Young people from different parts of the world are taking the initiative to fight against climate change; we can see an example in the "Fridays for Future movement". Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is no exception.
Richmond Vale Academy had the great opportunity to share 2 weeks with a group of teenagers from different villages of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Creative and spontaneous boys and girls took part in an intensive program where they had lessons about sustainable farming, climate change, the importance of mangroves for the protection of wetland, how to build a backyard garden, biodiversity, ecotourism, protection of whales and more.
Tykel Pierre about his experience in the summer Camp:
"My time spent at the Richmond Vale Academy has made me look at life a lot differently. It helped me understand the value of life, ways to prolong lives and how to make the earth better and safer. The summer camp educated me on ways to attempt the prevention of the negative effects brought about by climate change, and it also helped me improve my communication skills along with leading me to realize the creative side within me."
Together they learned different skills through actions that allowed them to get closer to the effects of global warming. For example, during a clean up action on the beach, they had the opportunity to see the large amount of garbage that arrives at the shore of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and therefore, to create a panorama of what happens not only in a small fraction of this country but in the entire world.
They experienced an insight into a permaculture building of a backyard garden through the making of a lasagna bed, where they created different layers of organic matter to nourish the soil and plants. The first layer was the soil, then the manure was distributed, a cardboard layer was placed on top, then green matter or green leaves and finally a layer of dried leaves. This prevents the soil from losing moisture in the dry season and creates a good ecosystem to grow healthy and organic food.
Theory and practice always went hand in hand; this is how they managed to complete a beautiful process and thanks to the UK friends of Mustique Charitable Trust which made it possible.
Through walks, visits to different parts of the island, cultural exchange, clean up actions, drumming, music, dance, movies, documentaries, presentations, teamwork and good energy it all came together as one big learning process.
By creating synergies we can provide an opportunity for the new generation to generate important changes for their communities and to replicate information that brings them hope for new perspectives and a world in which it is possible to live in a self-sustainable, dignified and ecological way.
important changes for their communities and to replicate information that brings them hope for new perspectives and a world in which it is possible to live in a self-sustainable, dignified and ecological way.
The horse school at Richmond Vale Academy (RVA), which catered primarily for international clients, is welcoming local students, thanks to sponsorship from Tus-T Water. With the sponsorship, RVA, whose curriculum focuses on sustainable livelihoods, has been able to recruit a Vincentian horse trainer as well as welcome local students. The new trainer is Tishorn Edwards, who has over the past 10 years, learned the skill from RVA director, Stina Herberg, an experienced horse handler whose skills have been featured in Equestrian, an international magazine that focuses on horses.
Edwards obtained his own horses but continued to be connected to the RVA horse programme. RVA has six horses and focuses on teaching children about caring for and handling horses in a holistic manner. The children are taught horse nutrition as well as hoof care, grooming, handling, understanding horse anatomy, tack, kindness, how to behave around horses and also basic riding skills. To enrol, students must first apply and try a first time lesson during which they are evaluated for admission into a 10-lesson basic course, five of which involve learning to ride a horse. The school will be open every Saturday and has an opening offer of EC$15 per person per lesson, each of which last 40 minutes. Children must bring at least one parent when attending classes.
RVA also has a programme where students can work to earn for lessons. The work includes cutting grass, collecting manure or other kind of barn work.
In 2007, a herd of horses that needed a new home were brought to Richmond Vale Academy. They included mares, gelding and a stallion, ages 2 to 20 years old. However, because many of the horses in St. Vincent are related, RVA did not breed the horses, but still has four of the original stock.
The RVA horses have mainly been used for an annual fundraising event where Herberg teaches the language of horses, body language communication, focus, leadership and team work -- “through the way of the horse”. “Because we now can work together on a more regular basis it is possible that youths from St. Vincent can come and learn more about horses and also to ride them,” said Herberg, who has taught the language of horses in several countries and has been featured in many magazines.
Herberg said that learning to handle horses is a useful skill, especially in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with its ecotourism potential. She however, cautioned that it a very long journey to offering any kind of eco tourism activities that involves riding horses. “Learning to train a horses takes a long time and it also takes a long time for a horse to become strong and willing and safe to give trail rides. Further, it is costly because of equipment, tack and veterinary needs,” she said. “However, RVA’s programme is a first step along that journey.”
She said that while it could take up to five years for a handler to develop the skills needed to offer a horse-related ecotourism experience, RVA has successfully taken tourists on walks with horses through the rainforest. “Tourists have been absolutely astonished by this experience,” Herberg said.
At the school we have a horse club. If you join the club you can learn how to take care of horses, how they communicate, natural horse management, fence repair, hoof care, feeding, medical care and training.
Every year we run a course where the general public can come for a 3 day clinic called Sahaja Liberty Horse Clinic.
ABOUT THE SAHAJA LIBERTY HORSE TRAINING COURSE Length: 3 days Date: 30th of November - 2nd of December Cost: US$ 1190,- (incl. food and accommodation) In this exciting 3-day course, you will learn to work with horses at liberty inspired by herd behavior. The way horses interact with each other maintains cooperative relationships, safety and survival. In the following two days or more you can dive, hike, ride and take more one to one lessons with Marina or Stina
With liberty work, the horses become willing participants. You will learn how to translate that knowledge and understanding to the back of a horse and have the opportunity for a quiet ride through the rainforest.
During the 3 day course you will:
Get to know the Academy’s herd of former wild horses.
Learn to connect with horses at liberty. Energetic principles, body language, tracking the rhythm of the horse is all part of understanding how to get into a relationship with a horse on a deeper level.
Enjoy a quiet trail ride, visits to the beach and the river with the horses.
Enjoy delicious & healthy meals plus lots of available fruits of the season throughout the day.
Lot’s of FUN!
Relax in the evenings under the stars on the terrace or in the field with the horses in view of the La Soufriere Volcano, the ocean & the rainforest.
Meet new, like-minded people and create memories that last a lifetime.
PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATE (PDC) Length: 10 days Date: 1-10th of July 2019. Cost: US$ 1,500 (includes food and accommodation)
The Permaculture Design Certificate course is a seventy-two hour (minimum) training experience. Students who complete the full curriculum earn the internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate. It provides an introduction to permaculture design as set forth by the movement's co-founder Bill Mollison.
Credit for this course is now accepted by a growing number of universities around the world. To date, thousands of permaculture designers worldwide have been certified through this course, and now comprise a global network of educators and ecological activists who influence major corporations, individuals creating new business alternatives, and groups of committed people working together to change the way we view and design into our landscapes.
The course covers sustainable living systems for a wide variety of landscapes and climates. It includes the application of permaculture principles to food production, home design & construction, energy conservation and generation, and explores the social and economic structures that support a culture that cares for the planet and all its inhabitants.
The PDC can be taken as part of the Six months Climate Compliance Conference and the Fighting with The Poor Programs at a different cost.
MASTER SCUBA DIVER Length – 3-4 days Cost: US$ 450,-
Join the best of the best in recreational scuba diving and live the dive life as a PADI Master Scuba Diver. The Master Scuba Diver rating places you in an elite group of respected divers who have earned this rating through both significant experience and scuba training. Fewer than two percent of divers ever achieve this rating. When you flash your Master Scuba Diver card, people know that you’ve spent time underwater in a variety of environments and had your share of dive adventures.
The path starts with earning a PADI Open Water Diver certification, followed by PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and PADI Rescue Diver (or qualifying certifications). You also need to earn five PADI Specialty Diver certifications and have logged a minimum of 50 dives.