BNT Kicks Off “50 for 50” Tree Planting Campaign on International Women’s Day
March 10th, 2023 – Nassau, Bahamas
This International Women’s Day, the women of The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) joined First Lady Ann-Marie Davis and Minister of State for Urban Renewal the Hon. Lisa Rahming for a ceremonial tree planting at Lou Adderley Park.
The event officially launched a “50 for 50” tree planting campaign that will see the BNT, under the patronage of the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister and with sponsorship from Aliv, plant 50 native trees across The Bahamas on the road to the country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.
This International Women’s Day is special for the BNT because for the first time in the history of the organization, it has a female Executive Director in Lakeshia Anderson-Rolle, who herself is supported by a dynamic team of women leaders who also participated in the event: Director of Development & Communications Anna Bancroft; Director of Education Portia Sweeting; and Director of Science & Policy Falon Cartwright.
Anderson-Rolle said: “I’m so proud to stand here today as the first female Executive Director of the BNT, supported by my core team of talented women. Women stand out as leaders in the environmental movement here in The Bahamas. Women lead awareness of the need to protect the environment and are advocates for adhering to the sustainable development goals promoted by the United Nations Development Program, which promotes sustainable tourism practices and use of our natural resources.
“These trees we plant here today celebrate our country’s 50 years of Independence, but they also celebrate our female environmental warriors, who advocate for a healthy and climate-conscious Bahamas that acknowledges our environment as the key to our way of life.”
The women ensemble planted two mahogany trees and one breadfruit tree. The mahogany was grown from seed in the botanical nursery at The Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (LLNPP), a protected area on Eleuthera managed by the BNT, that serves as a facility for the cultivation and preservation of native plants. As part of the “50 for 50” tree planting campaign, LLNPP Botanist Dr. Ethan Freid selected specific trees to complement each planting site and to ensure a suitable environment for the optimal growth of the plants. Mahogany trees are valuable for their hardwood and were used early in Bahamian history for building and trade with American colonies. They were selected for the Lou Adderley Park because of the ample shade they will provide for the Marathon community park.
Mrs. Davis also planted a breadfruit tree in support of her “Trees that Feed” campaign, which focuses on planting trees that can serve as food sources for their communities. Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants and requires limited care. She said: “It’s always good to partner with nature, and The Bahamas National Trust is all about that. I’m especially happy to be here today to add to these indigenous trees in this park so that people can recognize what these trees are about – their usefulness and resilience.
“In this tropical area where we have so many extreme climate conditions going on, we never know what position we’ll find ourselves in. This is why the focus was made on planting trees that feed – the resilient kind like the breadfruit tree. It is a tree that can sustain a family of four for a decade. Also, it’s gluten-free and provides lots of nutrients.“
“People say we have to get back to basics. This is probably one of the things they mean – getting back to basics with food security and good nourishment. It’s so simple – just to plant a breadfruit tree that doesn’t need much care – except for watering in the early stages, and nature takes care of the rest.”
Minister Rahming, who is also the Member of Parliament for Marathon, which includes the Lou Adderley Park, shared what the action will mean to members of her constituency.
“This is basically one of the only parks in Marathon,” she said, “and Marathon is so huge – but residents come from here, there, and everywhere. We have every event in this park. Soon you’ll see our new swings and everything will be upgraded. Just recently we did the wall. So people are excited to come here and I’m excited for this. I know the residents in this area are going to make use of these trees.”
Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, release oxygen, offer cooling shade, block damaging winds, attract birds and wildlife, provide food sources, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, help to clean our water, and beautify our surroundings. The BNT’s goal for` its “50 for 50” campaign is to plant 50 trees across seven different islands in The Bahamas on the nation’s road to its 50th Anniversary of Independence.
To learn more about the role the BNT plays to manage terrestrial and marine national parks, protect species that inhabit them, and inform environmental policy, please visit its website: www.bnt.bs and follow/subscribe to various social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Media Contact: Leah Carr | firstname.lastname@example.org | (242) 429-7902
About the BNT:
The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959 to build and manage the national park system of The Bahamas. Possibly the only non-governmental organization in the world charged with such a responsibility, the BNT works daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas through stewardship and education for present and future generations. There are currently 32 National Parks managed by the BNT with more than 2 million acres of marine and terrestrial areas protected.