Horizon at Sandy Point

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where nature heals herself, she heals us

Wild places are fewer and harder to find, especially if you live on an island with over a million other souls. We are fortunate in Trinidad to have a few places where the wild things are encouraged and safe; even places which may have been cultivated a few generations ago but which are being reclaimed for the wild. The Asa Wright Nature Centre is one of these places - once a partial plantation, now a nature reserve and a safe place to experience the wild.
Looking south from Asa Wright
Today, Asa Wright - located on the south side of Northern Range, overlooking Arima - is a place where the earth is healing itself as it reverts to forest and attracts many of the wildlife and bird species indigenous to the area. What is even more fortunate is that Asa Wright was able to attract to its service people of the calibre of Dr Carol James, who has served as chairman of its board for six years, succeeding others like Dr William Beebe, Don and Ginnie Eckelberry who have also given time and commitment there.

Dr Carol as she is fondly called, once said of the Nariva wetlands - which had been flattened and dredged to make rice fields, the best possible use according to studies done there in the 1970s - that they should simply be left alone to regenerate themselves. That was nearly 20 years ago when  journalists with new-found passion to save the environment were yearning to "do something" to protect Nariva, and somehow in quick time, restore its manatees, red howler monkeys, blue and gold macaws and giant anacondas. Well, those years are passing more quickly than were imagined, and left largely to itself and in spite of humans, Nariva is recollecting itself, as Asa Wright has been allowed to.

One of the springs at Spring Hill Estate, the location of the Asa Wright Nature Centre
 What this tells us surely is that Nature needs no help from us. She is in fact better off when humans are not around. So there is hope in the future for the other slopes of the Blanchisseuse valley now under intense christophene cultivation or under severe quarrying. To stay out of Nature's way, and to have patience, are important lessons.
Off the beaten track, looking for the bell bird

Primeval forest?


  1. Such a wonderful place.. Asa Wright. We have taken our Tobago students to Asa Wright on a few occasions, and those visits are some of our fondest memories, as they included children and parents too. We were treated so well there, and the food was outstanding.
    One past student who came with us on one visit, a young teenager, of a business family, said, while we were there, " I wish Columbus had never come here".
    That said it all, especially coming from him!
    So, it is not mankind in general.. it is mankind as we now are living!

  2. I miss Asa Wright. Just let Ken, Judy and Dr. Carol know that I will always be willing to volunteer to do stuff for the centre.

  3. It was a highlight on my last visit to T'dad with my older (now deceased) brother and his best friend. We were treated to some very unique experiences of Nature. Indeed it was the first time I was able to observe a hummingbird stationary for any length of time (15 min) and record the beautiful creature, both in still and video images. T'dad, as so many Caribbean Islands have immense Natural beauty on land and in the seas as well as the multi cultural people. Patience is definitely the key to appreciating these wonders and resources.