Castries, June 6, 2023 – It was a case of déjà vu – returning to a place already visited, to do there what was done before. On Saturday, May 27, volunteers from the St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC) teamed up with the Do-Nation Foundation to plant one hundred and fifty (150) trees in the Belle Vue Forest Reserve, Vieux-Fort. The designated area was opposite Morne Bois Den, where, in 2018, LUCELEC volunteers had planted trees as part of a forest restoration drive.
The volunteers journeyed from Castries to the tree planting area in the early morning, accompanied by their children – some of whom had been mere babies the last time the area was visited! The trees planted in the Belle Vue Forest Reserve were domestic trees – citrus, including grapefruit, mandarin and oranges, lemons, lime and cocoa, soursop and love apples.
Ten hectares of land have been replanted to date, under the South East Coast Rehabilitation Project that currently employs twenty-five (25) people. An additional 2,500 hectares are expected to be planted in its remaining years. The Project is funded by the United Nations Environment Programme. It is aimed at “ecosystem management and climate change mitigation” through integrated ecosystem management and restoration of forests and abandoned lands in the country’s South East Coast.
“What we are doing is giving value to these areas. The plants we are putting in the ground can be used for different purposes. There is a valuable market for cocoa and other citrus plants. So far, the project is two years in from inception and we are looking at another two years. We have a total of 25 persons employed under that project and if I count all of you that’s even more persons employed for one day so LUCELEC thanks for coming, thanks for taking part in this tree planting, you’re doing a great service to the country,” says Forestry Officer Hazel Elliott.
LUCELEC’s support for tree planting initiatives is part of the Company’s environmental stewardship programme that includes the use of shielded conductors in wooded areas to minimize tree trimming, harvesting rain water for use at its Cul De Sac facility and supporting education and training programmes in the management of the environment.
The volunteers have been told that in 6 months to one year, they can return (again) to see the progress on the fruits of their Saturday labour.