Sandals partners with UWI to conserve mangroves in Salt Marsh
Volunteers from Sandals Resorts International, Sandals Foundation and The University of the West Indies Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory gather to plant mangrove seedlings at the Salt Marsh.

SALT MARSH, Trelawny — Team members of Sandals Resorts International (SRI), in partnership with The University of the West Indies (UWI), recently planted mangrove seedlings in Salt Marsh, Trelawny, as the resort company continued its observance of World Ocean Day and World Environment Day.

The initiative forms part of a larger joint project to conserve mangroves across western Jamaica.

Organised by the resort company’s environment, health and safety division, the Sandals Foundation and UWI Discovery Bay Marine Lab, the day’s activity saw volunteers gathered at the Salt Marsh Mangrove in Trelawny for the planting exercise.

“Mangroves are very important, they help to sustain coral reefs, stabilise shorelines, remove pollutants, improve water quality, and provide nursery habitat for marine life. Not many persons are aware of these benefits so this activity also serves as a sensitisation session for our volunteers and members of the neighbouring communities,” explained Gavin Palmer, SRI’s corporate manager, environment, health and safety.

One SRI volunteer, Tasha-Gaye Davis, noted, “It was interesting to learn how vital mangroves are mitigating the effects of climate change and natural disasters such as flooding, coastal erosion and hurricanes. It was nice volunteering for this worthy cause and I would encourage other persons to participate in similar upcoming activities.”

In keeping with Jamaica’s National Strategy and Action Plan for Biological Diversity 2016-2021, the repopulation and conservation of mangroves will help to develop Jamaica as an eco-friendly destination for local and international tourism while supporting the country’s disaster risk management efforts.

“We take pride in collaborating on initiatives like these which benefit the environment where our focus is to educate communities including fishermen, young students and our fellow team members about effective conservation practices, and establish sanctuaries that will benefit generations to come,” Sandals Foundation environmental coordinator, Georgia Lumley, explained.

The mangrove seedling planting initiative forms part of an ongoing conservation project between SRI, Sandals Foundation and UWI with a primary focus on protecting four mangrove forests of over 150 hectares, including the Salt Marsh Mangrove, which is experiencing encroachment.

The project will engage communities to reduce mangrove forest loss with the development of conservation plans, proper solid waste management and recycling along with the promotion of eco-tourism.

In Jamaica there are predominantly three types of mangroves — the red (rhizophora mangle), black (avicennia germinans) and white mangroves (laguncularia racemosa).

Sandals Resorts International volunteer and 2021 Prime Minister Youth Awardee for Excellence in Environmental Protection, Colleen Dawkins, was excited to be a part of the tree-planting initiative.
Sandals Resorts International team member Tasha-Gaye Davis plants a red mangrove seedling.

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