Richmond Vale Academy carries out major tree planting campaigns every year and around 30 000 trees have been planted since 2012.
Trees provide many important benefits such as:
- filter pollution from the air
- produce oxygen
- help recycle water
- prevent soil loss and erosion
- create shade
- give shelter from wind and rain
- provide homes and food
Right now RVA is involved in the National Soursop tree drive and setting thousands of organic seedlings in the nursery. The Ministry of Agriculture launched a new school based Soursop Planting Initiative in November 2017. This initiative, which is part of a nationwide effort by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Rural Transformation, to introduce one million new trees to our "island-scape," is aimed at combating the vagaries of climate change, as well as providing another avenue for agricultural diversification.
An estimated 6000 soursop seedlings will be available for distribution by the end of 2018 by RVA, which has been specifically chosen for the task on account of the institutions' award winning achievements in tree planting, and other accolades for organic farming and promoting climate change adaptation measures.
“Hold your own Moringa tree” - 10 000 trees.
To mobilise a large number of local people, RVA decided in 2013 to select the Moringa tree for its first campaign to boost the tree planting efforts in the communities. The moringa oleifera tree has been present in St. Vincent for many decades but, before the Rally, few people were using the tree.
Moringa was chosen because of it’s very nutritious abilities. It goes by a variety of names, such as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, or ben oil tree. Almost all parts of the tree can be eaten or used. The leaves and pods are commonly eaten in many parts of the world.
The leaves are an excellent source of various vitamins and minerals. One cup of freshly chopped leaves (21 grams) contains the following:
- Protein: 2 grams
- Vitamin B6: 19% of the RDA
- Vitamin C: 12% of the RDA
- Iron: 11% of the RDA
- Riboflavin (B2): 11% of the RDA
- Vitamin A (from beta-carotene): 9% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 8% of the RDA.
Compared to the leaves, the pods are generally lower in vitamins and minerals. However, they are exceptionally rich in vitamin C. One cup of fresh, sliced pods (100 grams) contains 157% of the daily requirement for vitamin C. The food, people eat today, often lack vitamins, minerals and protein.
The conference participants harvested seeds from trees in Troumaka, Coulls Hill, Layou and Orange Hill and set up a nursery at RVA with 10.000 plants. Under the headline “Hold Your Own Moringa Tree”, the participants distributed trees from a truck to many villages across the country. Several community groups distributed trees in places such as Villa Flat, Rose Place, Sion Hill, Vermont and Rose Hall. More than 300 people came to Richmond Vale Academy to “Hold their own”. A total of 10.000 trees were handed out and planted.
During the campaign, many of the planting events and the awareness actions promoting the health benefits of moringa, were aired on the main media stations. Furthermore, the Moringa Rally had other benefits, it increased the livelihoods of people who started producing and processing moringa commercially for tea, powder, pills, cream and soap.
Planting of trees in disaster areas 2014 - 10 000 trees
In 2014, the Ministry of Agriculture, MCT and RVA teamed up to replant trees in Leeward Villages. These villages were declared level two disaster by the Government after the flash floods 24th of December 2013.
Before the tree planting action, RVA built a nursery and set all the seedlings.
Community groups were identified in North-and South Leeward and the groups were successfully mobilised and took part in the planting actions. 10.000 trees were planted at many locations such as private lands, backyards, common areas, road and riverbanks.
The majority of the trees planted were Moringa trees along with 300 other trees provided by the Forestry Department like: Breadfruit, Mahogany, Sweetsop, Carambola (Five Finger) and Tamarind.
Treelympics 2014 and 2015 - 3500 trees.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Environment invited RVA to take part in a meeting where, with other stakeholders, they analyzed how St. Vincent could participate (and possibly win) “The Olympic Games in Tree Planting”.
This tree planting olympiade was created by an NGO called ENO Environment Online. The NGO aims to engage schools around the world in a global tree planting competition. It was funded by the Finnish Government and was initiated at the RIO+20 conference in 2012.
There are three categories in this annual competition. One category aims to plant the most trees while another aims to do so with the most schools. However, since SVG is a small country, at the meeting everyone decided to go for winning the third category; to plant with the highest percentage of participating schools. Therefore, in the following months participants planted trees with 100 schools and some community groups.
During the two Treelympics, more than 10.000 teachers and students received lessons on the importance of trees prior to the planting actions.
The RRACC project implemented by the OECS Commission, The Inivershall Rastafari Movement, Scotiabank and the Mustique Charitable Trust were the main sponsors of the planting and education actions held in SVG. In 2014 and 2015, the competition was held between 114 countries and St. Vincent won gold in the category: The World’s most active country. Both victories put the county on the world map as a country caring for the environment.
The Treelympics 2015 was carried out like the one in 2014. However, unlike in 2014 (where the trees planted were mostly Moringa trees) in 2015, a variety of fruit trees like Soursop, Mango, Papaya and Cherries were planted. Over the two years, 3.500 trees were planted.
Treelympics Website: www.treelympics.org