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Environment Department observes Arbour Month

10th November 2015

With the month of November being observed as Arbour Month, the Environment Department has unveiled a number of initiatives to mark the occasion.

Among the activities being held are daily "Tree of the Day" features and their medicinal values on ABS' Good Morning Antigua-Barbuda Program starting from Monday 9th and running until the end of the month.

A day at the Botanical Gardens is also being planned for the Pares and All Saints Secondary Schools on Thursday 12th and 19th respectively.

Also, there will be the annual Arbour Day Plant Fair, slated for November 26th at the Victoria Park Botanical Gardens and there will also be a national tree planting program.

The announcements were made during a press conference at the Environment Department which was addressed by Minister of Health and the Environment, Molwyn Joseph, Technical Coordinator, Dr Helena Jeffrey-Browne, Miss Arica Hill, the Environment Education Officer and Ruletta Camacho Thomas - Deputy Director of the Department of Environment.

Camacho-Thomas praised the country's farmers for enduring the rough patch of dry weather that the country faced during the first half of the year.

"We recognized that many farmers have taken actions in their farms or backyard gardens to cope with these climate impacts, Antigua and Barbuda farmers have shown great resilience in light of the challenging circumstances that came their way and we hail them as champions who refuse to be beaten by the global phenomena that has the potential to bring the country to its knees", Camacho-Thomas said.

She also urged the public to come out and support the Plant Fair which she noted will be one with a difference, with loads of giveaways in store, food stalls, and holistic education for children with special needs.

"At the department of Environment, one of our goals is to encourage persons to plant trees, particular fruit trees, and this year we will have an assortment of fruit trees to give away, from Guava, Sugar Apple, Barbados Cherry, Seaside Grapes, Pomegranates, Tangerine, Orange and Lemon to Marley Apple, Raspberry, Golden Apple, Custard Apple, Sour Sop and Tamarind', Camacho-Thomas revealed.

She said there is a procedure that must be followed in order to access these plants however.

"You can get these plants if you bring us five, 10x14 plant bags or five 10x12 plant bags, we will give you a fruit tree and there will also be a range of vendors on site to include, the Orchid Society, Miss Christine Aaron, there will also be a vendor selling dwarf coconut and other trees and on site as well will be the Victory Centre who will have a food stall and they will also be offering holistic education to children with special needs", Camacho-Thomas stated.

Minister of the Environment, Molwyn Joseph used the opportunity to highlight the importance and benefits of having more trees.

"Nature is just so wonderful, the way God created this earth, and that is the trees are supposed to absorb the Carbon Dioxide emissions and other green house gases, and if we didn't have trees, the situation would be worst. So if we can succeed in planting more trees, it will take in the carbon dioxide and at the same time we must reduce our emission of carbon dioxide by taking advantage of renewable energy, the sun and the wind, then we can reduce the trend in the world today and be a healthier nation", Joseph said.

The theme for the month of activities is "Riding climate wave using smart agriculture".

The Environment Department will soon spearhead an initiative to plant thousands of trees at strategic points across the island.

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