Mrs. Avril Elliott, Education Officer in the Department of Education with responsibility for the St. Thomas’ Primary School, plants a tree with a student of the St. Thomas’ Primary School at the school grounds Jan. 29 to launch a tree planting programme by the Ministry and Department of Agriculture on Nevis.

Mrs. Avril Elliott, Education Officer in the Department of Education, expressed hope that schools on Nevis would realise the benefits that the Department of Agriculture’s islandwide environmentally friendly initiative to plant 10,000 trees would bring during the ceremony at the St. Thomas’ Primary School grounds to launch the project Jan. 29.

“My hope is that the schools would see this as a partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and don’t see it as a Ministry of Agriculture initiative in the sense that they will take ownership, and feel a sense of ownership, and look at the benefits that can accrue to the schools,” she said.“We look at the link, the curriculum, we can see teachers somewhat linking ecosystems, reforestation, soil erosion, life cycle of insects and so many other things, and also we are hoping the produce can be used to offset the cost of operating the cafeteria.”

Sixteen fruit bearing trees were planted on the grounds of St. Thomas’ Primary School to launch the initiative. Under the project, fruit trees and ornamentals will be planted in schools, public areas and homes across the island in 2020.

“I admonish the St. Thomas’ Primary School and all schools in general to take it as their own, feel a sense of ownership, and also encourage the children to care and maintain this initiative because eventually it is ours and it is our Nevis,” she said.“This initiative will no doubt bring some aesthetics to the environment, and not to mention all the environmental benefits of such an initiative. So again, I would like to applaud the stakeholders, mainly in the Ministry of Education and the Nevis Island Administration, for this initiative and I wish you well.”