The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) will be hosting its 4th annual Youth Environment Forum (YEF) from July 23 - 27, 2012 focusing on the World Environment Day theme “Green Economy: Does it include you?” The Forum has over the last three years been successful in meaningfully engaging 246 youngsters from ages 7 to 18 from across Saint Lucia. The aim of the weeklong programme is to empower youths to become advocates for environmental and heritage conservation, thereby, helping us to fulfill two of our objectives; to advocate and promote conservation and to build self-esteem and a love of the country through the appreciation of our heritage.
Like last year, the Forum, will be hosted simultaneously in the north and south of the island. We will be collaborating primarily with the Sustainable Development and Environment Division in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology but will include other partners like the Caribbean Youth Environment Network and other agencies in the environmental field to engage the youngsters with interactive presentations and exiting field trips as we have done in the past.
Since inception the Trust has received generous donations from numerous private and government entities in order to stage the Forum. We are indeed grateful to all our sponsors and we encourage them to continue to see the merit in our efforts to inculcate a sense of appreciation for the environment and our heritage in our future leaders.
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.
This year we endeavour to produce more tangible and long-term outcomes from the Forum. Considering the theme, some of the initiatives we intend to undertake with participants include the setting up of school or home backyard gardening projects, developing a viable product from recycled materials that can possibly carry the YEF brand and participants will be challenged to come up with and implement ways in which they can reduce their household consumption patterns.