Underscoring the importance of the environment to the territory’s lifeblood, the BVI Tourist Board (BVITB) is gearing up to spearhead a major greening initiative.
The ‘Seeds of Love’ initiative aims to replant the territory’s indigenous trees and vegetation destroyed during last September’s hurricanes.
The yearlong programme will officially kick off with an Arbor Day event in the United States on April 27.
Minister of Natural Resources, Dr Kedrick Pickering explained the reason behind the undertaking.
“Tourism is the mainstay of our economy, there is no tourism without the environment. Where the environment goes, so goes the economy,” he said.
“It is extremely important for us to invest in, protect, and prosper our natural heritage,” he continued, adding that reforestation is a necessary component of building resilience.
First coconut shipment arrived
Director of the Tourist Board Sharon Flax-Brutus said the BVITB purchased 3,000 coconut seedlings and saplings to jump-start the undertaking.
She noted further that distribution of the plants has started and each of the four main islands will benefit.
In addition to the coconut palms to be planted on the coastline to protect against erosion, mangrove seedlings and white cedars will be planted in wetlands. White cedars are known to serve as windbreakers.
To ensure the sustainability and longevity of the plants, the BVITB has engaged the services of Jahnai Caul, a young BVIslander with a keen interest in agricultural science, to assist with distribution and planting of the seedlings. Mr Caul received training during an internship in Jamaica last summer with UWI Mona Campus and from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, the Tourist Board said.
It is also the hope that the initiative will inspire persons to advocate for the protection of the environment as the BVI moves to develop ecotourism in the territory.
“I am excited that this project is taking shape,” Flax-Brutus said.
Genesis of Seeds of Love
According to a BVITB media release, the Seeds of Love initiative has been gaining momentum for some time now.
The release said following the hurricanes, Gabi Romberg of the BVITB’s German agency started a fundraising initiative in the German markets to purchase coconut palms to replant on the territory’s beaches.
Simultaneously, the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines made a donation of 3,000 fruit trees to the territory.
Dr Pickering first announced plans to import trees to reforest local beaches back in December.
Seeds of Love is a collaboration among the BVITB, the National Parks Trust, Department Of Agriculture, and the Town & Country Planning Department.
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