Insects play a vital role in our ecosystem and Ivor Walters Primary School’s winning entry in the Solid Waste Management Authority’s Earth Day exhibit brought the science to life. In observance of Earth Day- celebrated globally on April 22- the SWMA hosted a scientific exhibition at the Nevis Performing Arts Center (NEPAC) on Tuesday (Apr 29). The Cecele Browne Integrated School (formerly the Special Education Unit), St. James’ Primary School, Ivor Walters Primary School, and the Violet O. J. Nicholls Primary School showcased in various forms, how insects affect the earth. The children’s exhibits depicted different insects and ecosystems but Ivor Walters was selected as the winner with an exhibit of the marine habitat and an explanation of how coral reefs are damaged. The Cecele Browne Integrated School placed second with an exhibit of bees and how they help to pollinate the flowers of fruit and other trees in the environment. Violet O. J Nicholls exhibit showed how an earthworm’s burrowing through the soil releases nutrients and increases water filtration for healthier plants. St. James’ highlighted the importance of cockroaches. In the students’ presentation, they stated that cockroaches feed on dead plants and other matter which causes bacteria and fungi to grow, releasing nutrients in the soil. All exhibits were made of recyclable material and natural elements including paper-mâché , newspapers, bottle caps, the bottom portion of plastic bottles, cardboard, rubber, leaves, sea shells, and sea sponges. Participating schools received a goody bag and coupons to shop at Office World for stationery supplies. Minister of Health, Hon. Mark Brantley spoke about the importance of school-aged children knowing how to protect and appreciate their environment. “The idea behind Earth Day is for us to stop and consider the importance of planet Earth. It is important that the schools are involved in this exceptionally innovative idea, that all our children start from a very young age to appreciate the relevance and the very importance of the environment … It is very important that we protect our environment and it starts with each of us.”Brantley said if there is one lesson to be learned from this years’ celebration of Earth Day, it is that we must protect our island and our environment. “So whether it’s dumping, illegal sand mining or catching lobsters and conchs when they’re too young, we have to protect our island. I’m hopeful that Earth Day would be not just the 22 nd of April but all 365 days of the year.”