SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - With the recovery from Hurricane Irma underway, country St. Maarten is learning the importance of resilience – or the ability to recover from difficulties. While we proudly boast St. Maarten Strong, it is important to remember that a strong St. Maarten comes from a resilient St. Maarten.
A St Maarten that is better suited to uncertainty and our ever-changing climate. This resilience starts with a healthy environment.
In the last weeks of January, with funding from the European Union’s BEST 2.0 programme and GlobalGiving, Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) Foundation planted 500 native trees at two sites on St. Maarten.
By doing so, EPIC aims to increase the native diversity of trees at these sites and create a healthy habitat for flora and fauna to flourish. Creating these hotspots of diversity is an essential step in increasing the resilience of the environment of St. Maarten.
In mid-2017, EPIC was joined by Dr. Ethan Freid, a botanist based in the Bahamas. With his guidance, some fourteen tree species were bought, cared for and planted. He then returned to assist with their planting.
The trees were divided such that 350 were planted at Sentry Hill (within Rockland Estate) and 150 planted at Cay Bay (within Seaside Nature Park). Both sites represent characteristically different ecosystems that will benefit from habitat restoration and will be protected from development for years to come.
For the remainder of the project, “Students Scientists” are being recruited from schools to monitor tree survival and learn the basics of scientific data gathering and entering.
While EPIC continues to restore the natural biodiversity of these sites, we invite the public to reach out and organize a visit to learn more about our work or to become a “Student Scientist” and earn community service credits!
PHOTO CUTLINE: Dr. Ethan Freid, a Botanist based in the Bahamas, helped with the planting.