The Nature Foundation has partnered with Resources for Community Resilience in the 4th round of Grant Opportunity programme 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 devastating hurricane Irma in 2017.
The Nature Foundation wishes to contribute to the increased sustainability and resilience of the community of Sint Maarten. The specific goal of this project is to improve the conditions for the development of birding recreation, education, and tourism on the island.
Starting in the fall of 2022 the Birding and Ecotourism Project will focus on enabling local bird guides, creating a birding infrastructure, and executing an education and awareness campaign.
The Resources for Community Resilience Project aims at strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations on St Maarten in their reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts after the hurricane. Under R4CR, civil society organizations will be invited to submit proposals for programmes benefitting local communities. In addition, they will receive support in managing and monitoring their programmes and will be offered a platform for exchange and cooperation with other organizations.
Ecotourism on St. Maarten– There is a very small amount of low-impact tourism activities on St. Maarten. The opportunity, however, is here! Ecotours offer visitors the chance to experience, but also learn respect the biodiversity, natural resources, and environment of St. Maarten. This helps to preserve our land and seas and protect those areas that are left for future generations. Offering birding tours is a great untapped source for the island that could focus on education, preservation, and protection of our bird species.
In order to support and enable local bird guides the Nature Foundation will be recruiting and training residents of St. Maarten who have an interest in eco-tourism and birding. This training will enable the participants to offer birding or bird guide tours on their own. Giving the opportunity to gain a toursim based revenue stream with little to no impact on the environment.
A birding structure will be built and placed in the area of Salt Pond with free access to the community. This location will facilitate bird watching both for those groups who take part in birding tours by trained guides and other interested individuals.
Education and Outreach information and materials will be created by our team that will be free to use for birding guides, educators, conservationists, and others.