary schools from Kingston and St. Andrew and St Catherine turned out to support the Hellshire Enviro Fair which is aimed at encouraging eco-friendly practices and environmental awareness. The event is held annually in recognition of International Day for Biological Diversity, which is celebrated on May 22nd. The theme for this year was “Water and Biodiversity”.
This year the event enjoyed sponsorship from the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Jamaica Zoo, Wisynco, Bob Marley Foundation, CB Chicken, Dolphin Cove and Port Royal Marine Labs, University of the West Indies. Exhibitors included the Jamaica Tourist Board, Hope Zoo, Environmental Foundation of Jamaica, Forest Conservation Fund and This Is Jamaica Tour Company.
The UDC hosted the inaugural Hellshire Enviro Fair during May 2007 and organized the Hellshire Schools Enviro Competition for the first time during 2008.