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Richmond Vale Academy head plants 50 trees for 50th birthday

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The devastating impact of climate change is evident all around us and the signs are everywhere. People and wildlife are already suffering the consequences, but there is something we can do to play our part in protecting and preserving our environment.

If climate denial is going to be our attitude, one climate change activist has made it her life mission to be the voice of reality as Climate change and compliance are everything to her.

Stina Herberg, a lover and trainer of horses, the director of SVG Horse School and founding member of the Liberty Trainers Network and also the present principal at the Richmond Vale Academy (RVA), saw it fit to plant 50 trees for her 50th birthday as a gift to herself and the environment.

With a 10 years’ perspective, Richmond Vale Academy (RVA) launched its St Vincent Climate Compliance Conference in 2012, aiming at forming the future of St Vincent into that of being a more climate compliant country. Climate compliant means healthy food and renewable energy, secure and ready for climate change. At the RVA: they focus on biodiversity, carbon neutral energy, food and water, emergency relief, public awareness and tree planting among other activities.

“It was an honour to be able to see another year with health and its a bit special when you turn 50, ”Stina recounts.

“I wanted to do it a bit special because the community engagement, particularly in North leeward, was taking strides in taking care of the environment.”

She also said it was good to celebrate with 50 persons as she partied with the likes of Daren Andrews, close friends and families from the surrounding communities in which she works. Undoubtedly, her love and passion for the environment is evident, as she requested her friends and loved ones take action with her as she only accepted plants as gifts, championing her, cause for her “plant 50 trees” birthday celebration.

She said the group that was at her birthday was very diverse, from the very young to politicians, and farmers. She was happy to have persons from the community, workers and persons from all around SVG. She made special mention of Erica Matthews, a member of staff, who has been working at RVA for many years and is the main person who cuts all the passion fruits that is sold to Vincy Fresh and the different supermarkets. Erica is said to have cut some 100,000 passion fruits every year, which Stina describes as a talent. She says she thinks its nice when people can come together and use the opportunities we all have to build more community spirit and care for our environment.It is her hope that this would spark an idea for others to consider how they can spend their birthdays in an environmentally friendly way.

She stated “The more we do our little part in our little corners to build community is very valuable in these times we are living in.”

Leaving healthy and positive footprints is important to her, and part of her work’s challenge finds her encouraging and training persons to become climate change activists and climate compliant.. For the RVA, the vision is the transformation of its natural environment into a climate compliant environment, becoming pioneers in food security, a carbon neutral nation ready for climate change.

The La soufrière tree was planted as a symbolic gesture during the birthday. celebrations. This tree has been in the Botanic Gardens for a long time and with funds from the St Vincent and the Grenadines Preservation Fund, they were able to propagate it. Furthermore, from November 2017, they have been able plant a number of the trees together with the SVG Preservation Fund. Stina says “ It was also a way to say here we are we getting older, but let’s get wiser and take better care of our environment and also again engage in tree planting.”

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