St Helena : St Helena - The Millennium Forest Project wins Blue Turtle Award
Submitted by Saint Helena Herald (Public Relations Information Office) 04.04.2011 (Article Archived on 18.04.2011)
The Millennium Forest initiative has won St Helena the JNCC, Blue Turtle Award. This was celebrated at a reception at Plantation House on Tuesday evening 29th March 2011.
The Millennium Forest Project wins Blue Turtle Award
The Millennium Forest initiative has won St Helena the JNCC, Blue Turtle Award. This was celebrated at a reception at Plantation House on Tuesday evening 29th March 2011. At the same time the St Helena Government also hosted an event in Westminster which was led by SHG UK Representative, Kedell Worboys.
With these events taking place simultaneously invited guests both at Plantation House and at the Palace of Westminster were able to hear all speeches made on the night.
The Reception in Westminster saw presentations from Richard Benyon MP, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Minister, and Alan Duncan MP, DfID Minister. Both of them have specific responsibility for the Overseas Territories.
Councillor Raymond Williams, who is in the UK for overseas business and fittingly is the Chair of the Natural Resources Development and Environment Committee, received the award on behalf of the Island.
In his speech Councillor Williams remarked on his delight on receiving the award for the Island and thanked the JNCC for having chosen St Helena. He also commended the hard work of all the people involved in the Millennium Forest Project.
The Reception held at Plantation House was attended by some ninety invited guests all of them having played an important a role in the development and success of the Millennium Forest at some time.
Dr Rebecca Cairns-Wicks received the Island version of the cheque on behalf of the St Helena National Trust. Dr Cairns-Wicks is the President of the Trust and was one of the creators of the Millennium Forest Project dedicating a lot of her time and hard work in driving the initiative forward.
Prior to these events, His Excellency Governor Gurr had also prepared a video clip to play at the Reception in Westminster. In his clip Governor Gurr spoke of how on how thrilled he was for the Millennium Forest to receive this prestigious award and how all involved in the project would be celebrating such success.
He spoke of the Millennium Forest as being a good idea having existed now for ten years with people of all ages being involved and having planted a tree. Governor Gurr went on to add that the trees are growing well and healthy with the forest now even spilling down into Prosperous Bay Plain, the proposed airport site “Tourists getting of the plane will be able to look across and see the greenery that we are working hard to make a reality. Thank you all from here on St Helena for this award,” said Governor Gurr.
The Blue Turtle Award is awarded annually by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) for nature conservation work undertaken by an individual or group of individuals from an Overseas Territory or Crown Dependency, who have made a valuable contribution in their territory or dependency.
The project needed to demonstrate innovation and to have made a real difference.
The 2010 Blue Turtle Award received nominations from seven different Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. The judging panel collectively agreed that the St Helena Millennium Forest Project was the winner and as a result the Island claimed the trophy and £500 prize money plus an additional £1000 to contribute to an Overseas Territory or crown dependency of their choice.
Tony Weighell, Head of JNCC’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies Programme and one of the panel of judges for the award, commented: “The panel unanimously voted the St Helena Millennium Forest project as this year’s winner. We were particularly impressed with the scale of the project and its long-term vision to make a real difference to the rich biodiversity of this island that was under serious threat. This award was even more fitting as it was won in the International Year of Biodiversity and is being presented in the International Year of Forests.”
The Millennium Forest Project started in 2000 in a bid to restore a native forest habitat through encouraging the community to plant their own Gumwood trees to create a forest for the future.
In December 2010 on its 10th anniversary, the Millennium Forest reached its benchmark of 10,000 trees.
Public Relations/Information Office
Office of the Chief Secretary
31 March 2011