(L-R) Dr Calum Macpherson, Ezra Campbell, Dr Clare Morrall and Dr Randall Waechter
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada -- With the goal to protect and improve near-shore and coastal habitats in Grenada, The Nature Conservancy has entrusted the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) with the task, granting the research institute, housed on the True Blue campus of St George’s University, US$24,000 this year with the possibility of additional years of funding, to implement a project aimed at establishing a climate resilient Eastern Caribbean Marine Managed Areas Network (ECMMAN).
“This funding is in line with the overall WINDREF mission, which is to support the health and sustainable wellbeing of peoples throughout the Caribbean,” said Calum Macpherson, vice president and director of WINDREF. “By working with our neighbours to expand marine protected and managed areas, we are working toward sustainable fisheries and protecting near-shore and coastal habitats for the benefit of future generations.”
ECMMAN covers the six independent OECS countries: Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Under ECMMAN, by 2016, ten percent of the near-shore marine ecosystems in each OECS country will be effectively conserved and managed in marine managed areas.
The Nature Conservancy, an international organization whose mission is “to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends,” will collaborate with participating countries in hopes of revitalizing the ecosystems necessary for sustainable and alternative livelihoods and economies in Grenada and the Caribbean.
To lead the initiative, WINDREF has appointed research scientist Ezra Campbell, BSc SGU ’12, to the position of in-country project coordinator. Campbell is currently the national project officer for the Caribbean Aqua Terrestrial Solutions Program (CATS) for GOPA Worldwide Consultants, and has worked with non-governmental organizations in Grenada and the region, including the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) and Grenada Fund for Conservation. While pursuing her biology, wildlife and conservation biology degree at SGU, she worked alongside Dr Clare Morrall, director of the university’s marine biology program, on WINDREF’s marine anti-litter campaign in 2010 and 2011.
“We would like to thank The Nature Conservancy for selecting WINDREF for this project, and are excited to partner with the governments of Grenada and the other territories in which the project will be implemented,” Macpherson said. “We are further delighted to appoint Ms Ezra Campbell as a WINDREF research scientist and the in-country project coordinator for this initiative, and wish her well in developing the partnerships, collaboration, and implementation of this project.”
The ECMMAN project is part of the International Climate Initiative (ICI). The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.
The Nature Conservancy is the lead implementing agency and is partnering with the OECS Secretariat and a number or national and regional agencies to ensure project goals are met.
In addition to The Nature Conservancy, WINDREF will work alongside the Fisheries Division of Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.