Over 100,000 students across the island have boldly taken on the challenge to preserve and protect the environment through the Re-Leaf Environmental Awareness Program (REAP) under the theme 'Eat Locally, Think Globally'. Reggae band Rootz Underground, led by environmental activist Stephen Newland, has partnered with the LASCO Affiliated Companies to host the incentive driven program and awarded these students on Thursday, June 5 at Hope Gardens in commemoration of World Environment Day.
|LASCO team members, LASCO/Ministry of Health Nurse of the Year Awardees and participating students of LASCO REAP are all smiles as they showcase their potted plants ready for planting in the school garden|
LASCO has committed $6 million to the overall undertaking of the initiative including school engagements, posters, literature and the awards luncheon. Additionally, LASCO Distributors Limited undertakes the cost of the bottle collection across all participating schools island wide.
The programme commenced its second year in October 2013 and continued with its initiative to encourage students to participate in sustainable environmental practices including tree planting, recycling, energy conservation and well-kept school and community environments.
The number of schools that participated has increased from 50 in 2013 to 131 schools currently, almost tripling the number. The organizers were also able to extend the initiative to include both primary and preparatory schools and include a song, dance, essay and visual art talent component this year.
Lascelles Chin, Founder and Executive Chairman of the LASCO Affiliated Companies, was pleased with the growth of the initiative. "We are very excited to be a part of such a positive initiative. The increase in almost every success indicator of the programme is testament to the excellent work that is being done in the schools. We are pleased that so many students see the value of caring for the environment and are actively engaging in the program," he said.
The top schools received desktop computers, cash prizes, a getaway at an exclusive resort, Xbox games, medals and trophies. In addition to its overall contribution, LASCO gave the winning school a computer lab with ten desktop computers and to the school that planted the most trees, the Lascelles Chin Award for Environmental Excellence a cash prize of $100,000. Second and third place schools were also awarded, along with sectional prizes, special awards and trophies and medals for other top performing schools courtesy of LASCO REAP's partners.
"LASCO has played a pivotal role in helping us to carry out this program right throughout the year. This entire initiative would not be possible without them and our other partners. With their help we can drive home the point of how valuable these children's work is as it relates to environmental care," said Newland.
Since inception the LASCO REAP Programme has seen more than 7,000 trees planted, gardens grown in over 80 schools, 250,000 plastic bottles cleaned up and returned and, engaged over 100,000 students. LASCO remains committed to initiatives that will engage students in maintaining environmentally sustainable practices.