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TCHTA Arbor Day Initiative Sparks Joy Among Turks & Caicos Students

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#TurksandCaicos, April 12, 2022 – Launched with an exciting video announcement by TCHTA Young Leader, Judith Guerrier, the TCHTA took its annual Earth Day TCI Shines initiative to another level as a part of their 30-year commemoration calendar.

Since 2009, TCI Shines has played a significant role in keeping Turks & Caicos beautiful by nature, and clean by choice. This year, the TCHTA’s Sustainable Tourism Committee joined forces with its Educational Committee and the DECR team to carry out a week-long tree planting exercise that would begin on Earth Day and carry on until Arbor Day.

With assistance and guidance from the DECR, the “Mighty Mahogany” was the clear tree choice for its resilience, size at maturity, and ease of care during the growth phase which was crucial as the country’s students would be the stewards of these majestic trees.

The mahoganies were collected by a team of TCHTA volunteers, and distribution began on April 20th, in preparation for Earth Day with the first shipment headed to North and Middle Caicos via the COMO Parrot Cay ferry. Each tree was accompanied by an information packet which would educate the students on the features of the Mighty Mahogany and provide instructions on how to plant and care for the trees. Most significantly, each tree came with a commemorative wooden plaque etched with the name of a TCHTA past President, Director, or stalwart in honour of this 30-year anniversary initiative.

Managing the first leg of the journey, Education Committee Chair, Tendra Musgrove, shared her enthusiasm, “At COMO Parrot Cay, we are always thrilled to be a part of efforts that allow us to engage with our local students. It is also a joy for me personally, which is why leading the Educational Committee is so important. It was a pleasure delivering to the schools, seeing the students’ excitement and eagerness to take responsibility for the trees. This is what our work is all about; engaging our students in ways that make it enjoyable to do their part in the sustainability of their island and our tourism product.”

Moving from one community to another throughout the islands, the team – which included Nello Lambert of TCI Distributors and Karen King of Point Grace Resort, both members of the TCHTA Sustainable Committee – delivered trees to thirty-eight schools, ensuring all islands throughout Turks & Caicos were a part of this grand exercise with the help of interCaribbean Airways. A video collage of the team and the students was shared on the association’s platform, celebrating Arbor Day 2022.

Speaking on the decision to organize this exercise, TCHTA CEO, Stacy Cox, explained, “There was no question…all schools and islands needed to be touched to the best of our abilities, and the hardworking team led by Mona Beeson, did just that. As we put our 30-year anniversary calendar together, we knew we wanted to make this year’s Earth Day TCI Shines truly impactful. As the time approached and we learned of the Ministry of Tourism’s plans to launch the Climate Change Summit, there was full alignment on all fronts. The DECR came on board in a stellar way, helping us decide on tree selection and being completely hands-on in mobilizing the project. We cannot begin to thank Amy Avenant and the team for their commitment and assistance.”

Through the collaboration, the tree-planting exercise will not only increase the population of indigenous trees and help to build the resilience of our ecosystems, but will also aid in teaching students to be stewards of their environment and responsible citizens in the fight against climate change.

Amy Avenant of the DECR shared her encouragement to the TCHTA, “We have been delighted to partner with the TCHTA on this commemorative initiative. The TCHTA is one of the DECR’s greatest allies in advocating for the natural environment, through regular clean-ups and initiatives such as these and we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on 30 years of a job well done!”, said Amy Avenant, DECR’s Outreach Coordinator.

Mona Beeson of The Hartling Group has led the Sustainable Committee for years and is passionate about the accomplishments achieved through the TCI Shines program over the years.

“For more than a decade TCI Shines has been a channel through which the communities of Turks & Caicos have taken pride in keeping the islands clean. What started out as a yearly initiative grew to bi-annual frequency and our members, individuals throughout the community, church groups, and civic organizations are always eager to participate,” Beeson said.

