On April 22nd GVI Fiji’s team celebrated Earth Day by planting Vesi trees at Ratu Meli Memorial School (RMMS). Vesi are commonly used for coastal protection and windbreaks in Fiji, but in this case the main purpose for planting these trees was to help prevent soil erosion and flooding that occurs at the school during the rainy season. The volunteers were helped by groups of Class 7 and 8 students who were extremely enthusiastic and keen to get involved.
A total of 18 trees were planted at RMMS, and each group of students will continue to monitor the growth of the trees that they planted as part of their weekly gardening lessons. The aim of getting the students involved in the planting of the Vesi trees was to foster a sense of responsibility for their group’s trees and in so doing ensure they are cared for and properly nurtured. The students were already talking about a competition to see whose tree will grow fastest and tallest! In addition to planting the trees, the volunteers also facilitated discussions with the students about the importance of trees, protecting the environment and climate change. When asked why it is beneficial to have more trees in their villages and around the school, many of the students shouted out that it is because trees give you oxygen and provide shade
Along with promoting Earth Day, planting Vesi will also help RMMS become recognized as a Blue School by the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance. In addition to re-forestation initiatives, the Blue Schools Programme aims to increase the scope of lessons on environmental protection in schools and Earth Day presented an excellent opportunity for GVI to do so in a creative way with the students of Ratu Meli School.
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