Sub Project 1 - Union Island

Nature trails that make dollar sense

Les sentiers botaniques comme outil économique

The Union Island Ecotourism Movement (UIEM) is a Grass Roots NGO, based in the Grenadines of St. Vincent. It was created in 1996. They coordinate their actions with other community groups and encourage volunteer action in the maintenance of nature and heritage sites, education and nature conservation.. Their main purpose is "green tourism".
Union Island is the most southerly of the St. Vincent Grenadines. It has a diverse terrestrial vegetation ranging from savannah, thickets, mangroves, complex forest systems to secluded white sand beaches, its marine environment is equally impressive.

A unique bird, the "Cocorico" lives in the forest areas.

Despite its outstanding natural beauty, Union island, with its small airport is principally used as a gateway to many of the surrounding islands. Whilst a significant proportion of the local population works in fishing or tourism related activities, there is a high unemployment rate on the island and little prospect for diversification at present.

One of the main reasons why the 40,000 visitors that -land on Union Island every year do not stay here is that there is little incentive - in the form of excursions and activities - for them to do so. The present project aims to develop such incentives in harmony with the natural environment

The project focuses on the development of marine and terrestrial trails around the island illustrating features of particular natural and scenic interest, and the training of 5 nature guides to maintain the trails and escort visitors who are interested in learning about the environment. The project team will produce promotional material to encourage tourists to visit these attractions.

In order to combat the rapid loss of the last remaining relictual forests on the island a small experimental plot of native saplings will be planted to encourage regeneration.