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Sandals Foundation teams up with the Grenada Fund for Conservation Inc. to Strengthen Coastal Resilience

Sandals Foundation volunteers chant along with Girl Guides on World Oceans Day.

The Grenada Fund for Conservation has received a much needed financial backing from the Sandals Foundation to intensify their work to enhance the coastal resilience in the Grenville Bay Area. They will kick start this partnership with an awareness building walk and exhibition on World Ocean’s Day (June 8), celebrating the benefits of the ocean and denouncing marine pollution.

According to the Conservation Fund, research conducted between 2010 and 2012 determined that, in the event of a rise in the sea level by even two metres, the Grenville Bay Area is among the most vulnerable areas in Grenada. They, with the support of a number of international partners, have been working to build the coastal resilience in the area through coastal reforestation and public awareness.

“We began working on the Grenville Bay area as part of a project called the “At Waters’ Edge Project” to work on ecosystem based adaptation solutions, bringing people together with nature to develop a series of solutions for coastal rehabilitation. We have a participatory model where we invite members of the community, schools, Red Cross and other community groups to be part of what we do,” said Tyrone Buckmire, Founding Director of the Grenada Fund for Conservation

Over the years the area has suffered significant coastal erosion, leading, in some areas, to the loss of up to 3 linear feet of land per year as well as severe flooding and landslides, which have led to the loss of crops, life-stock and even human life. The German Development Agency (GIZ) and the Australian High Commission previously provided resources for the construction of a mangrove propagation nursery, training for the establishment of a Community based Organization (CBO) and development of eco-tourism and livelihood activities. The Sandals Foundation has now pledged their support to continue the work in the area.

Environmental Officer at the Sandals Foundation Jonathan Hernould said the Foundation’s support for the Grenada Fund for Conservation’s project is rooted in the understanding that protecting the environment is critical to ensuring the continued existence of the region.

“The Sandals Foundation has come on board for the continuation of this project because we see the necessity of such a project in the area. With residents of the communities depending heavily on fishing for their survival, any adverse effect from climate change could be detrimental to their survival so we must do all we can to combat those effects,” Hernould said.

Through the project, the Grenada Fund for Conservation and Sandals Foundation will maintain the mangrove propagation nursery through replacement of weather damaged materials, continue out planting red and white mangroves, grapes, almonds and other coastal vegetation along degraded coastlines in the area, replenish stocks within the nursery by collecting and caring for seeds and wildings, promote environmental awareness and conservation activities by hosting public education sessions in schools, churches, community centers and through the use of mass media.

“GFC is very happy to be partnering with Sandals Foundation to further the project we began in the Grenville Bay area. Sandals has proven that they are rooted in their desire for the development of the communities of the Caribbean. We hope that this relationship will bring result in good measurable impact on the ground so that years from now when persons visit the Grenville bay Area, they will be able to see a legacy of mangrove plants that are growing and providing coastal protection,” Buckmire said.

Hernould stressed that the replanting of mangroves is an extremely important component to the health of the marine ecosystem as mangroves provide nurseries and shelter for juvenile fish and marine birds, as well as they protect the coastlines from storm surges and flooding. They also act as a natural filter, reducing pollution in coastal areas.

“With many areas in the region already experiencing the detrimental effects of climate change and other man made environmental problems, the foundation supports projects across the region that work to strengthen the region’s resilience against the effects of these disasters,” Hernould said

This will be the 5th consecutive Awesome Walk hosted by GFFCI. It will begin at 3:30pm on World Oceans Day. The walk is followed by an exhibition giving people the chance to learn more about the oceans and plastic pollution.