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New partners join FirstBank environmental initiative

Participants in FirstBank's environmental initiative gather at the Río Abajo forest.

In observance of International Year of Forests, FirstBank has joined Hospedería Rio Abajo Forest Cooperative and Educational Services and Alternative Tourism Trips under its One with the Environment program to educate 500 students from public schools in Arecibo and Utuado on the importance of protecting forests and their surroundings for their ecological value.

The “Experience in Touch with Nature” environmental initiative began in May and runs through next semester. The program consists of: providing orientation sessions in schools on how to keep forests in good condition; hikes through the Río Abajo Forest, where they can identify types of trees and birds; and workshops to achieve their interaction with the forest. As a closing activity, students will make presentations illustrating their interpretation caring for the environment.

“At FirstBank, we’re constantly supporting initiatives aimed at promoting environmental conservation,” said Silvia Torres, manager of the Hatillo FirstBank branch. “For the first time, we’re joining community groups Hospedería Rio Abajo Forest Cooperative and Educational Services and Alternative Tourism Trips in their interest to pursue efforts for recovery and conservation of forests, recognizing that they’re an essential part of global sustainable development, thanks to the economic, sociocultural and environmental benefits they provide. This is an excellent example of how we can help educate people from childhood, specifically, when many of these students live near the area of the forest.”

The Río Abajo State Forest spans the towns of Utuado and Arecibo, and encompasses a complex system of caves, archeological resources, rivers, and native flora and fauna.

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Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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