Defending champion Holland Primary School in St. Elizabeth has copped the 2019 Schools Environment Programme (SEP) research competition.
The institution’s research topic, Marine/Coastal Ecosystems, focused on wetlands and their importance to the natural environment.
Holland Primary was among the 15 top-performing schools for the 2018/2019 academic year that participated in the annual event, which included exhibitions displaying the environmental research conducted by the team from each school.
The displays were judged by environmental, education and conservation practitioners, as well as representatives from SEP’s corporate sponsors.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, addressed participants during the awards ceremony on June 12 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
He commended students and staff from the participating schools for the ingenuity and hard work put into mounting the displays.
“In this group, I see budding researchers, ecologists, scientists, academics, geologists and climate change specialists,” he said.
“We are going to need the help of this group in the near future as the world grapples with environmental degradation and climate change. Based on what I have seen here today – and in interacting with the youngsters, they are absolutely astute in relation to environmental management.”
The minister also called for more private sector support in ensuring continuation of the programme.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), Suzanne Stanley, who has been a SEP judge for several years, lauded the participating schools.
“By far, this was one of the most outstanding years in research that I have seen. You really did very well. We recognise all the hard work that goes into your projects,” she said.
“These young Jamaicans are tomorrow’s leaders, and we really have to adequately prepare them for the future they will inherit. That requires commitment in providing the tools they need to tackle global challenges. Environmental education is an important part of creating the change we all want to see in Jamaica.”
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