Wow! Is the first thing I would like to say about the Treelympics experience.

Treelympics is a tree planting initiative by ENO, a finish NGO, that mobilizes schools all over the world to plant trees.

For the last 2 years I’ve been working as a teacher at One World Center (OWC) U.S where we equally do a lot of different development work like here in RVA, but being at the Richmond Vale Academy (RVA) school is another type of exciting experience; maybe because it’s a project within itsel.Even though I’ve only been here for a short time I’ve already experienced and learned a lot of things, I sort of jumped right into the action starting with the Treelympics.

Myself together with the July Climate compliance team started the first kick off of the Treelympics on an island called Bequia, just 45 mins away from Kingstown, and I must say that it was a great way to start. Not only did we meet school officials and students but we also got the chance to view the beauty of the island and meet with a lot of local people without all the tourists around; so they actually had a talk with us and get to know our school and mission better. When we first arrived to the island Donnica the guest house owner greeted us and helped us organize transportation. While we had a pick up truck available we used the opportunity to greet the principals and drop off the 20 fruit trees to each school, the school which we were planning to plant at on that same day and also on the following days after.

After we arrived to the guest house and settled in, ate lunch, organized our things, we divided ourselves into group of pairs. Each group visited 2 schools. The first school my partner and I visited was Bequia SDA primary school; the school itself was small but managed to house grades 1-6. Even though only a small group of 15 students participated in the tree planting we presented ‘the importance of trees’ to the whole school which was somewhere between 100-200 students plus staff. During the presentation we could see that the kids were learning a lot and were very interested in why it was important to plant and preserve trees. We even talked a lot about the 2013 disaster that happened right here in St.Vincent. After the presentation we played a short game to quiz the students to see if they had understood the information.

The students were so excited to play the game and to be part of the presentation. Later, together with a staff from the school and 15 students from different grades we planted 20 fruit trees around the school. I must say that I was surprised to see how much the students knew about the differenttrees and how much they were interested in their school having these trees. In fact, the students were so interested in the tree planting they organized almost everything.. like where the trees should be planted and why a certain spot was a good ideal. When we finished we presented the school with a copy of the winner from last year certificate and said our good-byes.

At the end of the day I must say I was in good spirit, I felt happy to be a part of it all the excitement, the community work and most important the development.

Thanks to ENO, Mika Vanhanen, The Mustique Trust, The Ministries of Agriculture, Environment and Education and Bequia Primary School for this wonderful experience.

Kelitha Nelson