Eeunit bulletin july august 2010-1

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  • 1. D E PA RT M E N T O F F O R E S T RY J U LY / AU G U S T 2 0 1 0 E N V I RO N M E N TA L E D U C A T I O N U N I T BU L L E T I N What’s been going on ? Welcome to the Millet Interpretation Centre A somewhat cloudy and damp day threatened to ruin the opening ceremony of the Millet Interpretation Centre but you will be happy to know that everything went off without a hitch, despite a light drizzle during the proceedings. Karl Monty Augustine, the Forestry Department’s liaison on the project and also the Master of Ceremonies warmly welcomed all. In attendance were the representatives of USAID and OECS, Michael Taylor and Keith Nichols respectively, whose organiza- tions were responsible for the funding of this initiative under the Protecting the Eastern Caribbean Region’s Biodiversity (PERB) project. Also in attendance were the parliamentary representative, Dr. Keith Mondesir, PS of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Hubert Emmanuel; the Chief and Deputy Chief of the Forestry Department, Michel Andrew and Michael Bobb respectively, along with other forestry staff and community members. Though the project’s completion was a year late, it was welcomed. This new building which will house both forestry staff and activities of organized community groups is a far cry from the dilapidated building which existed before. It was emphasized that with vision , collaboration and proper management, this strategically located, world premier Millet Bird Sanctuary and amenities could become financially independent and help to generate livelihoods for community members. This new facility will assist with this objective as well as that of educating persons about the importance of conservation, protection and sustainable management of our patrimony. The site’s potential for attracting both foreign and local visitors with its one access road creates a great opportunity for community members to harness economic benefits. Certificates were later handed out by the delegates present to community members who had earlier completed a course in small business entrepreneurial skills and development. The audience was also treated to a lively and impassioned traditional tamboo and chak chak medley which had everyone tap- ping their feet and grinning from ear to ear. The activity culminated with a senior member of the commu- nity cutting the ribbon, officially declaring the facility open, with light refreshments enjoyed by everyone afterwards. May this great work continue and great success be achieved! Phone: 468-5648/5 E-mail your suggestions/ ideas to: Done by: Nicole La Force eeunit@gmail.com
  • 2. D E PA RT M E N T O F F O R E S T RY J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 0 E N V I RO N M E N TA L E D U C A T I O N U N I T BU L L E T I N What’s been going on ? Georgiana’s Story Some of you might have noticed a temporary new addition to the mini zoo. A three month old Ama- zona versicolor which was found on the forest floor at Edmund Forest having apparently fallen out of its nest. The person charged with her care was George Antoine, Georgie as we affectionately call him. Of course in no time Georgie became enamored with the young bird and so named it Georgiana. I had the privi- lege of visiting Georgiana with George, feeding her bananas and let me tell you it was a delight. With our aim of protecting St. Lucia’s endemic species and an important one as the national bird; the wild life unit was pleased to have rescued little Georgiana from what surely could have resulted in her demise. However Georgiana’s stay with us was short lived as she has now been transferred to the breeding facil- ity of the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP) in Germany as part of the breeding loan agreement with the government and people of St. Lucia. I would love to still visit her but I hope she is happy in her new home as I have been informed that she is. Poor Georgie! He too is still missing his Georgiana. If you see any of our endemic species in danger, don’t just turn your head. Be sure to protect what is ours and contact the wildlife unit of the Forestry Department @ 468-5644. Phone: 468-5648/5 E-mail your suggestions/ ideas to: eeunit@gmail.com Done by: Nicole La Force
  • 3. D E PA RT M E N T O F F O R E S T RY J U LY / AU G U S T 2 0 1 0 E N V I RO N M E N TA L E D U C A T I O N U N I T BU L L E T I N What’s been going on ? Staff: Old & New Who is Cleve? Hello Te-Hsin We see his face often enough on the forestry com- or simply put plex, a gentle yet talkative Grace!! soul; washing staff vehicles or bringing fruit for one person or another, but what Ni Hao from Taiwan. do we really know about That’s good day in him? Chinese by the way. Te-Hsin Tsai or Forty six (46) year old Cleve Grace ( easier for us to say for sure) is from Hsinchu Persival Kennedy Ford ( a a city north west of Taiwan. She is a volunteer of the mouthful I know) is a former employee of the Forestry De- Taiwan International Cooperation and Development partment. From what I was told he was one of the best Fund (ICDF) and will be attached to the Environ- grounds men ever to work here. He took much pride in what mental Education Unit for two (2) years. he did and it showed. He considers many here to be like fam- ily since his actual family “isn’t all that great” he confessed. This young lady is an ecology major and is eager to assist. “Georgie ( George Antoine) and Jaba (Michel Andrew) al- She enjoys photography, traveling and table tennis. ways encouraged me and helped me out” he said when asked Any takers? I would enjoy watching a table tennis about those who really supported him but extends a thank match !! you to everyone. She is hoping to have a wonderful time working with In 2000 he had to vacate his post on account of mental ill- us here at