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Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman led members from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), and the Forestry Department to a symbolic tree-planting event at the Up Park Camp Cannonball Gate, Monday.

The newly minted chief of defence staff stressed that crucial to the military’s role in protecting Jamaica was the equally important mandate of helping to mitigate against the impact of climate change.

“The protection of Jamaica includes protecting and preserving the environment. Jamaica, as an island state must recognize the interconnectedness between our land mass and the coastal zone. This is crucial to the sustainability and health of the Green and Blue Economy.

“These two areas of the environment are vital to our survival, not least of which is the negative impact of climate change on small island developing states such as Jamaica. We hope that this small event will serve as an example for other entities and individuals to plant trees in order to preserve Jamaica, the land we love, for future generations.

“As a force, we must be diverse in our service. The protection of the environment falls well within our roles and functions, and it is fitting that the Forestry Department has gifted us with the aptly named Cannonball Tree,” the rear admiral stated.

Initiated in October 2019, the National Tree Planting initiative has now reached the home stretch of its mission to plant three millions trees in three years. To date, more than 900,000.000 tree seedlings were planted.

Ainsley Henry, head of the Forestry Department, said The GleanerThey are now increasing their tree-planting efforts by forming partnerships with corporate and public bodies.

“We have major partnerships with companies that have come on board with the initiative and at last estimate, we had planted just under a million trees,” said Henry.

“A big part of how we are facilitating the planting of trees is by providing trees free of cost to the public. Each citizen can obtain up to 10 seedlings at any of our nurseries. These are mostly ornamental and timber trees.

A legacy

“We also have the #MyTreeLegacy which is targeted at getting past students to go back to their alma maters to plant trees and leave a legacy for future generations,” he added.

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The tree-planting exercise saw Wemyss Gorman and the Forestry Department’s CEO planting seedlings of the cannonball tree and the poui tree in the vicinity of the Cannonball monument at Up Park Camp.

The Forestry Department germinated seedlings in order to honor the historic monument, which was erected in memory of the Third West India Regiment in recognition of its role in the construction Arnold Road.

“Every time we plant a tree, it’s a reminder of our commitment to the future generations to take care of our environment. Among the various mandates of the force, environmental protection stands on par with our efforts to keep Jamaica safe in the air, on land, and at sea, as well as in the cyber domain,” said Wemyss Gorman.

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