In memory of Iris Goldsmith, who tragically passed away at age 15 in 2019, daughter of SVGEF founder Ben Goldsmith, The Iris Award was designed to inspire and encourage the next generation of environmental champions. In her memory, we distributed three Iris Awards to the first group of young people presenting successful project concepts to the SVGEF. This will be an annual award. Each award is a cash donation of US$1,000.00 to support a youth environmental community project.
On Saturday October 9th, 2021, the SVGEF awarded two of the three IRIS Award Winners. Louise Mitchell and Aria Laidlow of the SVGEF presented the award to Jamark Osborne (17) and Amari Hercules (14), authors of the Jakee Reef Rehabilitation Project in Hamilton. They represent the Bequia Youth Environmentalists. The scope of their project is to return life and sustainability to the reef just off Hamilton beach.
Jamark, from the village of Hamilton and expressed how it pains him to see the degradation of the reef and spoke of his passion to restore the reef to the way that it was as told to him by his elders.
The second Iris Award was presented to Javisha Beache and Kima Ollivierre of the Bequia Community High School Environment Club, for a Bequia Mangrove Restoration project. They intend to plant mangroves along the shoreline at Paget Farm and at various other locations around the island where the mangroves are being depleted, to prevent further coastline erosion.
Guiding these youngsters was a Ms. Shaveca Hazell, who spearheads the Environmental and Tech Club at the Bequia Community High School. She expressed gratitude to the SVGEF and the Iris Project for the awards.
Receiving the third Iris Award, on the mainland of St. Vincent are Ms. Chinaza Walcott and Ms. Nleez Providence who presented their project entitled Beauty Below Deck. Their goal is to clean up and replant the Questelles beach, to restore it to its former glory.