Savai'i the centre of Environment Week
Enhancing communities' knowledge of ways to care for the environment was at the centre of a plan to put Savai'i at the centre of this year’s National Environment Week.
The week-long commemoration, which started on Monday, is guided by the theme of resilience through environmental sustainability.
But on Wednesday, it was the big island's turn to host the celebration.
Held at the Vaipouli Forestry Compound, close to one hundred people from different villages, schools, church organisations gathered to participate.
Ulu Bismarck Crawley, the Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) said the decision to include Savaii in this year's celebration was mainly to "engage with the community and create awareness."
"This week is dedicated to carrying out campaigns and awareness programmes in Upolu and we thought it'd be good to bring our programmes here in Savaii," he told the Samoa Observer.
"Because we've got a good office here in Savaii and a good staff looking after our projects here on the island.
"It is also an opportunity for us to see where we are with our operations here and engage with the community in Savaii such as schools and other village organisations.
"We also want to encourage our community, especially our young children to take good care of our environment and engage in other activities to help sustain our natural resources and environment.
"Our forestry staff here have been doing their job in setting up nurseries and going out in the communities to create awareness and encourage people to start taking care of our environment."
But Ulu said the celebration was itself a reminder of the importance of collective action in all fields of endeavour.
"It's an opportunity for everyone to sit back and realize that we are all responsible for sustaining our environment.We can all do something starting from planting trees,” he said.
"With our 2 million tree planting campaign, we are in the verification process and by the beginning of next year, we will have a fair idea of how many trees we have planted so far.
"However, we continue to encourage our communities to participate and work together."
The Principal for Forestry Management Division of M.N.R.E, So'oalo Tito Alatimu, said bringing the celebration of environment to Savaii is very important.
"As you know these programmes and campaigns are mostly based in Upolu, so whenever we have opportunities such as this, we are always grateful.
"The importance of bringing this programme here in Savaii is so our people here in Savaii are aware of the various activities and strategies that are implemented by our Ministry to not only sustain our environment but also help in our fight against climate change.
"This is an opportunity for our people to understand how important their role is in taking care of our environment.
"It also enhances their skills and knowledge on ways they can do to help out in sustaining our environment and natural resources.
"The more they know and understand, the better it is for them to take action and be responsible for our environment.
"Including Savaii in this year's celebration of environment week is an opportunity for our local communities to learn and understand more about our ongoing projects that are aimed at sustaining our environment and help with our fight against climate change."
The celebration in Savaii included presentations on the status of forests in Samoa.
It was concluded with a tree planting activity at the Vaipouli compound with 400 new trees planted.