ReforeStatia Nursery opened its doors on Friday, August 30th, with a grand opening ceremony. The Reforestation Project is funded by reconstruction funds made available to St Eustatius post-hurricane Irma from the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) of the Dutch Government. The nursery is located between Made in Statia and the St Eustatius Utility Company STUCO solar park.

On hand for the opening of the nursery was Deputy Government Commissioner Mervyn Steger, Director of Economy and Infrastructure Anthony Reid, project partners: St Eustatius National Parks STENAPA Foundation Director Erik Boman; Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries LVV; MacandField, and government officials and prominent members of the Statia community.

Boman welcomed everyone and shared the vision of reforesting the island. The On-site Manager Adam Mitchell and Stacey Macdonald, co-founder of MacandField outlined the future of the project and the positive impact it will have on water retention, hurricane resilience, erosion and wildlife.

The highlight of the event was the planting of three sea-grape saplings on the property by Mr Stegers -who shared his appreciation for the project-, Mr Reid and Director of Lynch Plantation Museum, former President of the St, Eustatius Historical Foundation and lifelong farmer, Ishmael Berkel. These trees, along with a future fence line of gum trees (tourist trees) were placed as windbreakers for the two-shade houses and plants to be nursed on the property.

The opening ceremony followed a day after an Information Session held at Golden Era Hotel where the background, current status and the future of the Reforestation Project were shared. The focus of the session was the need for the public to protect the trees on St Eustatius, both existing ones and those to be planted by the project. We already know the importance of trees for our protection from hurricanes, for stabilizing of land and for the sustenance of animals and humans alike. We need to protect them.