September 20, 2019

Cayman Islands National Trust celebrates First Arbour Day with tree planting

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The National Trust celebrated its first Arbour Day today at the Mission House with the planting of two native Whitewood trees. The event was in conjunction with the Ministry of Environment, who kindly donated one of the trees, and Caribbean Blooms, who worked closely with the National Trust to source the locally-grown tree from the Trust’s Colliers Wilderness Reserve in East End.

“This is the first Arbour Day for the National Trust,” said National Trust Marketing Manager, Nasaria Budal. “It is an added event to our annual Earth Month celebrations, but particularly special as we hope to use the event as a platform to promote awareness around our native trees; each year we will focus on a different tree.

“The Whitewood tree was chosen for this year’s tree planting because it is so closely tied to our local heritage – the trunk of Whitewood trees was often used to make Cayman Catboats and schooners, and tree limbs were fashioned into slingshots by young children.”

The trees were planted in the backyard of the Mission House, the signature historic property of the National Trust, and can be seen from the two bedrooms of the main house. The surrounding garden is a traditional Caymanian sand yard with ornamental and fruit trees as well as medicinal herbs like mint and fever grass.

Under the international Earth Day theme ‘Protect Our Species’, the National Trust focused on both native flora and fauna. Events included a glow-in-the-dark 5k run/walk, a beach and roadside clean-up, a lunch and learn discussing how to conserve native trees by propagation, an Earth Day dress down day and Arbour Day; the last event, Breakfast with the Blues, is scheduled for Sunday April 28.

Arbour Day began in Nebraska City, Nebraska in 1872 when J. Sterling Morton and his wife, who were lovers of nature, proposed a tree-planting holiday; that year, it is estimated that Nebraskans planted one million trees. It is celebrated around the world today on varying dates due to local seasons and species of trees chosen.

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