NEPA Engages Children In Summer Camp

September 10, 2015

Children between the ages 5-12 years benefitted from a one week summer camp, which was organized by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) in collaboration with other government stakeholders.

The summer camp, which focused on protection of the environment targeted children of members of staff of NEPA. The children were allowed to have an insight into the work life of their parents as to what they do for the Jamaican environment. They were exposed to the land, air, water and animals as components of the physical environment.

Karlene Hamilton- Reid, Acting Director, Human Resources Management and Development said, "the Agency is developing young environmental stewards to assist in sharing the environmental message."

The camp exposed the 28 children who participated to the work of the Agency; promotion and encouragement of respect for the environment; learning about the importance of various flora and fauna to the ecosystem and engagement of the participation of children in the protection of the environment.

"This provided an opportunity for children to learn about animals and plants, using recycled materials to make craft items and exploring the biodiversity of nature through a tour of a selected area," said Mrs. Hamilton-Reid.

The campers commenced the camp with a session on "Painting Your Impression of the Environment," which allowed the youngsters to express themselves through art forms as to their perception of what the environment represented to them.

Each camper kept a journal to record their expressions. Other sessions focused on some of Jamaica's protected and endangered species namely the American Crocodile and Marine Turtles.

The campers were introduced to air in a session deemed "All About Air". They got the opportunity to see the air quality machinery used by the Agency and to test for particulates in the atmosphere. They also made wind vanes to test wind direction.

The importance of water was highlighted by Water Resources Authority and they were engaged in the concepts of water distribution from upstream to downstream and its uses.

The members of staff of the NEPA laboratory treated the children to a tour of the facility in which they gained an appreciation of testing water, the chemicals and the various apparatus involved in the process. Campers completed task in their journals as to why the Agency needed a laboratory for testing air and water quality across the island.

The Meteorological Service of Jamaica led a session on "Understanding Weather and Climate Change", which gave them in-depth knowledge of the weather. Meanwhile, the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) taught children about drought and engaged them in age appropriate activities. The fire prevention team from the Jamaica Fire Brigade, reinforced fire safety at home and school with the campers through songs.

Five year-old, Jahdai Streete said she loved everything about the camp. Meanwhile, nine year-old, Alainna Blake, thanked the team for "taking time to teach us and open our knowledge about the environment and how to treat it."

Six to eight year-old children of NEPA summer camp take a group photo with camp aunties, Ava Tomlinson, Senior Public Education and Outreach Officer and Diana Ruddock, a volunteer at the Hope Zoo.
Campers attentively observe Michel'le Hayles, Pollution Monitoring and Assessment laboratory Intern demonstrating how samples are prepared for Faecal Coliform Analyses.
A brave Darnell Chambers poses with a snake during the petting zoo experience at Hope Zoo.

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February 16, 2015