Ryllis Percival, Executive Director of the St. Christopher National Trust.

BASSETEERE, St. Kitts — Preserving the natural environment is essential to maintain community sustainability, according to Ryllis Percival, Executive Director of the St. Christopher National Trust (SCNT). She said against this backdrop, the National Trust is partnering with the Department of Environment to ensure that the Federation’s natural resources are protected at all cost.

Percival, appeared on “Working for You” on Aug. 8 to discuss how important it is to protect St. Kitts and Nevis’ natural resources. In particular, she mentioned coral reefs under the project dubbed ‘Conserving Biodiversity and Reducing Degradation in Protected Areas and their Areas of Influence’ project.

The project, driven by the Department of Environment, was implemented to improve ecosystem representation in the protected areas system and establish or strengthen protected management operations at key sites, namely the Central Forest Reserve National Park and the Royal Basseterre Valley National Park; Nevis Peak National Park and Camps River Watershed Area; Booby Island Nature Reserve; Sandy Point; the Narrows; and the Keys Marine Parks.

“We are partnering with them. We are a part of the council and soon the National Trust will be doing promotion on what the purpose is of protecting these areas and how they can be protected,” Ms. Percival said. “So that is our involvement. We would be putting forward promotional campaigns to sensitize visitors and residents on the protected areas, where they are and how they can protect them.”

Ms. Percival noted that there is a lot more that can be done to protect and preserve the Federation’s natural resources. She appealed to the general public to play a vital role in ensuring that the objectives are achieved.

She spoke briefly to the issue of Sargassum, a type of seaweed that is creating problems among marine life and for tourism, as it washes up across shores in the Caribbean region.

“It is a challenge and I have not had a discussion with our environment committee in terms of the impact of it but it is something that I would definitely discuss with them and see where the National Trust can fill in,” she said.

The project was implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF) to the tune of US$3.3 million. The investment by GEF paved the way for the legal establishment of five new protected areas, two terrestrial and three marine.