Molly R. Gaskin
Ms. Molly Gaskin, as President and founding member of the Pointe-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust, successfully lobbied for the restoration of a part of the Mucurapo foreshore wetlands and for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to accede to the Ramsar Wetland Convention. She is a founding member of the Council for President of Environmental NGOs.
She designed and produced the first environmental education books for the country's schools and achieved another first when she brought together the Pointe-e-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust with the Audubon Sanctuary of Alkalia Lake in North Dakota.
She has promoted student interest in the environment by organizing natural history competitions, slide lectures and field trips to wetland habitats. She is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Government on wildlife and environmental matters. She is the recipient of the national Humming Bird Gold Medal and of the Rotary Club of Port of Spain Award in recognition of vocational environment services. She is also an accomplished photographer who has had a number of exhibitions on the environment, and who in 1977, put together the first audio-visual environmental education programme in Trinidad and Tobago.
Young Leaders, The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd.
The Young Leaders Programme of The Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago was created in 1991, though its roots date back to 1981. The aim is to help young people develop leadership skills, learn the value of working as a team and develop projects, which benefit the community.
Today, almost every secondary school in the country, as well as youth groups, vocational centres and cadet forces participate in Young Leaders. Students are given six months to complete a project under a theme.
In 1996, Young Leaders chose `The Environment: 21st Century - The Future in Our Hands'. Some of the projects undertaken included paper, glass and plastic recycling schemes, tree planting, cleaning of beaches, rivers and parks, beautifying school compounds, creating jewelry and other utility items from driftwood, paper and other waste materials, and wildlife exhibitions.
The Bank had a difficult task in choosing a winner from the many exemplary projects. The Williamsville students project, however, stood out. Inspired by the drowning of a student and his sister when the garbage-choked Guayacare River overflowed, the school decided to clear the River. The students spoke to villagers, undertook research on water pollution and tested the quality of the water. They wrote newspaper articles and produced TV programmes and posters. Signs were erected and the people signed petitions, which were presented to the Government to prevent further dumping. Systems were put in place ensuring the continuity of the project.
Bebe Arcifa Khan-Ajodha
Bebe Arcifa Ajodha of Trinidad and Tobago has mobilized entire communities and spurred an entire nation to act.
She introduced the concept of environmental education in the country, which today is included in the social studies and science curricula. She developed and implemented plans for long-term conservation and she coordinated an area study of San Fernando Hill, which had been denuded by illegal quarrying. She devised a comprehensive environmental education policy for the Environmental Management Agency, which was presented to the cabinet in 1998. She has prepared and produced posters and brochures on oceans, vehicle emissions and lead poisoning.
She has conducted workshops with curriculum facilitators to produce an environmental activity booklet for children. She compiled a glossary of environment terms for the Ministry of Planning and Environment, which was distributed to all schools in Trinidad and Tobago. She prepared a draft syllabus for San Fernando's Technical Institute on Environmental Management, and she is a part-time lecturer on science and environmental studies at Corinth Teachers College.
She was appointed a member of the Wildlife Conservation Committee, which advises the Minister of Agriculture on wildlife conservation. She has launched a number of environmental clubs in schools, and in 1997, she was nominated Woman of the Year for her work on the environment.