On the serene grounds of the Bucuti & Tara - GMC Nature Preserve, nestled in the heart of Noord, Aruba, a significant event unfolded that intertwines the well-being of our planet with the mental well-being of our community. In a poignant celebration of World Mental Health Day 2023, the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort had the privilege of hosting an inspirational gathering organized by Respaldo, the Aruba Foundation for Mental Health.
This past October 14th, against the backdrop of the preserve's tranquility, Respaldo brought together dedicated individuals from local mental health institutions, healthcare providers, and academia. The gathering was more than just a meeting; it was a shared mission to plant 100 trees in the verdant embrace of the nature preserve, marking a dedication to both ecological and mental resilience.
World Mental Health Day, championed by the World Federation for Mental Health and supported by the World Health Organization, is a global beacon for unity and action. Under the 2023 theme, "Mental health is a universal human right," the day casts a light on the essential need for understanding, awareness, and advocacy to safeguard mental health for all.
Respaldo's initiative at Bucuti & Tara beautifully encapsulated the symbiotic relationship between nature and mental health. The act of planting trees—a mix of Bushicuri, Druif, Palisia dushi, and Zjiron, among thirty indigenous species—served as a metaphor for the continual nurturing required for mental well-being, a parallel to the attentive care each plant needs to flourish.
The success of this event was a testament to community collaboration. The provision of space by the Bucuti & Tara - GMC Nature Preserve, the generous contribution of trees from Ban Lanta y Planta, and the support of Aruba's government created a foundation for this reforestation effort. Ban Lanta y Planta's role was especially pivotal; they not only supplied the trees but also lent their expertise in preparing the seedlings and ensuring they were planted in a manner befitting Aruba's unique climate, optimizing their chances of thriving.
As the preserve approaches its first anniversary, we reflect on its inception in October 2022, when Bucuti & Tara commemorated its 35th anniversary with a significant environmental gift—30 acres of pristine land now under perpetual protection. The ambition to populate this space with 15,000 indigenous trees is well underway, with 719 trees rooted in the soil and over a thousand seedlings burgeoning in the greenhouse.
The Bucuti & Tara - GMC Nature Preserve is more than just a sanctuary for trees; it's a burgeoning habitat for local flora and fauna and, in time, will offer trails for all to immerse themselves in Aruba's natural splendor. This sanctuary stands as a living testament to the resort's commitment to sustainability, community engagement, and the role nature plays in our collective mental wellness. It is also a potent force in the fight against climate change, serving as a natural carbon sink to purify the air we all share.
In recounting this event on our blog, we not only share news of our continued commitment to environmental stewardship but also remind our readers of the profound connection between nurturing nature and nurturing the mind. As the seedlings take root in the Bucuti & Tara - GMC Nature Preserve, so does our commitment to a healthier, more harmonious world.