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EPAA honours six schools for the Sustainable Tree Initiative

The Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) honoured six schools that took part in the Sustainable Tree Initiative at a closing ceremony in Desert Park. At the ceremony, there was an exhibition about the winning schools and their projects, which included clothes, posters and smart information boxes with the ghaf tree logo, and a smart ghaf tree. Outstanding schools received awards featuring a ghaf tree, Certificates of Appreciation and a monetary prize. 

The initiative was launched in 2015 to teach students in the first and second grades and in secondary education at UAE public and private schools about the importance of preserving the ghaf tree, which is a national treasure, emphasising the ways in which it benefits people and animals and encouraging students to protect the environment.

H.E. Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, said, “We were pleased with the schools’ efforts during the Sustainable Tree Initiative. Everyone demonstrated an interest in the environment and showed that they understand the ghaf tree’s importance and status in the UAE. The ghaf features on the Year of Tolerance’s logo, reflecting the UAE’s objectives and the tree’s significance to this society in the past, present and future.”

Mrs Al Suwaidi pointed out that the initiative is in line with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. His Highness emphasises the importance of protecting wilderness areas, supporting local agriculture, conserving perennial and annual plants, promoting responsible recreation in wilderness areas and raising awareness about positive environmental actions and the importance of the ghaf.
She explained that the initiative included events and activities and that the audience and participants had expressed their appreciation for EPAA’s efforts and its role in raising awareness. She thanked all the organisations, schools and administrators that helped to make the Sustainable Tree Initiative a success.

The initiative required participating schools to develop and implement a week-long plan with innovative and interactive educational activities related to the ghaf tree. The schools integrated the activities into subjects such as Arabic, science, geography and English and dedicated one day to planting ghaf seedlings in the schools’ gardens. In addition, participating schools that were able to do so were asked to educate a community group.

EPAA also organised an afforestation campaign in Elmentether Protected Area in Al-Batayeh recently. The campaign was targeted at students in the second grade and in secondary education at Sharjah’s public and private schools, EPAA employees and the employees of governmental, private and voluntary organisations. Participants planted ghaf trees in the Protected Area.


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