Environment

Maryland All-Age takes Second Sep Win

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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Maryland All-Age emerged champions of the Schools' Environment Programme (SEP) for the 2016/17 academic year for the second-straight year, beating a field of 15 schools which vied for the top prize at the SEP Research Day and Awards Ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston last Tuesday, June 13.

Nine awards were handed out in seven categories. Among them were Best Research Display, Best New School, Most Knowledgeable Students — which all went to Sanguinetti Primary — and Most Creative Display, which went to Jack's River Primary.

Principal of Sanguinetti Primary Winnifred Deacon-Palmer beamed with pride at her school's copping of awards in three categories.

“I'm elated. We've worked very hard. The students put out a lot of effort and so we were rewarded,” she remarked.

Schools were awarded based on their environmental research and an internal assessment of their campus-based greening and solid-waste management activities, with the champion school receiving the highest overall score.

Research topics ranged from determining the impact of blue stone on Jack's River in Clarendon, to the impacts of sand mining, farming and solid waste on the Rio Minho.

In most cases, the student researchers explained that their results had already been shared with fellow students and local communities. Some students had invited local authorities, including the parish councils, National Solid Waste Management Authority, Ministry of Health, and Rural Agricultural Development Agency, to visit the communities where they conducted their research and provided further information to residents.

Guest speaker at the awards ceremony Thalia Lyn, honorary consul to Thailand and chair of the NCB Foundation, applauded the work of the students and their teachers.

SEP is Jamaica Environment Trust's (JET's) flagship environmental education project, and was made possible in the 2016/17 academic year by a number of organisations, led by the Natural Resources Conservation Authority and Total Jamaica Limited.

Managing director of Total Jamaica, David Ducognon, emphasised the importance of organisations creating long-term partnerships which effect positive environmental changes.

“We have a duty to reduce our carbon footprint…contributing to the Paris Agreement to make our planet great again,” he said, eliciting wide applause from the mixed audience.

The quote mirrored French President Emanuel Macron's recent response to the US decision to exit the Paris Agreement.

JET CEO Diana McCaulay spoke with pride about SEP, explaining that it is the longest-running environmental education programme of its kind in Jamaica, and has impacted over 300,000 students. The 2017 awards ceremony also recognised the 20th anniversary of SEP.

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