JEMS, partners walk successful
May 7, 2010
JEMS, partners walk successful

More than 175 youth and adults joined JEMS in its 2010 Environmental Walk from the Enhams Community Centre to the Brighton Salt Pond on Saturday, April 24.{{more}}

The Environmental Management Department of the Ministry of Health and the Environment, LIME, and Southeast Development Inc. (SEDI) teamed up with JEMS Progressive Community Organization to sponsor the Environmental Walk commemorating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The walking tour set out from the Enhams Community Centre, following remarks from sponsors and a brief educational segment by local climate change specialist Ottis Joslyn.

Joslyn talked about the impact of climate change on biological diversity, referencing specifically the displacement of species and the loss of genetic diversity. Joslyn challenged attendees to do what they could to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, such as planting trees to allow for carbon sequestration and the migration of birds (coastal connectivity). He stressed the importance of education programs and encouraged the young people to take up the task of community enforcement of environmental laws through partnerships with the relevant Government Institutions. Referencing the walk, Joslyn told participants to pay attention to the species they saw and to see how the species interacted with the environment.

JEMS President Rhonda Lee noted that this was the second year for JEMS, along with its partners and affiliates, to organize an event commemorating Earth Day. “This event is not just about creating an awareness of our role in taking care of the environment,” said Lee, but to educate about the importance of proper use of the landfill and the preservation of our mangrove swamps. Most importantly, the goal is to bring communities together for one common purpose.” Lee added.

The walking tour proceeded from the Enhams Community Centre to the Brighton Salt Pond by way of the Diamond Landfill and Brighton Beach, with environmental education segments along the way.

Diamond Landfill Supervisor Kavern Ferril led a tour through the landfill, explaining the purpose of the landfill and showing out how waste was compacted and buried, ensuring minimal impact on the environment.

JEMS founder and immediate past president Andrew Simmons spoke to the group at Brighton Beach, pointing out Milligan Cay and the changes in the coastline he has witnessed over the past decade.

By the time the group reached the Brighton Salt Pond more than two hours after setting out on their environmental walk, they were more than ready for the food prepared by caterer Rosemary Sayers and funded by contributions from the Environmental Management Department of the Ministry of Health and the Environment, and LIME.

Edmund Jackson, Director of the Environmental Management Department, stated that “protection of our fragile biodiversity is critical for our survival. The walk will provide the participants with a practical and fun way to learn about the environment, and it is for this reason the Ministry of Health and the Environment is honoured to be a part of this activity.”

Earlier in the day, LIME General Manager Agnus Steele commented on the community partnership with JEMS. He said that he and LIME Marketing Manager Fitz Huggins were happy to be a part of the walk and encouraged everyone to enjoy the walk. “This partnership with JEMS supports one of our CEO David Shaw Five Cs initiatives to support Community. JEMS is one of the most active community groups, and LIME is more than happy to lend support to JEMS and their environmental projects,” said Steele.

The Environmental Walk was made a success by the participation of eight schools and six organizations. The largest group was from Girls’ High School, which had 27 walkers. In addition to Girls High School, participating schools included Buccament Bay Secondary School, Campden Park Secondary School, Layou Government School, St Clair Dacon Secondary School, St. Joseph’s Convent, Marriaque, Stubbs Government School and Thomas Saunders Secondary School. Participating organizations included LIME, JEMS, JEMS Youth Ambassadors for Positive Living, SEDI, and volunteers from Japan and the United States Peace Corps.