Red Cross and Nature Foundation St. Maarten Kick off First Tree Planting Event as Part of the Re-Greening SXM Project

The Red Cross and Nature Foundation St. Maarten hosted their first tree planting event in the M.A.C. primary school John A. Gumbs Campus as part of their Re-greening SXM Project. The project (an initiative of the Red Cross and the Nature Foundation SXM) organized its first tree planting event within this school garden last Saturday, whereby more than 60 trees, shrubs and herbs were planted. 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.

“I have never seen so many volunteers come out to an event before to create such a difference, it was honestly very exciting and heart-warming. I am proud of everyone who came out, without them nothing would be possible. The event was an absolute success which makes me even more excited for our future planting events” 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. Trees help build our environment’s resilience against disasters, improve soil and air quality, and improves the overall health of the environment. They also learned the importance of having an educational program that can further inform the youth of this importance.

“The event was a great success and we are very thankful for the partnership with the Red Cross to help establish our agricultural project.”  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. 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.

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 connected for date releases. To sign up to volunteer for this project you can email us at or visit