Sept. 25, 2004 — At the Paradise shanty on Centerline Road early Saturday morning, about 20 people came together to participate in the V.I. ReLeaf Program.
The participants were volunteers under the direction of three organizations — the St. Croix Environmental Association, St. Croix Farmers in Action, and the V.I. Department of Agriculture and Forestry Program.
They were there to celebrate Arbor Day fittingly enough by planting trees.
Arbor Day, first celebrated in 1885 in Nebraska, is celebrated the world over to help people appreciate trees and their importance to our environment.
St. Croix Farmers in Action's President Percival Edwards explained that his is an advocate group promoting agriculture in the Virgin Islands, and members are always ready and willing to help at events such as this.
The heavy work had been done before. The holes had been dug. Workers started Saturday at 8 a.m. along Centerline, also known as Queen Mary Highway, until late afternoon. They planted 100 trees, all of which are native to the Virgin Islands. The trees included Pitch Apple, Cigar Box Cedar and White Cedar. They are currently only about three feet high.
Carol Burke, from SEA, was there as the director of the program. She immediately donned work gloves and got her hands into the dirt.
The Department of Agriculture and Forestry Program helped by selecting trees that were appropriate according to specifications of the area. The stretch of the road where the trees were planted between Paradise and Kings Hill is mostly rural but there were also a lot of telephone and electrical wires. The Weeden Foundation provided funding for this project.
This program has been going on for about 8 years now. The workers said they thought it was a needed enterprise and they hoped it continues on, but Burke said that would depend on if the community continues to support it.
Jemina Howlett, a teacher at St. Croix Educational Complex, was working with her husband, David, an arborist, when he jokingly told her, "Tell the press only good things!"
But it appeared she did not have to make anything up. She was smiling and she said, "I'm really enjoying this."
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.
Publisher's note: Like the St. Croix now? Find out how you can love us twice as much– and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice… click here.