HECA and Partners Celebrate Earth Day With A Fair for Urban Youth

By:Laymah Kollie

Monrovia-April 25,2024-: Higher Education for Conservation (HECA) with support from USAID in collaboration with University of Georgia on today celebrated Earth Day under forestry, biodiversity and conservation fair urban youth.

The Earth Day Forestry, Biodiversity, and Conservation Fair For Urban Youth, organized by USAID’s Higher Education for Conservation project, aimed to raise awareness about the importance of Liberia’s forest and encourage youth to pursue careers in forestry, biodiversity, and conservation.

Addressing the occasion, Charge d’Affaires of the U.S Embassy in Liberia Madam Catherine Rodriguez said the event is intended to inspire increased youth engagement in this field by calling attention to the opportunities it provides for economic advancement and environmental sustainability.

According to her, the program aims to inform youth about the threats currently faced by the forest and other environmental areas.

“This one-day event aims to inform approximately 500 youth about the threats facing the Upper Guinean Rainforest, which now constitutes only 10 percent of its original size”

Adding, “Liberia’s forest provides many critical ecosystem services, including housing several unique species, mitigating global climate change, preventing desertification, and reducing the risks of future zoonotic diseases”

“This youth fair is part of a week-long series of events organized by Higher Education for Conservation, which will commence with a networking reception and conference at the Farmington Hotel on April 21-22, 2024. During the youth fair, you will have the opportunity to interact with youth, GOL partners, and Higher Education for Conservation staff” she echoed.

Also, speaking at the event Musuline Yarsiah of the Forestry Development Authority cautioned participants to uphold the forest and biodiversity, while encouraging them to preserve elements of the forest.
“Eat some and leave some”

Furthermore, Saye Thompson, President of the National Union of Community Forest Management Bodies (CFMBs) admonished young Liberians to embrace biodiversity and protect the environment around them.

“If we still want to protect biodiversity, we have to be careful with our environment” he said.

Higher Education for Conservation is a five-year, $5-million project which aims to address critical challenges related to forestry, biodiversity, and conservation in Liberia.

Higher Education for Conservation nurtures the talents and interests of Liberian youth who aspire to contribute to the forestry and natural resource sector. By providing specialized training and education, the program equips them with the necessary skills to support conservation efforts. Recognizing that sustainable forest management requires more than technical expertise, Higher Education for Conservation integrates economic development, gender equality, youth empowerment, and the inclusion of marginalized and vulnerable populations.

Implemented by the University of Georgia, Higher Education for Conservation collaborates with Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S., including  the Wellesley Centers for Women, as well as Liberian higher education institutions to create lasting linkages, promote collaborative research, and enhance the capacity of Liberia’s forestry and biodiversity workforce.

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