What We Do

What We Do

In keeping with the Trust’s mandate, protection of the environment on the lands of the Nature Centre, environmental education, scientific research, ecotourism and sustainable agriculture are priorities for AWNC. These core activities are accompanied by outreach activities intended to raise environmental awareness nationally and in particular in the communities in the surrounding area.

Over more than a half century following the establishment of the AWNC in 1967, despite its somewhat optimistic creation without adequate financing, the AWNC became recognized internationally as a premier destination for eco-tourists, particularly birders. This success led over the years to several accolades, including the conferral by the government of Trinidad & Tobago of a national honour, the Hummingbird Medal Gold for Community Service (Environmental Conservation) in 1993; the Islands Magazine Ecotourism Award in 1998; recognition by Audubon Magazine as one of the top 10 eco-lodges in the world in 1999; an award for the Best Kept Natural Heritage Site by the National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago in 2007; and a Green Leaf award for outstanding contribution to environmental management and sustainable development from the Environmental Management Authority in 2021.


In addition to the scientific research undertaken by visiting scientists, which has resulted in the publication of over 700 papers on ecology, botany, ornithology, herpetology and entomology, the AWNC itself has regularly carried out environmental monitoring and habitat restoration activities, including bird counts, especially of the oilbird colony, wildlife monitoring, including camera trapping of mammalian species, water monitoring activities and the strategic planting of trees and shrubs that provide food for wildlife at Spring Hill. In 2006, the AWNC undertook a comprehensive ecological survey of its properties in the Aripo-Guanapo area and in 2009 entered into an agreement with a local manufacturing company aiming to offset its carbon emissions to carry out a large-scale tree planting project on the AWNC’s lands at Aripo, which were used by the former owner for horticulture.

The AWNC has always sought to structure its activities to facilitate development in the surrounding communities. From the inception, the AWNC has recruited staff and purchased goods and services where possible from the local communities, particularly Temple Village and Arima. For many years, the AWNC has allowed some of its land at Verdant Vale to be used as a community recreation area and, when financially feasible, supported community-based activities. It has also supported the Blanchisseuse Environmental Arts Trust (BEAT) and a culinary festival at Blanchisseuse, as well as facilitating the transfer of traditional knowledge regarding cocoa and coffee cultivation from the Brasso Seco village community and engaged with farmers in Lopinot. The AWNC has also provided an opportunity for members of the wider community to market art, handicraft and sustainable agricultural products.

Our environmental education programmes are designed to increase national awareness and support the conservation of the native wildlife and to facilitate sustainable development in the surrounding communities.