Youngster donates birthday money to Botanic Park

| 21/10/2016
CNS Local Life

John Lawrus of the Botanic Park with young benefactor Kaz Conolly Basdeo

(CNS Local Life): The most recent donation to the Children’s Garden at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park has come from 8-year-old Kaz Conolly Basdeo. The young environmental enthusiast requested friends give a small donation to the garden rather than presents at his birthday party. Kaz cited the plans for the garden as part of his motivation for the donation in a hand-written letter to the manager at the Botanic Park.

“I really love those ideas for the garden. It’s cool how you thought of all of that to put in the Children’s Garden… I am going to do a presentation and ask my classmates for ideas. I am also going to ask my teachers if my class can go on a field trip when it is finished,” he wrote.

He added he would be donating all of the money he received from his eighth birthday party to the garden, and that he was very much looking forward to the final “masterpiece”.

The plans for the Children’s Garden are underway, with site works scheduled to begin in late November and completion expected by the end of 2018.

Kaz is the youngest donor to date for the project. His mother, Marilyn Conolly, said she hopes “this encourages other children and families to support the Children’s Garden”.

Patrick Thompson, acting CEO of the Tourism Attraction Board (TAB), which manages the park, said he was “very proud to see such a young Caymanian take an interest in the Botanic Park. As Isaiah Chapter 11, verse 6 reminds us ‘a child will lead them’, and truly Kaz is the child who is leading this cause”.

He added, “It gives us great confidence in the future role of the park in our community, and indeed in that of the TAB in its overall efforts to preserve and protect local nature and culture.”

John Lawrus, general manager of the Botanic Park, said, “I was very honoured and pleased to receive the letter from Kaz regarding his donation to the Children’s Garden. It gives us great encouragement and joy in knowing that this is something our children and future leaders are excited about.

“Nature is so delicate and ever-changing, and without the understanding and respect from young persons such as Kaz, it may be lost on future generations as we move ever so quickly in the digital age.

“The Children’s Garden will ensure that our youth will be part of the important process of preserving and protecting this natural landscape, particularly through interaction, learning, and fun. To have a young person with the mindset of how equally important (it) is to give back to the community is truly heart-warming.”

Lawrus added that the value of a botanic park is hard to measure, pointing out that a nature walk helps to relieve daily stress. “Not only the importance of conservation of our natural world, but the passive learning that goes on as a child looks at the shapes of a leaf, or discovers an insect pollinating a flower are only a small part of what is intended to be accomplished by the Children’s Garden at the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park,” he said.

“In addition, the outdoor classroom will provide a location for all schools of the Cayman Islands to teach an earth sciences class without having to go back on the bus. The Children’s Garden will be the classroom for all of our youth to use.”

To host a party to raise money for the Children’s Garden or for more information, email John Lawrus or call 947-9462

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Category: Donations

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