First Environmental Atlas launches in the British Virgin Islands
News > The Caribbean
By STEM Caribbean | Posted on December 19, 2020
Residents of the British Virgin Islands can now learn about their environment and local geography by perusing the recently launched Environmental Atlas thanks to the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands (NPTVI).
In the past, schools in the BVI depended on regional and international atlases to teach geography and content related to the environment, the Government notes. Today the new Environmental Atlas breaks this dependence. It is expected to help increase awareness of the BVI’s natural landscape and biodiversity while serving as a critical resource for teachers and students.
In addition to bringing greater awareness, the atlas is projected to help with the preservation and management of the BVI’s natural environment, according to the Director of the NPTVI, Dr. Cassander Titley-O’Neal.
“This initiative will help us to preserve and manage designated natural areas and bring greater awareness of the Virgin Island’s natural landscape and biodiversity,” said Dr. Titley-O’Neal.
The NPTVI collaborated with 39 local, regional, and international experts to produce this new resource for schools and the public, Dr. Titley-O’Neal noted. The atlas is also expected to engender a culture of research on topics specific to the BVI.
“It is anticipated that the Virgin Islands Environmental Atlas will foster research on Territory-specific topics. The atlas unites an array of technical information which was previously dispersed throughout many different Government Departments and unpublished reports,” she added.
Work on the atlas started back in 2002 with funding from the UK Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP). Although the atlas was completed in 2006, it would take more than a decade until it’s printed. Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent Wheatley, proudly acknowledged the perseverance and drive it took over the years for the atlas to be published eventually.
“I am so happy to see that after 15 years of trying, the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands, under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, is finally able to launch its environmental atlas,” said the Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent Wheatley.
The atlas was updated and printed with the help of a $5000 grant from the Governor’s Office.
“I hope this publication will be a valuable resource for schools across the Territory and will inspire the next generation to protect and preserve BVI’s beautiful natural environment. I am grateful to the UK for providing funds to support this important project,” said His Excellency, Governor Augustus Jaspert, at the launch of the atlas last week.
According to the Government, two hundred copies have been printed with the financial support from the Governor’s Office and will be freely distributed to schools. The NPTVI is currently seeking additional funding to print more copies that will be sold in bookstores.