Since 2009 the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) has been staging its annual Youth Environment Forum (YEF). YEF, with the assistance of many agencies in the environmental field and through many of our benevolent sponsors, has over the years meaningfully engaged 246 youngsters from age 7 to 18 from across the island. Our aim is “to empower youths to become advocates for environmental and heritage conservation”.
YEF 2012, which is slated for July 23 – 27, we will focus on the World Environment Day theme “Green Economy: Does it include you?” The following gives an idea of the past themes;
• “Forests for People” - 2011 (Focused on the important role of forests to our everyday lives).
• “Many Species, One Planet, One Future” – 2010 (This theme focused on biodiversity and the importance of conserving Saint Lucia’s endemic and endangered species and the threat faced from human activities and invasive species); and
• “Greening Fair Helen” – 2009 (Participants were exposed to various topics such as Climate Change, Deforestation, Garbage Disposal and Sand Mining among other topics and were challenged to think about their role as environmental stewards and how they could implement a home, school or community project after the Forum).
Some of the successes of YEF include the formation and revival of Environmental Clubs in several schools; implementing various projects aimed at Greening Fair Helen; exposure for participants on radio talk show programmes and television newscasts and an opportunity to forge lasting friendships, among others. In keeping with the theme “Forests for People”, a few of the tangible outputs of YEF 2011 included the planting of 40 Latanier Palms along the Union Trail, making of brooms from the latanier palms as well as various types of jewelry and craft from a mixture of natural and man-made materials.