The keepers of the forest

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

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The Forestry Department lived up to the symbolism of its 80th anniversary last week when, instead of traditional trophies made from plastic and coated with metallic finishes, it awarded Forest Heroes in nine categories with hand-crafted leaves from the oak tree.

The awards were designed in 2013 by then Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Sharifa Balfour and sculpted by head of student services at the college, Horace Prince.

Conservator of Forests Marilyn Headley said the awardees, fielded from a wide cross section of society, have taken it upon themselves to be protectors/keepers of the forests and added that while the awards are meant to honour recipients, they are also intended to provide a platform for them to continue, and where possible, expand their forest stewardship.

“I hope this award will serve as motivation for you to continue to lobby for and take care of our precious forest resources,” she said.

The 2018 Forest Heroes Awards went to William Masterton — Private Forestry; Roger Turner — Land Declaration Programme; Sawyers Local Forest Management Committee — Community-Based Organisation; Windsor Research Centre — Environmental Non-Governmental Organisation; MultiCare Youth Foundation — Non-Governmental Organisation; Kimone Thompson — Media; Lasco Releaf Environmental Awareness Programme — Public Education; JMMB — Corporate Partner; and Planning Institute of Jamaica — State Partner.

Certificates of recognition were presented to Constitution Hill Local Forest Management Committee in the category Community-based Organisation; to Jamaica Public Service and Scotiabank in the Corporate Partner category; and to National Land Agency in the State Partner category.

The Forestry Department first staged the Forest Heroes Awards in 2013. Then, it made four awards.

Headley, who is also CEO of the Forestry Department, explained that it increased the number to nine, plus four certificates of recognition, for the 2018 staging because “despite the challenges, things have gotten so good for us; forestry is now on everybody's mind”.

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