The Preserve Celebrates Forestry Awareness Week with Local Primary Schools

The Preserve Celebrates Forestry Awareness Week with Local Primary Schools

3/21/2015 1:41:00 PM

The ‘International Day of Forests’, more commonly referred to as World Forestry Day is observed annually on March 21st. This year, The Bahamas Ministry of the Environment and Housing’s Forestry Unit coordinated a week of activities to celebrate forests throughout the archipelago. During this “Forestry Awareness Week”, The Forestry Unit and their partners hosted an online 'selfie' photo competition, coordinated tree plantings in schools, and screened of a documentary film on the history of forestry in the Bahamas.

As a National Park whose mission is built upon conservation of Bahamian forests and native plants, The Preserve was a natural partner in the effort to promote forestry awareness. So during Forestry Awareness Week (March 16th - 21st, 2015), Preserve staff reached out to local primary schools in Governor’s Harbour, Palmetto Point, Tarpum Bay, and Rock Sound. At each school, Preserve Manager, Falon Cartwright spoke to an assembly of students about the importance of Bahamian forests. Following the assembly, students planted two native trees on their campus.


Preserve Manager, Falon Cartwright, and Preserve Staff, Omar McKlewhite talked to students of Tarpum Bay Primary. When asked why forests are important, students easily listed off many of the priority reasons such as their role in providing humans with food, medicines, lumber, and clean air. Did you also know that forests help to regulate climate and recharge ground water resources? There are so many reasons why we should value forests!

Tarpum Bay Primary School's Discovery Club members posed with the freshly planted Gum elemi tree. Gum elemi (Bursera simaruba) is one of the most common trees in the Bahamian coppice. It's reddish peeling bark makes it difficult to confuse with any other species. Gum elemis are used medicinally to treat skin irritations associated with poisonwood. They are also important habitat and source of food for resident and migratory species of birds. 

Students at Emma E. Cooper Primary in Palmetto Point helped plant a young Paradise Tree (Simarouba glauca) around the edge of their campus parking lot. This Bahamian native has been used medicinally to treat fevers and colds, wounds and sores, and even dysentery. These youngsters will grow along with this beautiful tree that will eventually reach up to 10 meters in height. 

Students at Rock Sound Primary showed incredible enthusiasm when we visited. So much so, that every student wanted to participate in the tree planting and be in our group photo. We were happy to oblige! What fun!