the Forestry Department and also to just ness. He is always willing to help and expressed the senti- have a great time here is St. Lucia. ment that forestry is like his second home and desires to be part of here for life. Welcome Grace!! He enjoys going to the movies, the beach and running. He is not a man to remain idle and tries everything; from craft to potting of plants for sale and even the selling of school books. Anything to remain occupied which can bring in an Notice: Don’t forget to visit the Ministry of Agricul- income as well. ture’s website @ maff.egov.lc and make your contribu- tion to the website by sending your articles, poems, note- So folks when we see him, let’s be more than tolerant and worthy stuff to give him the much needed support and kindness he deserves. eeunit@gmail.com It will be much appreciated. Phone: 468-5648/5 E-mail your suggestions/ ideas to: Done by: Nicole La Force eeunit@gmail.com
  • 4. D E PA RT M E N T O F F O R E S T RY J U LY / AU G U S T 2 0 1 0 E N V I RO N M E N TA L E D U C A T I O N U N I T BU L L E T I N What’s been going on ? For months now it has been a game of cat and mouse between wildlife officers and two orange winged invasive parrots which have taken up residence in the “Masav” tree (Samanea saman) at the Derek Walcott Square. They are thought to have escaped from a pet owner. But why bother with two parrots? At the Derek Walcott Square of all places? So what’s the big deal? In life all is not learnt through personal experience but also from that of others. It is a known fact that these orange winged parrots (Amazona amazonica) are invasive and have the potential of being destructive. These avid feeders are quick multiplying and can cause unimagined economic loss to farmers by feeding off their fruit trees and other crops. This of course would adversely affect the whole country. They also pose a threat to our beloved Jacquot (Amazona versicolor) where they compete for nesting sites and possibly spread diseases to our national bird, which would threaten their population. This, we cannot allow to happen, after all the blood , sweat and tears that have gone into the protection and conservation of our once nearly extinct Jacquot. Many attempts have been made to capture the birds. Forestry wildlife personnel have tried to capture them with mist nets, with traps where fruits were used to lure them but on every attempt the parrots seemed to have the upper hand and would evade the officers. Their flight pattern at each instant has been recorded. Ultimately the assistance of the police was enlisted to shoot the birds but still with no success. So I guess we are at a stale- mate. Let us hope that in the coming weeks these birds can be captured before they decide to have a nice little family and we have parrot poop (pardon my french) excreta, falling on our lapels whilst walking in town. This, we would not enjoy or like to tolerate. On a more serious note, we need to be careful with all those exotic pets that some of us seem to have a great desire for. If kept unchecked we could have a serious problem with invasive alien species , like the one being faced with in Soufriere with the green invasive alien iguana, which to my knowledge was brought in as pets but then escaped. Well folks, we’re fighting an uphill battle but not an impossible one. Let’s all collaborate so we can get the word out and protect our unique endemic species from these foreign invasive species. Phone: 468-5648/5 E-mail your suggestions/ ideas to: Done by: Nicole La Force eeunit@gmail.com
  • 5. D E PA RT M E N T O F F O R E S T RY J U LY / AU G U S T 2 0 1 0 E N V I RO N M E N TA L E D U C A T I O N U N I T BU L L E T I N What’s been going on ? SUMMER CAN ONLY MEAN SUMMER CAMP TIME! When school closes for the summer most parents find ways to keep their children occupied. It is a growing trend to have summer camp pro- grammes around the island by countless organi- zations. There’s swimming camps, craft camps, reading camps; you name it they’ve got it! Children now want to be entertained and have a jolly good time and who doesn’t? This is what the For- estry Department has been doing for years while instilling a love for nature and the environment and pro- viding environmental education and other benefits to participants. This summer, several camps were held at the La Porte eco-lodge, two of which the EE-Unit was directly responsible for, held in the month of July 2010. The first and second camps accommodated 22 and 17 participants respectively. Some of the students were recurring visitors to our camp having enjoyed themselves immensely at previ- ous ones. Well, the report is no different this summer. The feedback from the kids was great. They en- joyed themselves and would like to come again. One of the highlights for many students is the river bath- ing because some of them had never bathed in a river before. Organizing and running a summer camp is always a challenge. Some students are finicky and don’t eat this or that and have to be catered for, others may be a bit ill mannered and their behavior has to be reined in. Plus with all the summer camp competitors out there we have to keep our fee attractive. For us it’s not about the money but it’s about engendering an appreciation for nature and sensitizing students of the dangers which exist because of mismanagement of our natural resources. It’s an opportunity to em- power them, giving them the understanding that even as individuals they can contribute meaningfully to positive change. Appreciation is extended to the Quillese range personnel for getting the site organized and our corporate sponsors who reduced our cost and help ensure that successful camps were held. We hope the collaboration of both the ranges and our corporate sponsors will be long lived. Phone: 468-5648/5 E-mail your suggestions/ ideas to: Done by: Nicole La Force eeunit@gmail.com