SHARJAH, 9th February, 2019 (WAM) -- The Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) concluded the fourth Sustainable Ghaf Tree Initiative, an environmental education initiative for public and private schools in the UAE. The aim of the initiative, the theme of which is ‘In the Shadows of the Ghaf’, is to promote awareness among students in the first and second classes and in secondary education about the importance of preserving this tree and about the tree’s benefits. The participating schools design and implement a variety of activities including a day when Ghaf seedlings are planted in the schools’ gardens.
Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, said, "The aim of the Sustainable Tree Initiative is to encourage positive environmental behaviours in students in order to preserve and protect Ghaf trees, which have many benefits and uses as food and medicine. The initiative involves educating students about the Ghaf tree, its characteristics and its health benefits and emphasising the tree’s importance and status as a national resource, both now and in the past."
Mrs Al Suwaidi pointed out that there are requirements for participating in the Sustainable Tree Initiative. Participating schools must develop and implement a weeklong program of diverse and innovative educational activities related to Ghaf trees, and ensure that these activities are integrated into subjects in the curriculum, such as Arabic, science, geography and English. One day will be dedicated to planting Ghaf seedlings in the schools’ gardens, and – if possible – each school must also help to educate a community group. At the end of the week, all participating schools will send a file with the program of activities, images and short videos to EPAA’s Department of Environmental Education.
Once EPAA has received the submissions from all the participating schools, the programs will be evaluated based on comprehensiveness, the number of students involved, innovativeness and the extent to which the program involved communicating with the community and promoting awareness about the importance of preserving Ghaf trees. The six most outstanding schools will be honoured in a special ceremony, which will include an exhibition about the schools’ activities. The schools will be presented with Ghaf tree trophies, certificates of appreciation and monetary rewards.