SPECTO Eco Project to enhance Levera National Park

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SPECTO Eco Project to enhance Levera National Park

by Curlan Campbell

SPECTO committed to community awareness of Levera National Park Park’s value not well known to Grenadians, especially among policymakers Sustainable Community Development Through Eco-Tourism Project was launched on Thursday, 2 February 2023 for “World Wetlands Day

The St Patrick Environmental and Community Tourism Organisation (SPECTO), continues to adapt and evolve to confront potential challenges within the Biodiversity sector by developing new and innovative eco-tourism opportunities related to endangered leatherback conservation in Levera.

Learning and adapting from the lessons learnt during the pandemic lockdowns, SPECTO has devised a permanent solution to ensure employment opportunities within the biodiversity sector are not compromised during global crises or natural disasters.

The Sustainable Community Development Through Eco-Tourism Project was launched on Thursday, 2 February 2023 at Belmont Estate Restaurant for “World Wetlands Day.” SPECTO board member Claudette Pitt announced the establishment of a virtual biodiversity library. The virtual library will serve as a storehouse of information available to the public on the biodiversity and ecology that exist within the Levera wetlands area. Virtual tours of the St Patrick Wetlands will form part of the several strategies to be rolled out that will ensure the successful implementation of sustainable community eco-tourism in the Parish of St Patrick.

Pitt gave a snapshot of the recent challenges faced by her organisation and possible solutions to ensure job opportunities and livelihood income for the residents of St Patrick can be sustained. “We are thinking that people will pay more for the virtual experience so in case of any natural disaster because we have had situations where the sea was impacted so much during April and July, the coastline where the turtles nest sometimes we have to pass the guest through the bush to go to the next side because of so much water where we would normally walk.”

Apart from creating a virtual library and tours, the project will see the rehabilitating and maintenance of hiking trails surrounding the Levera pond, the construction of bird-watching towers and setting up rest spots around hiking trails. The US$50,000 project is funded through the GEF Small Grants Programme.

Pitt is in discussion with the officials from the Ministry of Climate Resilience, The Environment, Forestry, Fisheries & Disaster Management, and the Environment Division to place composting toilets or eco-toilets within the area. She also outlined increased awareness of environmental issues and eco-tourism opportunities through advanced interactive science-based educational activities, and sustainable development practices and livelihood opportunities linked to conservation and community eco-tourism to increase the quality of life in St Patrick.

The project also includes training residents to take up employment opportunities in areas such as tour guiding, kayaking, bird watching, trailing and conservation wardens. Additionally, through this project, SPECTO is expected to build its capacity in leadership, conflict resolution and customer service.

Chairman of the National Steering Committee of GEF Small Grants Programme Trevor Thompson commended SPECTO for the initiative to create alternative employment linked to conservation. “Community action can maintain the fine balance between human needs and environmental initiatives and national development. SPECTO really champions this approach because community development is at the heart of national development. If there is any development and the community is not a part of it, then it is not of benefit to the nation. This project, when we read the proposal, we believed that it has some very sustainable development benefits, especially eco-tourism and we believe that it will bring special benefits to the Levera pond Ramsar site.”

SPECTO remains committed to community awareness and engagement of the significance of Levera National Park, as the park’s value is not well known to Grenadians, especially among policymakers.


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