Sandals Foundation aids Wallings Nature Reserve to rehabilitate Signal Hill
Six hundred (600) fruit and forest trees are set to be planted for the rehabilitation of the island’s second highest peak, Signal Hill.
Standing at 1,198 ft. or 365 meters, Signal Hill has over the years been affected by fires lit by persons trying to access the area. The result has been the loss of healthy forest coverage and overgrowth of the invasive lemongrass plant.
Now, as part of the Sandals Foundation’s commitment to climate action across the Caribbean, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has donated some US $15,000 to the community-run Wallings Nature Reserve for labour, personnel, tools, equipment, travel and planting of the 600 trees by November this year.
One hundred and seventy-one (171) trees have been planted to date, with the reforestation project also set to clean and expand the existing water catchment area.
Refica Attwood, Executive Director at the Wallings Nature Reserve, says the decision to plant fruit trees was strategic of the community-based organization. “We want to ensure food security and so we’re planting majority fruit trees to ensure that future generations can always count on the Wallings Nature Reserve to provide food. In the next 5 years, persons will be able to have breadfruit, lemons, tangerines and others even as they’re hiking in the Reserve.”
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation, says: “Protecting our natural resources has never before been more important. We will continue to partner with organizations like Wallings, because we share a common goal of strengthening and conserving our region’s biodiversity.”
Clarke continued, “Together, we hope to showcase the natural beauty of our islands while also utilizing these nature reserves to teach the importance of biodiversity to both locals and visitors alike.”
The Signal Hill Rehabilitation Project forms part of the Sandals Foundation’s climate action commitment under the Caribbean Tree Planting Project which is being coordinated by the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance in collaboration with Trees That Feed Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative.
The foundation aims to plant over 10,000 trees across the Caribbean by June 2022 with an expansive planting progamme also being executed in Grenada, Jamaica and The Bahamas.