St. Mary's Academy Carbon Footprint Project - Agricultural Science Field

Br. Jim DePiro

In December of 2015, the St. Mary’s Academy was the recipient of an $800 US gift from the Province Leadership Team as part of its carbon footprint donation. At the time, the school and the island nation of Dominica were still recovering from the passing of Tropical Storm Erika from late August. Project ideas and use of the funds were discussed for months.

It was decided that a water tank for the agricultural science field was needed so that a process of irrigation could be instituted. Estimates were sought, plans derived. The target date was the beginning of the school year 2017. But Mother Nature had other ideas. Hurricane Maria ravaged the island and other things had to get done. The money, though, was put aside for the time being. Below is the view of the damaged field behind the school.

Agricultural science is a popular area of study at SMA and an important field of study for the Caribbean region. As part of the syllabus, the students must participate in ‘practicals’. In other words, they must ready fields, plant and harvest. And now, there is a business component to the final report which is part of their exam grade at the end of Form 5.

Thanks to the $800 donation, the “Agri Science” classes at SMA were able to have the field restored and seeds, seedlings, fertilizer and tools purchased. Beginning in early April, students, under the direction of Mr. Kenroy Bazil, took part in an extensive farming project.

Tomatoes, cabbage, beans, peppers, lettuce and reclaimed banana trees filled the field. Every day between 2 to 4pm, the field was filled with the noise of shovels, rakes, watering and the voices of these young men enjoying learning. And, it was the perfect distraction needed after what happened with Hurricane Maria. Some of them were assigned weekend duty to water the field. At the end of the time, the products were harvested and sold to people in the area. One of the local grocery stores bought the produce for sale.

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