U.S. Embassy Celebrates Earth Day with Local Schools

Man talking to group of people. (Embassy Image)
Ambassador Moreno engages students in a leadership discussion during Earth Day celebration at Mona Heights Primary School

In celebration of Earth Day 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Kingston partnered with five local schools to host a Tree Planting initiative at the Mona Heights Primary School in St Andrew on April 22.  The other participating schools included: Mona Preparatory, Hope Valley Experimental, August Town Primary and Louise Bennett Coverley All-Age.  Earth Day’s theme: Trees for the Earth aimed to help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability, which will serve as the foundation for a cleaner and healthier planet for all.

United States Ambassador, Luis G. Moreno, participated in a tree planting exercise with several students from the respective schools. They planted fruit trees in the school’s 4-H Club Garden and were later engaged in discussions on the importance of being good stewards of the environment as part of the learning experience. Ambassador Moreno also engaged the students in a question and answer segment on how to be good leaders and the responsibility of leaders. Some of the questions posed range from – Mr. Trump’s presidential race, the Trinidad/Jamaica trade issue, the environment, farming etc. The discussions were interactive and the Ambassador was delighted that the children were well informed on current affairs and environment matters.

Lady talking to kids. (Embassy Image)
Esther Zeledon, USAID- Environment Officer engaging grades 1-4 students during an interactive Earth Day session at Mona Heights Primary School

Among the day’s activities, Miguel ‘Steppa’ Williams had the students energized with his performance of his dub poems: Eat what you grow and Take care of the environment. Other Students from grades 1-4 were equally engaged in reading and interactive exercises with U.S. Embassy staff, Esther Zeledon, Environment Officer and Shayzan McBeam, Cultural Affairs Assistant. Peace Corps volunteer, Breanne Cubrilovic and Holywell Park Ranger, Marlon Hamilton gave tips about caring for the environment and protecting it from harm. Ethnie Miller Simpson, IVLP alum, entrepreneur and farmer used her session to engage students on the economic and environmental benefits of farming to families and the society. Several seedlings and tools were distributed to all the participating schools.

The Earth Day Observance and Tree Planting initiative provide an opportunity for the US Mission to raise awareness of the environmental issues affecting the world. The opportunity to engage youth in schools highlights the seriousness of citizen diplomacy and engaging with the Jamaican population to take action to protect our planet.

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