Celebrating World Wetlands Day by Planting Mangroves in Bonefish Pond National Park
BNT President Geoff Andrews and First Lady Ann Marie Davis plant a red mangrove.
February 3rd, 2022 – Nassau, Bahamas
For the first time ever, World Wetlands Day was observed as an officially recognized international day by the United Nations. World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2nd to raise awareness and support for wetland ecosystems. Under this year’s theme of “Wetland Action for People and Nature,” The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) hosted a celebratory mangrove planting at Bonefish Pond National Park in observation of the day.
The focus of this year’s World Wetlands Day campaign is to encourage people to value, manage, restore, and love wetlands. Mangroves are a type of wetland ecosystem that are especially prevalent throughout The Bahamas and are deeply tied to the country’s economy, culture, and ecology. Bonefish Pond National Park is one of the last remaining intact tidal mangrove ecosystems in southern New Providence, making it the perfect area to receive some #ActionforWetlands.
Participating in the mangrove planting were First Lady, Ann Marie Davis; Minister of Environment & Natural Resources, Vaughn Miller; Miss Bahamas Universe, Chantel O’Brian; Kim Aranha from The Bahamas Humane Society; Daphne McIntosh, wife of The Minister of State for The Environment and Natural Resources; Kimberly Darville, Assistant Director of Conservation at Baha Mar; representatives from the BNT, and more.
BNT Executive Director, Eric Carey, said, “What better way to encourage people to love and restore our mangrove wetlands than by immersing them in the environment so they can see for themselves what makes it special, and giving them a chance to play a hands-on role in restoration action? We’ve only planted a few mangroves here today, but we hope this small action inspires those here to love the environment in general – not just mangroves – and contribute to protecting it however they can.”
Mr. Miller, who is the Member of Parliament for Golden Isles, the constituency in which Bonefish Pond is located, pledged his aid and support in seeing that the national park is protected, maintained, and developed.
“We want to make sure we fulfil all the potential this area has,” said Miller.
“We [The Bahamas] are a gem. We are a jewel. But unless we protect, maintain, and sustain what we have to pass it onto the next generation, they will not have what we have today. It was made for you, and it was made for me, so we must do everything in our power to protect, serve, maintain, and pass it on in as good of a condition as we met it – if not better – to the generations that will succeed us.”
Over the past several months, the BNT, together with Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Mang, have conducted several mangrove restoration efforts across The Bahamas, in Abaco and Grand Bahama – both of which had their mangrove forests decimated by Hurricane Dorian. In the “State of the Environment: Post-Dorian Report” released in December last year, the environmental organisation revealed post-Dorian studies showed a loss of more than 70% of Grand Bahama’s mangroves and more than 40% of Abaco’s due to the storm. Thus, these restoration efforts are urgent and dire. Most recently the group planted over 2,400 red mangroves in McClain’s Town, Grand Bahama, ahead of World Wetlands Day.
Bonefish Pond National Park in New Providence, having historically been used as an illegal dumping site, has also been the recipient of some much-needed tender love and care and restoration efforts preceding this week’s mangrove planting. A mangrove planting and cleanup was held at this location in June last year, in partnership with Corona Beer for World Oceans Day.
First Lady Ann-Marie Davis said, “As many of us are well aware, The Bahamas is already a low-lying area and is much more vulnerable to the devastating impact of climate change than most nations, so we must remain vigilant. We have no time to waste and much work to do in arresting this global environmental threat to our way of life and very existence, to us as humans and to our marine life as well. Having said that, it behoves us to protect our wetlands from indiscriminate dumping, unwarranted industrialization, and developments that are not eco-friendly.”
She added, “Let us all spring into action to save this beautiful Bahamas; show our courage, ingenuity, and determination to protect our wetlands and coastal areas, and in doing so gain more carbon credits in our brutal, climate-control fight as a small island developing state.”
Mr. Carey said, “We’re happy and hopeful that we’ll restore these ecosystems one mangrove at a time, but these restoration efforts must remain ongoing. Mangroves protect us, so it’s imperative that we protect them. We’re thankful for everyone’s participation on World Wetlands Day and we look forward to continuing to work together with others to restore and protect our precious ecosystems.”
To learn more about the role the BNT plays to manage terrestrial and marine national parks, protect species that inhabit them, and inform environmental policy, please visit its website: www.bnt.bs and follow/subscribe to various social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Media Contact: Leah Carr | email@example.com | (242) 429-7902
About the BNT:
The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959 to build and manage the national park system of The Bahamas. Possibly the only non-governmental organization in the world charged with such a responsibility, the BNT works daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas through stewardship and education for present and future generations. There are currently 32 National Parks managed by the BNT with more than 2 million acres of marine and terrestrial areas protected.