The National Conservation Authority (NCA) has a very crucial role to play in conserving the natural beauty and topographical features of St Lucia. Management of the Authority believes a well trained staff, properly utilised and the establishment of partnerships with agencies performing complementary roles could bring about continuous success.
The NCA has formed one such partnership with the Department of Forestry and it was agreed that a two day workshop would be held to train NCA field officers who would acquire knowledge to better perform their tasks and in turn provide forest officers with vital information, gathered in the field, which could be used for better management of forests in St Lucia.
The two day workshop was held on Tuesday, April 9 at the Barre D’Lisle Forest Reserve and on Wednesday, April 10 at the Forestry Department’s Balata training room. Participants gained knowledge in the management and general use of chain saws, tree identification and identifying species used for beautification and reforestation, tree cutting, trimming and pruning techniques, protocol for cutting trees on steep slopes, rehabilitation of river banks, forest regulations and standard operating procedures for wildfires.
NCA’s general manager David Hippolyte who also attended the workshop expressed:
“This was indeed an eye opener for us at the NCA and we now have a much deeper appreciation for forests and a much better understanding of the importance of managing them properly. We were all amazed at the depth of knowledge that each forest officer has and how passionate and proud they are at being the primary caretakers of forests in St Lucia.”
He added that by the end of the first session on chain saw use and management, one of the participants said he had learned at least six new things although he uses a chain saw practically, on a daily basis.