Information Officer I (Ag.)
Department of Information and Public Relations
Teachers and students of the Althea Scatliffe Primary School (ASPS) have received copies of the Virgin Islands Environmental Atlas as the National Parks Trust moves to supply 200 copies to public and private schools across the Territory.
Copies of the atlas were presented to the school on May 4 to provide teachers and students with factual information about the different types of habitats, flora and fauna and much more that can be found in the Virgin Islands.
Director of the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands Dr. Cassander Titley-O’Neal said the concept for the Virgin Islands Environmental Atlas dates back to 2002 when then Chief Conservation and Fisheries Officer Mr. Bertrand Lettsome presented the idea to the Virgin Islands Government National Geographic System committee.
Dr. Titley-O’Neal said, “Work began on the atlas, however for various reasons, a published version was never completed, and this was mostly due to funding. Fortunately for the Trust and the Territory, in 2020 with funding from the Governor’s Office granted to the Trust, an update to the information and a completed version of the first Virgin Environmental Atlas of the Virgin Islands was actually launched on December 11th 2020.”
His Excellency the Governor Mr. John J. Rankin, CMG was also present at the handover ceremony and encouraged the students to preserve and protect the environment in which they live.
Governor Rankin said, “I hope that this Virgin Islands Environmental Atlas will be a tool, a tool to encourage all of us and particularly yourselves as young people to help to protect the environment. I say young people because you are the future of BVI and it is your job to persuade my generation and your parents and all the ministers here that we all need to do more to protect our environment.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley said that he was honoured and proud to see that his alma mater was chosen to receive the first set of atlases.
“The environment that we have here today, it is something that is very important to our survival as a human species and we have to protect it,” he said, adding, “That’s why we have Arbour Day, Environment Day and all these other days, to emphasise to you the importance of honouring, cherishing and preserving our environment.”
Honourable Wheatley also said he was committed to the cause of ensuring that the atlas will be used for the benefit of the children in the education system, and expressed profound gratitude on behalf of the entire education system for the availability of this publication.
Meanwhile, Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley encouraged the students to enjoy the environment of the Virgin Islands and to engage in activities including recycling, composting and separation of waste.
Honourable Wheatley extended thanks to Dr. Titley-O’Neal, her full team, the ministry, the bright persons who put in their energy and time into producing the atlas and the Governor’s Office for providing funding. “We are on our way but we are not there yet, help us take care of the environment for our future,” he said.
The Virgin Islands Environmental Atlas was produced with the collaboration of 39 local, regional and international experts to help create a resource for schools and the public. The book also contains information about the biogeography of the Virgin Islands.
Copies are available for purchase at $25.00, from the National Parks Trusts of the Virgin Islands’ main office on Main Street. Additional copies are on the way for sale to the public in the near future.
Photo 1: (Left to right) Deputy Premier, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley, Mrs. Michael, Director of the National Parks Trust Dr. Cassander Titley-O’Neal, Mr. Azan Nibbs, Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley, and His Excellency the Governor Mr. John J. Rankin, CMG
Photo 2: (Left to right) Principal of the Althea Scatliffe Primary School Ms. Kesia King and His Excellency the Governor Mr. John J. Rankin, CMG
Photo 3: (Left to right) Azan Nibbs and Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley
(Photo credit: GIS/F. Skerritt)