A short road-trip out of town and away from it all brings you to one of Statia’s treasures. The Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Garden is located half-way along the trail “Around the Mountain”, showing a panoramic view of St Kitt’s northern shore. The grounds open up to a scenic, safe-haven for the Statia’s native plants and animals. It’s an area also suited for relaxation and entertainment, especially when the travelling whales pass by and say hello.
Invasive species may enter the island by mistake and can threaten these organisms. This garden allows STENAPA to focus their efforts on the removal of such threats. Poor fencing or lack thereof, however, also threaten the garden by allowing roaming goats and pig to damage the plants. Thankfully, STENAPA has successfully installed the necessary fencing at the latter part of 2018.
Nadio Spanner, the then Garden Ranger, lead the recovery of the garden from damage sustained from Hurricane Irma. The shade house needed to be rebuilt and the trees inside were planted in the garden. The new shade house is almost completed. Interns Livius, Thomas and Tom have since joined the STENAPA team for their internship and have been using their academic training to design a new, refreshing aesthetics and layout. Livius has considered the various growing conditions needed for each group of plants, such as cactus vs orchids, and where to plant them to allow them to coexist successfully in the same garden. Thomas and Tom are able to combine this knowledge with the more practical side of landscaping and design.
This upgraded Botanical Garden will hopefully attract an even greater number of local residents looking to get some relaxation “behind the Mountain”. More interactive activities for the general public such as tours and events are in the planning for this year. STENAPA maintains the garden to preserve the native flora of Statia and to give the general public a quiet place to enjoy up close the nature that the island has to offer.