THE BOTTOM/ORANJESTAD- Last week, reforestation rangers Dwane McKenzie and Jose Gomez of the Public Entity Saba’s reforestation project attended a training on reforestation in St. Eustatius.
The training was hosted by the St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA). Since 2019, STENAPA has been carrying out its own reforestation project called ReforeStatia. Over the years, its project team has gained much experience and insight into reforestation processes through its efforts to reforest different parts of the island. This valuable information was shared with Saba’s team, who will utilize it in the PES’s reforestation project.
The training took place over the course of 2 days and covered a wide array of topics. On the first day, the reforestation rangers were introduced to the process of collecting and storing seeds. They were also introduced to the collection of seedlings (young trees). This is an important first step in the reforestation process to be able to plant native tree species. The rangers got their hands dirty in making seed bombs, which are used to distribute the seeds of shrubs and grasses that will make up the middle layer of forests. The rangers were also introduced to tree nursery care, repotting, fertilizing and mulching. These are important topics to know how to properly grow and care for the trees that will be eventually be outplanted at the reforestation sites.
On the second day, the reforestation rangers got to take part in a tree planting exercise at STENAPA’s reforestation site in Zeeland. They also got to tag and register these trees. This is an important measure to keep an overview of the outplanted trees and to monitor their growth. The rangers also got the opportunity to disperse the seed bombs that they had created the day before. They were also shown how to set up pallets in such a way that they used as windbreaks to protect the young trees that have been outplanted.
“The team’s enthusiasm and eagerness to learn was truly outstanding. It was gratifying to witness how quickly they grasped the concepts we introduced, demonstrating a clear resonance with the material. This newfound understanding undoubtedly positions Saba’s project for significant progress and greater success. As sister islands with similar projects, it’s important that we share knowledge in order to help each other as much as possible,” said STENAPA’s ReforeStatia project manager Beatrice Zampieri.