‘Cockpit Country Our Home’

A section of the Cockpit Country Reserve in Jamaica. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)
A section of the Cockpit Country Reserve in Jamaica. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)

PERHAPS it is that a section of this key biodiversity area (KBA), teeming with plant and animal life, is located inside my home parish or that it accounts for some 40 per cent of Jamaica’s fresh water resources.

Whatever the reason, I am intrigued by the new multimedia public awareness campaign on the beautiful Cockpit Country, which is being managed by independent filmmaker Dr. Esther Figueroa, with primary funding from the Windsor Research Centre (WRC), a research think tank operated out of Trelawny, inside the KBA.

Among other things, the campaign — dubbed “Cockpit Country is our Home” — is to provide the opportunity for others to discover, as I did last year, just how phenomenal the area is.

Cockpit Country offers not only breathtaking views and relaxation as one travels its hills and valleys, but also an abundance of ecosystem services — to say nothing of its rich history; just think Maroons.

Cockpit Country has breathtaking views. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)
Cockpit Country has breathtaking views. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)

The campaign, as readers will note from the press release shared below, gets going today, with the launch of a 10-week radio series with journalist Cliff Hughes. Today’s feature takes account of water, with Hughes set to be in conversation with freshwater biologist Kimberly John.

A snapshot of a little piece of Jamaica — a section of the Cockpit Country in Trelawny. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)
A snapshot of a little piece of Jamaica — a section of the Cockpit Country in Trelawny. (Photo: Petre Williams-Raynor)

Over the next few weeks, other topics, including climate change — a subject of longstanding interest to me and on which I have written a children’s environmental storybook ‘Project Climate Save: A Jamaica boy looks at the effects of global warming’ — are to be explored.

A screenshot of the children's book, 'Project Climate Save: A Jamaican boy looks at the effects of global warming'.
A screenshot of the children’s book, ‘Project Climate Save: A Jamaican boy looks at the effects of global warming’.

Of note is that the 10-week series is supported by the Jamaica Environment Trust, an environmental non-governmental organisation (NGO) led by an advocate with boundless energy, Diana McCaulay, who is supported by a team committed to the conservation cause.

Of course, the campaign — intended to not only build public awareness but also marshal support against any designs on the Cockpit Country for mining — has other key elements.

A mock-up of one of the Cockpit Country newspaper ads.
A mock-up of one of the Cockpit Country newspaper ads.

They include newspaper ads and a social media campaign supported by other partners in the process. Included among those partners is regional communication NGO Panos Caribbean that will work to amplify the voices of those involved in the campaign.

Panos, with over 18 years in the communication and development field in the region, works to empower the vulnerable and marginalised across a range of programme areas — Children, Youth and Violence; Climate Change, Livelihood and Gender; Public Health and Human Rights; and Media Development.

There is, too, the indomitable Emma Lewis, fellow blogger and social media pro and others like Hugh Dixon of the Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency, which itself operates out of the Cockpit Country.

It’s going to be an interesting next few months.

Cheers!

PRESS RELEASE FROM WRC:

Windsor Research Centre launches new radio series on Cockpit Country

KINGSTON, Jamaica. 24 September 2014 — The Windsor Research Centre (WRC) in Trelawny is partnering with the Jamaica Environment Trust to deliver a 10-part weekly feature with Cliff Hughes on Power 106 at 12:35, beginning this Wednesday.

The collaboration forms a part of the “Cockpit Country is Our Home” multimedia public awareness campaign, which is being funded primarily by the WRC.

Each feature of the series will be on a different topic that alerts the public to the essential ecological services provided by the Cockpit Country and the need to protect the key biodiversity area from mining, deforestation and pollution. 

Today (September 24) sees the launch of the first series, with water as the topic of discussion. Hughes will interview fresh water biologist Kimberly John who has done extensive research in the Cockpit Country.

Meanwhile, broadcasting alongside the 10-week Wednesday specials will be interesting factoids about Cockpit Country that will both inform and inspire listeners.

To access the “Did You Know” Cockpit Country tips as they roll out, as well as other campaign information, including photos and videos that you can share, visit WRC on Facebook.

You can be part of this exciting celebration of Cockpit Country by writing/blogging/reporting on the many ways that Cockpit Country is central to Jamaica.

For more information, visit www.cockpitcountry.com; Windsor Research Centre on Facebook, watch “Cockpit Country – Voices From Jamaica’s Heart” www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2Psj_UcqQY and “Cockpit Country is our

Home” www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylqTfu07PJA and follow the campaign as it rolls out over the next three months.

Save Cockpit Country; say NO to Bauxite Mining!

For more information, contact:

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Author:

I am a Jamaican journalist, writer, development worker and nascent 'social media student'. I have had a longstanding interest in environmental reporting, thanks in part to my first editor and good friend, Charmaine Clarke, who threw me, head first, into the coverage of same. I have no regrets.

One thought on “‘Cockpit Country Our Home’

  1. It was an excellent program today with Kimberly John. I had no idea that Cockpit Country provides as much as 40% of the island’s fresh water! Also did not know there is a beautiful Blue Hole at Black River. I hope this campaign will really raise awareness of the valuable treasure that is Cockpit Country… It must remain undisturbed.

    Like

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