Greetings to all of Asa Wright’s friends, supporters and staff! In November I accepted the position of Chairman with an unusual mix of humility and pride. Humility, because I am aware of the great responsibility bestowed upon me by my fellow board members to continue the wonderful tradition set by previous chairmen. And pride in knowing that the Asa Wright Nature Centre is unique in Trinidad and Tobago and that we are beginning to see some acceptance of our mission beyond our traditional supporters.
The year ahead presents wonderful opportunities for us but at the same time we will continue to face some serious challenges.
Over the past year we have had quite a few successes, for example our first corporate partnership and the award of a grant. The partnership involved a major reforestation project on our lands in the Heights of Aripo, while the JB Fernandes Memorial Trust Grant is being used to support our Valley Schools Outreach Programme (VSOP). Some of our proposed projects for 2011 include the rehabilitation of our cocoa holdings and the re-instatement of the old hydro-electric generator to reduce our carbon footprint even further. You will learn more of these and other projects in future Bellbird issues.
Our challenges include the continuing effects of quarrying on the Arima Valley in general and in particular the devastation being wrought upon the William Beebe Tropical Research Station. These issues will top our “activism” agenda in the immediate future. The condition of the Arima Blanchisseuse Road will also be a priority.
We are heartened by the expressions of commitment given by the new government regarding the environment and global warming, and we also hope to encourage the corporate sector to continue to partner with us with similar commitment and enthusiasm. These positive stirrings suggest that the work of the AWNC over the past 43 years is bearing fruit.
I must thank all of the loyal members of staff of the AWNC, many of whom live within the Arima valley. Their commitment to service, their loyalty to the Centre and their dedication to their jobs have been outstanding through the good as well as the bad years.
And to the rest of T&T, I ask you to come and discover what the wider world already knows. Visit us for the experience of a lifetime. I also urge each of you to become an official Friend of Asa Wright by accessing the membership form at our website, www.asawright.org.
Best wishes to you all,
Dr, Judith Goben