Department: Department of Disaster Management
The youngsters of the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) received hands-on training in mangrove cultivation last week when they assisted with the planting of seedlings that have been growing at the Jost Van Dyke nursery.
The event held last Saturday, February 1, was made possible by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) and the non-profit Jost Van Dykes Preservation Society (JVDPS).
The Territory’s mangroves are being restored because of the natural protection they offer from storm surges. This exercise is one component of the Caribbean Development Bank-funded project “Establishing Flood-Resilient SMART Communities through Non-Governmental (NGO) Partnerships” which targets Sea Cows Bay, East End/Long Look and the island of Jost Van Dyke for flood protection and risk reduction measures.
SMART Communities project consultant, Dr. Louise Soanes, veteran mangrove conservationist Tyrone Buckmire of the Grenada Conservation Fund, and JVDPS Executive Director Susan Zaluski led the YEP volunteers on the mangrove planting exercise from the location of the mangrove nursery, which in turn is part of a UK Darwin Plus Initiative project led by the preservation society.
DDM’s Planning and Preparedness Manager Sheniah Armstrong, who is also the SMART Communities Project Manager, said planting mangroves was an ideal fit for the project as it brought together several community groups to collaborate on this crucial step toward the larger aim of rehabilitating mangroves within the Territory.
“We know this was enjoyable for all the participants but it’s fulfilling to see so many partners working together to contribute to the health of the BVI’s mangroves. It’s a concrete way we can improve the Territory’s resilience,” Ms. Armstrong said.
Meanwhile, YEP Instructor Travecia Todman said the youth participants appreciated the opportunity to get up-close and personal with mangroves.
"The YEPpies thoroughly enjoyed themselves,” Ms. Todman said, adding, “Several of them already knew about the different types of mangroves and their ecosystem, but to be able to plant propagules was a new and special experience for them. They are looking forward to being mangrove caretakers in the near future."
YEP staff and youth will continue to receive training in mangrove nursery cultivation as the SMART Communities project progresses. The organisation’s headquarters at East End YEP is also slated to be home to a future mangrove nursery on Tortola.
The SMART Communities Project is funded through the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF) which is managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The fund was established by CDB and is supported by the Government of Canada and the European Union. It finances community-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives at the local level across eligible borrowing member countries of the CDB.