Oranjestad, St. Eustatius, The Bottom, Saba – Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands visits Saba and Sint Eustatius on Thursday 12 December and Friday 13 December respectively. The visit to two Windward Islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom is all about nature conservation and social cooperatives.
Thursday, December 12 – Saba
Princess Beatrix opens the Mary’s Point Trail hiking trail in the new Mount Scenery National Park on Saba on Thursday morning. The path starts at Well’s Bay and runs to the ruins of Mary’s Point, a historic settlement from the early 17th century. The more than two hundred wooden steps are made from old electricity poles and laid by employees of SCF (Saba Conservation Foundation) and volunteers.
The Princess then meets a number of local fishermen in the harbor. Fishing is an important source of income on Saba. The Saban fishermen have made mutual agreements for sustainable and healthy fish stocks. In 2017, they concluded an agreement that established management measures, such as the introduction of a fishing season for certain local fish species.
In the afternoon, the Princess visits Saban women who demonstrate their lace-making skills. Bobbin lace is a Saban tradition and woven into the history of the island. They come together every Thursday to maintain this tradition.
Princess Beatrix then visits the Botanical Gardens. At the start of the garden she reveals the new information board. Many tourists come to Saba for nature, the botanical garden makes this accessible for those who find other walking routes on the island too difficult. The project is carried out by the SCF. After the unveiling, the Princess speaks with employees and directors of the SCF and DCNA.
Friday, December 13 – Sint Eustatius
Princess Beatrix will visit ReforeStatia on Friday morning, a reforestation project on St. Eustatius. Common fauna on the island is provided here. Replanting and reforestation is necessary to prevent erosion. Thousands of trees were destroyed by Hurricane Irma (2017), leftover plants and tree roots are attacked by wild cattle. As a result, the soil is not retained in many places, so it erodes.
The Princess will then be given a tour of the nearby Earth Farm and will visit the Made in Statia project. At the Earth Farm, children learn playfully about nature, keeping animals and gardening. At Made in Statia, the Princess is given an explanation about a sustainable agricultural program with the aim of providing the local market with fresh vegetables, fruit and meat. The organization works together with other projects, such as ReforeStatia and the Earth Farm.
The Princess then speaks with young rangers, employees and volunteers from STENAPA (Sint Eustatius National Parks Foundation) about the importance of local nature conservation projects. In addition, the conversation is about knowledge sharing and cooperation between the islands and the organizations SCF, STENAPA and DCNA. Princess Beatrix is the patron of the DCNA.
On Friday afternoon, the Princess will visit the Christian after-school care center Daughters of the King Foundation (D.O.T.K.). The foundation offers daily activities to girls between 5 and 12 years old to offer them a safe place. In addition, Princess Beatrix is visiting the Mega D Youth Foundation. The organization helps boys and girls up to 18 years after school with homework and with talent development in the field of media, sports, debating, dance and music.
The visit of the Princess to St. Eustatius is concluded with a joint musical performance by children from various schools, foundations and youth organizations; Simon Donker Club, STENAPA Junior Rangers, D.O.T.K. and the Mega D Youth Foundation.