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Grants Will Help Enhance Estate Adventure Nature Trail

Sept. 4, 2007 — The V.I. Resource Conservation and Development Council has been awarded two grants to enhance the Estate Adventure Nature Trail, located off of Queen Mary Highway across from the V.I. Department of Agriculture.
The council has received an $11,110 grant from the V.I. Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program (UCFAP) and a $2,700 community impact grant from the Home Depot Foundation to enhance and expand the trail in order to create environmental education opportunities for St. Croix youth and adults and to provide recreational benefits for residents and visitors, according to an council news release.
“The two grants will be used to build an educational pavilion, to replace invasive exotic plant species with native plants and to provide equipment, materials and supplies to maintain and repair damaged sections of the trail in order to enhance the trail’s wildlife habitat and educational resources,” the release said. “UCFAP funds will also be used to develop a master plan to outline the long-term goals and objectives for the trail and its environs, and provide recommendations for trail routing, design, development, maintenance, management and future expansion.”
The grants will allow the council to continue recent trail-enhancement activities initiated last month by V.I. Waste Management Authority Youth Environmental Summer (YES) program student workers. The YES students and their supervisors spent the week of July 9-13 cleaning the trail. They cut bush, collected garbage and spruced up trail amenities.
“The students are working very hard,” said group team leader James Ballantine, “We’ve cut and collected over 25 bags of guinea grass, bush and litter.”
The work performed by the YES students was complemented by two volunteer tree-planting activities, spearheaded by project partner UVI Agricultural Experiment Station (AES). More than 30 volunteers from The Nature Conservancy and local churches donated six hours each to plant 50 native tree seedlings donated by UVI-AES.
The trail and its environs will continue to be used to provide environmental education, outreach and volunteer opportunities for St. Croix youth, adults and visitors through hikes, tours, tree plantings and field days. All interested teachers, students, tour operators, government and non-governmental organization representatives, as well as members of the general public, are encouraged to volunteer in trail enhancement and master planning activities and/or hike the trail.
“Having a nature trail in the Virgin Islands protects the landscape,” said Olasee Davis, project manager for the nature trail. “Also it connects people with nature and the history of the island.”
The trail was originally built with a grant from the V.I. Department of Agriculture’s Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program, and with volunteer assistance from V.I. council members, UVI-CES, the Golden Grove Correctional Facility, St. Croix Central High School, the V.I. Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy, the St. Croix Hiking Association, the V.I. Urban and Community Forestry Council, the UVI Agricultural Experiment Station, the St. Croix Educational Complex and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. These and other partners will continue to maintain and enhance the trail for the community.
For more information about the Estate Adventure Nature Trail or the council, contact the council office at (340) 692-6932, ext. 5, or click here.

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