Re-greening St. Maarten Project hosted their first tree planting event

Philipsburg The Re-greening SXM project (an initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross and the Nature Foundation SXM) organized its first tree planting event within the M.A.C. primary school J.A.G. campus this past Saturday. Over 60 volunteers came out in support of the project’s mission to restore environmental resilience and aid in the building of the agricultural program within the M.A.C. primary school J.A.G. Campus. Volunteers spent their morning planting trees, painting tires which were recycled, varnishing wood, tire placement, and preparing the area for the building of a greenhouse. The group was highly motivated, together we completed 90% of the work we set out to do last Saturday.

“I have never seen so many volunteers come out to an event before to create a difference, it was honestly very exciting and heart-warming. I am proud of everyone who came out, they put their hearts into their paintings, planting, digging, tire placement, and varnishing. Everything was done nicely and carefully; I truly could not ask for more. The event was an absolute success which makes me even more excited for our future planting events. It becomes worthwhile when you receive comments from volunteers that they have had the most fun they have had in a while. I am grateful to them; without our volunteers this event would not have been successful” said Ernika van Putten, Re-greening SXM Project Leader.

Volunteers learned how to carry-out proper plant transference along with the importance of trees within our communities. As well as the importance of having an educational program that can further inform the youth of this importance.

“On behalf of Mr. Richard White, the School Manager and I, the event was a great success and we are very thankful for the partnership with the Red Cross to help establish our agricultural project, it’s been one that we have been trying to get off the ground for a couple of years now. We are really grateful for this opportunity and by the time we are resuming school the students can actually see that the garden has been build. Now we can use the garden as a means of teaching the students about simple plants, the process of planting, the way plants grow, and its importance in our environment. It is a great experience for us and eventually we hope to see it develop into a great project. The students actually named the garden prior to its existence, they called it the ‘Eat What You Grow Garden!’” said Jamal Newton, Community School Coordinator.

Each volunteer was required to wear their mask, and practice social distancing in order to comply with current standards. In addition, sanitary precautions were taken, gloves were provided to each volunteer. Each activity was split into stations that were meters apart where each volunteer was assigned to a station based on each station’s needs.

The Re-greening team is looking forward to having more successful events like this one and would like to encourage the public to stay tuned for the upcoming tree planting opportunities. The next tree planting event will be held at Seaside Nature Park, Cay Bay, in mid-October, stay tuned for date releases. To sign up to volunteer for this project you can visit or email them at

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