August 3, 2012
Youths get first-hand lesson on Vincentian heritage, environment

Eighteen young persons from the Central Leeward constituency now have a better understanding of and appreciation for parks and protected areas and the wider natural environment of St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG),{{more}} following a one-week summer programme, organized by Layou Heritage and Tourism Organization, in conjunction with National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority.

Hailed as a “success”, the inaugural summer programme was held at the Layou Petroglyph Park Site, under the theme “Our Heritage; Know It, Love It, And Learn It”.

From July 23 to 27, the 18 secondary school students, age 11 to 16, benefited from a plethora of facilitators from different agencies including the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority, Forestry Department, National Trust, Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Culture, the Environmental Management Department, Marion House and the Layou Heritage and Tourism Organization.

Some of the focus areas and objectives of the summer programme were to learn and appreciate heritage value of petroglyphs and other similar cultural landmarks and also to enable participants to explore the linkages of parks and protected areas and petroglyphs, as well as other similar heritage to socio-economic development, especially bearing in mind economic role of tourism.

Director of the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority Andrew Wilson described the summer programme as one that is unique, because of the elements it portrayed.

“We believe the programme is both unique and historic… Often in our country there are several summer programmes during the summer that are sporting, arts centered, and Bible based and cultural.

“Very rarely, if at all, we have a programme that seeks to address environmental conservation, heritage and protected areas,” Wilson said.

The participants also visited Vermont Nature Trail and the Buccament Bay Resort, as part of a field trip on July 26.

Superintendent of Rivers, Beaches and Recreation Sites Hayden Billingy, said the field trip was part of efforts to “increase their appreciation for the environment and the ecosystem services derived from it. Sponsors of this year’s summer programme include Nature Care and Buccament Bay Resort.”

As part of the closing ceremony, last Friday, the participants were awarded certificates for their successful participation in the summer programme.

“I learnt a lot of things I never knew about since I came to this camp and I enjoyed it a lot,” Emmol Lyscott, one of the participants, said.(AA)