01 Nov 2009

West Indian Tobacco Co. plants thousands of trees at Aripo & Asa Wright Nature Centre

Conservation & Education News, News of Asa Wright

On Friday October 23 more than 100 staff members of the West Indian Tobacco Company and several invited guests gathered at Spring Hill to plant the final lot of 9,000 tree seedlings. Earlier in the year, the company had approached the Centre with a proposal to offset their industrial carbon emissions by planting 9,000 trees.
In need of a partner to provide the land space and to ensure the
trees were protected, the company chose Asa Wright.
Over 8,000 trees were planted at our L’Orange Estate in the Aripo valley by persons hired from Aripo Village by West Indian Tobacco. Asa Wright, through Education and Outreach Officer Kenneth Fournillier and
Conservation Officer Atkin Isaac, advised the company on the selection of suitable trees and on the planting methods and sequences. The final 500 trees were selected fruit trees planted at Spring Hill by the volunteers
who arrived early enough to enjoy breakfast among the birds on the verandah. They were then taken to the Jonnie Fisk Conference Centre where the volunteers were addressed by AWNC Chairman Dr. Carol James, West Indian Tobacco’s Operations Director Mr. Sheldon Taitt, and Member of Parliament for Arima, the Honourable Pennelope Beckles. Dr. James, in welcoming the initiative, explained why the Centre had accepted the offer to partner with West Indian Tobacco on this conservation exercise. She called for more local companies to live up to this level of stewardship over the natural environment and adopt similar initiatives. Mr. Taitt spoke of his company’s commitment to “neutralising their carbon footprint” with this exercise, and thanked Asa Wright for accepting and assisting the project.
Describing herself as “Member of Parliament for the Northern Range,” Honourable Pennelope Beckles declared her pleasure at having this project come to her constituency, and for the choice of hiring young people from Aripo to plant and nurture the trees until they can sustain themselves. Following the addresses, the gathering was shown a video presentation of the tree-planting exercise, from concept to completion, before all walking out through the rain to plant the final 500 trees. All outfitted in bright yellow T-shirts supplied by West
Indian Tobacco, 120 people, including Ms. Beckles and Dr. James, walked the length of the driveway to plant the fruit trees along the Arima Blanchiesseuse Road.
November 2009

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