The Nature Foundation has partnered with Resources for Community Resilience for the ‘St. Maarten Birding and Eco-tourism Project’ to help establish and support birding tours on the island. By utilizing the birding world, the two organizations will collaborate to develop and support eco-tourism for St. Maarten. The two major aspects of the project include; the training of several St. Maarteners as professional birding tour guides, and a Bird Viewing Observation deck to be constructed at the Great Salt Pond.
“We are so excited to partner with Resources for Community Resilience to execute a second project under their Grant Program,” said R4CR Project Coordinator Kevin Sammy, “Birding activities are a great opportunity to interest both the residents and the visitors in the local environment and show that we can be both environmentally conscious and economically successful.”
The development of the Bird Observation Deck at the Great Salt Pond will start in 2023, setting the stage for more planned activities including the training of local guides. Participants in the Bird Guide Training Program must be residents of St. Maarten who have an interest in providing guided bird tours. Those who complete the course and commit to assisting with monitoring surveys will receive certification via the foundation.
In addition, a holistic learning experience that will help foster a love for nature will be provided through educational outreach programs that will be implemented through social media platforms, public presentations, and school visits. Information will be given about not only birds but also other species of flora and fauna present on the island with some local history and important cultural aspects included.
Education about the native plants and animals on this island can greatly benefit the local environment, especially among the young people who live here. It would encourage more eco-friendly behaviors and foster a culture of preservation and protection. This modification would catapult St. Maarten to the top of the Caribbean eco-tourism leaderboard.
“It is extremely important to help educate the community on the unique biodiversity of the island. It is in our hands to help protect and preserve both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems for generations to come. We look forward to implementing this project over the next year and seeing many bird guides begin their own journeys with this opportunity,” said the Nature Foundation.
This Grant Opportunity program implemented by VNG International and funded by the World Bank Trust Fund for St Maarten was created to provide assistance to the island after the devasting hurricane Irma in 2017. If you are interested in taking part in upcoming events, you can visit our social media pages or email email@example.com for more information.