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Miriam Constance Schmidt
1932 – 2000

It would not be an understatement to say that, without Miriam C. Schmidt, the Botanical Garden would not exist. It is thanks to her dedication, commitment and above all else, her vision of a sanctuary for the protection of Statia’s rich biodiversity, that the garden was created. It is therefore little wonder that the garden came to be called the Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden.

Miriam was born on January 8th, 1932, on the island of St. Eustatius. Her very first official function was at the tender age of nine years old, when she was appointed Secretary of what was then known as the Missionary Volunteers society of the Seven-Day Adventist church, known today as the Advent Youth. At the age of 16, she left the island to go to Curaçao however Statia was always where her heart lay and she returned to the island in the 1960’s. Almost as soon as her feet touched the ground, she began working as a committed volunteer, and got involved in numerous causes and events, and worked tirelessly whenever called upon. The list of activities she was involved in is too long to recite here, but some of the most notable ones include being a founding member of the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation, being a founding member of Stenapa – serving as both vice president and president, and even becoming the islands first D.J. It was through her work with Stenapa that the Botanical Garden was founded, it took her several long years to get the funding, support, and land to create the garden but in 1998 the Botanical Garden was opened to the public. Sadly Miriam passed away only two years later, and it was decided that the garden should be renamed the Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden.

However Miriam’s real strength did not lie in her dedication, commitment or vision, it was in her ability to inspire and motivate others in her causes. She never tried to do it alone, she always involved others and so whatever the task, she would surround herself with whoever was necessary to get the job done, and done well. Something that Stenapa continues to uphold to this day with their intern and volunteer programs and not to mention the hard working staff members that make it all happen. So if there is a legacy that Miriam has left us, it is not just the Botanical Garden but the belief that each and everyone of us has something, some talent, skill or resource to contribute. No matter how small we may feel we are all special in our own special way.

 

 

The Reclining Man
Hibiscus flowers