The Asa Wright Nature Centre believes that conservation of plant and animal species in Trinidad and Tobago can only really be achieved through the support of all the stakeholders. This especially includes the rural communities whose livelihoods depend on the protection and sustainable use of the country’s living resources. Such an approach to conservation, which includes, where the Nature Centre is located, is owned and used by private individuals and small community groups.
To this end, the Nature Centre has placed a large emphasis on structuring its activities to facilitate development in the surrounding local communities. Some of the operational activities at the AWNC include:
- Provision of access to the Nature Centre’s property at Verdant Vale for use as a community recreation area;
- Support of art workshops for local artists from the community of Blanchisseuse;
- Recruiting staff members and purchase of goods and services, where possible, from the local communities Arima, Blanchisseuse and Temple Village;
- Empowering community-based conservation groups through technical advice and ecotourism training; and
- Financially supporting local community activities such as sports days, community-based fundraising activities and local school projects;
Co-ordination and development of the AWNC’s community outreach programme is undertaken by a full-time professional Education and Community Outreach Specialist (ECOS), Denise Etienne. For more information on the Nature Centre’s community outreach activities or how you can support these programmes contact: Ms. Denise Etiennetop