She continued, “Now celebrating 30 years as an Association, we wanted to make TCI Shines 2022 truly unforgettable. I am always excited for our sustainable activities, but this has been especially heart-warming to me. Partnering with our Education Committee and the DECR, delivering the trees directly to our precious children and seeing the joy this has brought them energizes us to keep challenging ourselves to continue amplifying our reach and engagement as we work to maintain the natural beauty and viability of these islands.”

Since tree deliveries have been completed, the TCHTA has received hundreds of photos from the schools that designated a special day for the children to plant the trees. The association says the smiles in those images speak more loudly than words ever could.

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Dog Tales to rescue 500 dogs from the Turks and Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – Stray dogs in the Turks and Caicos will be getting a new lease on life in the coming months as Dog Tales Rescue will be coming to the islands. Up to 500 stray Dogs will be recovered from Grand Turk and flown to Canada in a bid to control the dog population and give the existing strays better lives. The visit has been approved by the Turks and Caicos Islands government who revealed the project in a cabinet meeting on May 31st.

Dog Tales rescue is a Canadian-based rescue mostly focusing on dogs, cats, and horses. The sanctuary is massive, sitting on over 50 acres of land. It was started in 2014 by husband and wife duo Rob and Danielle Eden-Scheinberg.  The animals at Dog Tales Rescue get the 5-star treatment (as they should!) while they wait to be adopted into their forever homes.  The rescue provides a space for neglected and abused dogs to heal with resources including kilometers of walking trails, therapy pools, a grooming spa, and medical care if needed.  Dog Tales does not put dogs down, those who are not adopted immediately remain with the sanctuary permanently.  Since 2014 more than 2000 dogs have passed through the sanctuary.

Rather than kennels the dogs at Dog Tale have rooms that they share or occupy alone and the sanctuary really jazzes up the spaces making them as luxurious as possible.  The volunteers at the sanctuary also actively use social media to campaign for potential adoptees by doing photoshoots to entice families to take the chance to adopt animals. Soon strays from the Turks and Caicos will be in that number.  You can see Dog Tales’ most recent photoshoot here.

Dog Tales even had a TV show back in 2018 that lasted for 2 seasons!

The TCIG says they will provide “logistical and regulatory support” for the program but Dog Tales will be funding the recovery and everything else on their own. You can donate to Dog Tales here

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Health

Moderna & Pfizer approved for toddlers in US

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, June 25, 2022 – Toddlers can now be vaccinated with either Moderna or Pfizer in the United States following the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee vote to authorize the jabs for the youngest humans.

Some 2.5 million vaccines were ordered for these youngsters from Pfizer and 1.3 million are on order from Moderna.

The authorization committee voted unanimously on both vaccines and it comes as a relief to millions of parents who opted to keep their children away from family gatherings, even school

The lowest age a US resident can now get vaccinated is 6 months, Pfizer says their shot is ready for children six months to four years old and Moderna goes one year higher at 6 months to 5 years.  Both Pfizer and Moderna say the toddlers will need boosters in the future.

As of June 2, there have been 442 children between the ages of 0-4 years old who have died as a result of Covid-19 in the United States.

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Education

TCI Agriculture launches Plant Clinic

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – These days anything can be online, even a plant clinic! The Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Agriculture wants to help budding and experienced farmers with any plant issues they may have and their new Online Plant Clinic is their solution to help as many Islanders as possible.

Launched on Thursday, June 16 the clinic will operate through Facebook. Individuals with sick plants or pest issues will be required to take a photo of the issue and upload that photo to the department of Agriculture’s Facebook page.

Answers to issues will be given once a month, on every third Thursday, via a public video so all Islanders can have access. The launch was attended by Chief Plant Protection Officer-CPPO Roneta Huntley Thomas, Director of Agriculture Wilhelmina Kissoonsingh, Minister of Agriculture Josephine Connolly, and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Mrs. Cheryl Ann Jones.

Connolly urged residents to “grow your own food and grow TCI.”

Attendees of the launch were allowed to participate in games trying to identify different diseases for a chance at prizes. Residents can now immediately start sending in their photos on the Facebook page.

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