The Iwokrama Centre for Rain Forest Conservation and Development yesterday chose to mark its 21st anniversary with an interactive sensitisation session with the children who reside at Joshua House.
According to a press release from the Ministry of the Presidency, the session, which was held at Iwokrama’s High Street, Kingston head office, was facilitated by the staff stationed there and saw the children engaged in poetry recitation, games, visual art and discussions on rare flora and fauna that can be found in Guyana and the work of the centre with regard to conservation and the protection of the forests.
President David Granger and First Lady Sandra Granger, who both attended, engaged with the children as they were taught about the importance of issues such as forest conservation and proper solid waste disposal.
Iwokrama said in a press release that President Granger also congratulated the staff for the work they are doing with minimal resources. He declared that Iwokrama is central to the government’s vision of creating a “green” state and as such he would continue to support the work of the centre.
Iwokrama’s Chief Executive Officer Dane Gobin noted President Granger was the first Head of State in the country’s history to overnight at the Iwokrama International Centre. Last year, the First Couple spent two days at Iwokrama when the President became the First Head of State to cross the famous canopy walkway, which is suspended at some 33 metres (100 feet) from the forest floor, the ministry release noted.
Meanwhile, Gobin explained that it was easier to influence a change in culture with regard to the way environmental issues are perceived by educating and sensitising children. “If you talk about climate change to children at a young age you influence their behaviour and make them more responsible,” he was quoted as saying.
He also urged the children to stay focused on their studies so that they will be able to make meaningful contributions to the ‘green’ development agenda and the preservation of the national patrimony.
Last month, Iwokrama held similar sessions with differently-abled groups and two more such sessions are planned targeting children on the East and West Coasts of Demerara.
The Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conserva-tion was established in 1996 through an agreement by the Government of Guyana and the Commonwealth Secretariat with the aim of managing and preserving 371,000 hectares of pristine rainforest. Former president Desmond Hoyte had committed to the Iwokrama Rainforest Project in 1989.