Oranjestad, St. Eustatius – On June 26th, over 50 students from Gwendoline van Putten High School joined ReforeStatia at Zeelandia, one of the reforestation sites on Statia. The students join the community planting event as a house team activity and each house is tasked to plant at least 10 plants. They planted a total of 24 saplings within one of the fenced planting areas at Zeelandia. The plants added in this community plantinng event were of the following plants Lignum vitae, sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera), Geiger (Cordia spp.), portia (Thespesia populnea), and white cedar
Earlier this year, in March, children from the four (4) primary schools on St Eustatius visited the ReforeStatia Nursery. About 350 students, aged 5-12, had fun learning about reforestation efforts on St Eustatius: the important role of roots against erosion/loss of soil via a demonstration; the connection between what happens on land and life in the sea; the native and naturalised plants that are cultivated at the nursery for out-planting; the development of one of the two food forests (on-site). These plots are older than the demonstration plots located at their school as part of the STENAPA Youth Nature Education Primary School Lessons; watering the young trees – trees need water and biodiversity in reforested areas.
They also had experience planting seeds or repotting seedlings and walked around the nursery to observing wildlife, along with their homes and food sources. The older children (Groups 5-8/Grades 3-6) read banners that explained the concept of the project and answered a short quiz to make the exercise fun. Trees are slow-growing plants, but their benefits exist even as small saplings. Each grade that visited the ReforeStatia Nursery were given a sapling to foster care until July. These plants will return to the nursery.
“We hope the children learn to appreciate how old and valuable trees around them truly are” says Beatrice Zampieri, Reforestation Ranger.
Funded by the EU to the tune of €737,165, this Resilience, Sustainable Energy and Marine Biodiversity Programme (RESEMBID) supported project is designed to enhance St. Eustatius and Saba National Parks Foundations and Public Entities’ ability to improve the protection and restoration of the shoreline and other ecologically important areas through reforestation which will improve the ecosystem services, biodiversity, and economic resilience of the islands.
The St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) and the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) conduct this project in partnership with RESEMBID; financed by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France.
RESEMBID is a 47-project progamme funded by the European Union and implemented by Expertise France – the development cooperation agency of the Government of France and supports sustainable human development efforts in 12 Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) – Aruba, Anguilla, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Montserrat, Saba, Sint Eustatius, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Maarten and Turks and Caicos.