Whether it’s providing hands-on learning for local students, supporting butterfly and bird populations or offering shade to families that play in the fountains on the Crescent, Dart recognises that trees have an important role to play in building a sustainable community.
This time of year, Camana Bay's trees are aglow with twinkling fairy lights to celebrate the festive season. In the spirit of the holidays and in keeping with its commitment to sustainable growth, Dart will donate 366 trees – one for each day of 2020 – to the Cayman Islands.
“Our goal is to ensure each of these 366 trees is planted where they will enrich lives now and for future generations, whether that be in a school playground, public space, or historic site,” says Pilar Bush, executive vice president with responsibility for community development at Dart. “In addition to targeted donations, Dart will also launch a short, online application for individuals and organisations to request tree donations.”
Dart’s Community Development team will evaluate each request against predefined criteria to ensure highest and best use of the donated plants.
“Sourced from Dart’s expansive nursery, the trees will feature a variety of native, ornamental and fruit-bearing species and will range in size from three to 10 gallons,” Bush says. “It will take time for these trees to reach maturity so it is vital they be placed where they can thrive and be enjoyed by generations to come.”
Using their employee benefit of volunteering leave, Dart staff members will help plant the first tree donations at the Airport Park in George Town this month in partnership with the Cayman Islands Government's Recreation, Parks and Cemeteries Unit.
“In addition to the donation of the trees themselves, this is also a gift of time from our staff,” Bush says, noting that the plantings will also benefit from Dart’s in-house experts who can advise on species selection and continuing care.
With internal teams of horticultural and landscape design professionals, Dart takes pride in best-of-class arboriculture practice. Over the years, Dart has facilitated the relocation of several large trees to prevent their destruction, including a 70-foot kapok tree that was moved to the Camana Bay North Roundabout in mid-October.
While the recent jump in reforestation projects such as #TeamTrees and Plant-for-the-Planet demonstrates increased global awareness about the importance of trees to a sustainable future, Bush says Dart is keen to ensure the trees planted locally follow international standards.
"Not all tree-planting projects are created equal,” she says. “And, while this initiative may be on a smaller scale than other efforts around the world, our team is keen to follow global best practice. We have the resources to put the trees in the ground, strong partnerships with the government and community groups to sustain the trees once planted and a diverse selection of species that includes native varieties to benefit the natural environment.
Founded in the early 1990s, the Dart Nursery held the Caribbean record for the largest collection of tropical plants for many years and continues to supply shrubs and trees for Dart’s development projects.
“From propagation to planting to relocation," Bush says, "Dart has always been thoughtful and deliberate in our cultivation of trees, not only for their utilitarian benefits, but also their intrinsic value in creating places where people want to be."
Bush says the gift of 366 trees follows Dart’s track record of creating exceptional places, opportunities and experiences that enrich lives today and in the future.
“This is more than a donation," she says. "This is a commitment to sustainable growth in the Cayman Islands, balancing environment, society and economy."
Do you know of a public space that would benefit from these trees? Nominate a site by completing the form on our Dart in the Community page and join us in our mission to enrich lives now and for future generations.