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Jubilee tree planting project aims to green Cayman

Environment 14 Feb, 2022 Follow News

Members of the National Tree Planting Advisory Committee at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park; the Committee includes representatives of the Cayman Islands Government, National Trust for the Cayman Islands, Caribbean Blooms, Cayman Nature, and the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park

Close-up of a Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) tree blossom; Cayman Islands residents are encouraged to propagate fallen Mahogany seeds to support the Jubilee tree planting programme (Photos by Nick Johnson)

As part of the Cayman Islands Government’s year-long schedule of events and initiatives to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the Ministry of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency is launching an ambitious national tree planting project to create a living legacy that honours The Queen’s leadership and benefits future generations.

With a goal to plant 70 trees in each constituency, of which 70 will be Mahogany (Swietenia mahagoni) trees across all three islands, the ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’ initiative is the Cayman Islands contribution to the Queen’s Green Canopy project in the United Kingdom.

Premier and Minister of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency Hon. Wayne Panton personally recommended the selection of Mahogany in honour of The Queen’s seven decades of service.

“Mahogany is an incredibly important tree in terms of its deep cultural and historical significance to the Cayman Islands, so it was a natural choice to celebrate Her Majesty’s enduring legacy while fostering connection between our community and our natural environment,” Panton said. “To plant 1,330 trees across our islands is a big goal but I know we can achieve it by working together. From schools to church groups to service clubs and corporate green teams, everyone can get involved in this earth-saving project and help green Cayman.”

By focusing on native and endemic plants with cultural significance - like Mahogany, Cabbage (Guapira discolor), Strawberry (Eugenia axillaris) and Cayman Sage (Salvia caymanensis) – the Queen’s Jubilee tree planting will support local biodiversity, enhance community wellbeing and combat climate change. The project also promotes the planting of fruit-bearing trees to bolster local food security.

Ministry of Sustainability & Climate Resiliency Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn said the Plant a Tree for the Jubilee project supports a number of objectives outlined in the Strategic Policy Statement.

“Trees are remarkable allies to our efforts to create a more sustainable and climate resilient Cayman Islands,” Ahearn said. “Trees improve our physical environments, sequester carbon, provide important ecosystem services that support biodiversity, enhance community well-being and, in the case of fruit-bearing trees, even support increased local food security.”

Trees planted over the course of the year will be registered on a digital map and presented to Her Majesty The Queen as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.


How to get involved

Individuals, schools, constituencies and corporations are all encouraged to get involved in planting trees for the Platinum Jubilee.

The Cayman Islands Government is collaborating with a variety of organisations to secure seeds and saplings free of charge for schools, parks and other places of community significance, including the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, Caribbean Blooms, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and the Department of Agriculture. A number of local nurseries have also pledged to donate trees or provide discounts in support of the programme.

Ahearn said: “The fact that so many local organisations have leapt at the chance to support this programme speaks volumes about the importance of trees to everyone in our community. We are also indebted to our advisory committee, led by Senior Policy Advisor Kristen Smith, whose members have been working behind the scenes for the past few months to help us turn an idea into a reality. We are grateful and inspired by the support and look forward to seeing these seeds of change take root and flourish.”

Representatives of local schools and non-profit organisations are encourage to contact the Ministry at treeplanting@gov.ky to learn more about requesting trees or seeds. Mahogany trees are also easily propagated from seed.

The Plant a Tree for the Jubilee initiative will run throughout 2022. A new website and social media pages have been established to provide regular project updates and planting tips.

In addition to encouraging tree planting events across the Cayman Islands, the initiative also encourages residents to recognise trees of cultural, historical or environmental importance. Individuals or organisations with trees to spare are encouraged to consider donating trees by emailing treeplanting@gov.ky; the Ministry will then connect donors with local schools and non-profit organisations in need of trees.

For more information on how to get involved, register your tree planting, donate a tree or nominate a tree, please visit: www.gov.ky/national-tree-planting

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