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A Note from Church Creek . . .

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  • Potter at Island Resources
    Dear friends . . . . During the quiet times of the week between Christmas and New Years it s always interesting to look back to see what Island Resources
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2001
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      Dear friends . . . .

      During the quiet times of the week between Christmas and New Years
      it's always interesting to look back to see what Island Resources
      Foundation has done. This year quiet time was less quiet---we were
      finishing up two major papers at the Office, and workmen are
      dissecting the Potters' new home out on Church Creek in Annapolis.
      But still . . .

      It has been a busy six months, including:

      * Completion of the draft Environmental Characterization of
      Sandy Cay, together with an extended Technical Annex.

      * Drafting a major chapter on Coastal and Marine issues for the
      United Nations Environment Programme's Global Environmental Outlook
      for Latin America and the Caribbean.

      * An extended review of the draft Environmental Management
      Strategy being developed by the Natural Resources Management Unit of
      the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.

      * A detailed critique of the World Bank's Environmental
      Strategy for Latin America and the Caribbean which we feel has NOT
      addressed the hard questions of how global institutions (such as the
      Bank) effectively provide products and services appropriate to small
      island states.

      [Copies of all of these reports or comments are available in
      electronic format (either plain text, or MS Word) to any of our
      members --- just ask, and we'll send it right back.]


      At the same time that we have been producing these long-term
      documents, members of the Foundation have also been actively involved
      in "doing things" about tropical insular environments. Most of our
      members may be aware that Judith Towle has served for several years
      on the Board of Trustees of the Mutki Fund, a small private
      foundation which has concentrated its philanthropy on the natural and
      cultural heritage of St. Kitts and Nevis for the almost 20 years.
      The Mukti Fund first came to Island Resources's attention in the
      early-1990's when it became a source of small project funds to assist
      some of the environmental Non-Governmental Organisations that Bruce
      Horwith was working with the USAID-funded NGO development matching
      grant program based in Antigua. Since that time the Mukti Fund has
      been a consistent and reliable source of small grants for projects we
      have supported in St. Kitts and Nevis.
      Since 1998, Judith has been Chair of the Board of the Mukti
      Fund, a duty which she finds rewarding and challenging.

      In addition to his continuing involvement in Foundation programs in
      watershed studies and coastal zone management, and his hands-on
      direction of this year's Environmental Characterization of Sandy Cay,
      Ed Towle, the "retired" Chairman of the Foundation, also finds time
      to contribute to a number of local Virgin Islands institutions. These
      include the USVI's Non-Point Source Committee, the new Virgin Islands
      Territorial Parks Committee, the BVI Airport Environmental Monitoring
      Committee, and serving on the Board of the Fish Bay Property Owners
      Association in St. John. . . . And of course, he's also starting to
      work on that book on the "Heroes of Conservation in the Caribbean."
      Some retirement . . . .

      I'm not able to keep up with Dr. Towle's pace, but this year has been
      busy for me with duties associated with the Caribbean Conservation
      Association (CCA), and through that, with the Global Environment
      Facility's NGO Network which meets semi-annually to review the
      activities of the Global Environment Facility. At CCA, this has been
      an especially busy year, including a move to new offices at the
      Garrson, St. Michaels, Barbados, and hiring new senior staff for both
      CCA, and for the European Community-funded, 9 million Euro, Caribbean
      Regional Environnment Programme, for which CCA is the implementing
      This past October the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office
      arranged to pay our way to the sixth world conference of the
      International Small Islands Study Association (ISISA) in Skye,
      Scotland. (You may remember that Kevel Lindsay represented Island
      Resources at the meetings in Mauritius two years ago.)

      Island Resources Foundation has also committed itself to serve as the
      lead Caribbean Collaborating Centre for supporting periodic
      environmental assessments in the insular Caribbean for the UNEP
      Global Environmental Outlook (now in its third cycle). Starting back
      in 1997, the GEO process has so far produced:
      o two Global Environmental Outlooks (GEO and GEO 2000),
      o hemispheric summaries of the State of the Environment 2000
      for Latin America and the Caribbean (in both English and Spanish), and
      o a series of three special studies of the State of the
      Environment for Small Island Developing States in the Caribbean,
      South Pacific and Indian Ocean, respectively, as part of the fifth
      anniversary (1999) of the SIDS Conference and Programme of Action in
      Barbardos in 1994.
      This year's cycle for the GEO process intends to examine
      environmental trends for the past 30 years, in relation to public
      policies in general, and especially the global environmental
      agreements since the Stockholm Convention of 1972.
      Setting up a permanent process for conducting the
      "_Caribbean_ Environmental Outlook" is a long-term development
      program and a time-consuming commitment on the part of the
      Foundation. The first stage in this process is to enroll partners
      like CCA, the Center for Environment and Development of the
      University of the West Indies and other regional institutions, and to
      raise funds to support the activity. UNEP has little of the essential
      funds to coordinate the involvement and input from the 28 major
      islands in the insular Caribbean that need to be engaged in regional
      environmental assessments. You will be hearing more from us about


      Seven or eight months ago I asked members for their ideas about what
      the Foundation should be doing, or has historically done, to make
      MORE OF A DIFFERENCE to its members. The most common response by
      far---from both individual members, and from Trustees---was that the
      Foundation has never been more interesting, or more engaging to its
      membership, than when it was trekking off to Aves Island in the
      1970's and tagging turtles.
      In this age of complex systems and multi-million-dollar real
      estate transactions masquerading as conservation, we don't seem to be
      able to approach the romance and adventure of those earlier
      expeditions, but the Foundation IS making a difference with the same
      combination of sound science, energy and commitment that animated
      those earlier efforts. For example, the environmental
      characterization of Sandy Cay has taken dozens of visits by some of
      the Caribbean's premier island specialists, and weeks of research and
      documentation about some of the region's most arcane biological
      subjects. And the product is a substantial contribution to our
      understanding of the ecologies of small islands---and how to preserve
      On a regional scale, we now have over 1500 people and
      institutions enrolled in interlocking networks of environmentalist,
      NGOs and community-based activists. who have been effective in
      helping local conservationists to save island beaches for turtles, to
      prevent further coastal and wetlands depredations, or to protect
      against silly development schemes such as rocket launch pads on
      offshore oceanic cays, or assembly facilities on top of enclosed
      coral bays.
      With your support, these will continue.


      About three weeks ago Judith Towle finalized the Foundation's annual
      report, and it should be in your mail boxes within a couple weeks.
      But I want to take a minute to repeat one item that you can read
      there also. At the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees (held in
      Road Town in September), the Board voted a list of special
      appreciations. In so doing, the Board was acknowledging the
      visionary, innovative assistance and partnership by others on behalf
      of the Foundation. The following merit special acknowledgement and my
      personal thanks here:

      for providing a new home for the Foundation
      and its environmental library in the BVI.

      for helping us to maintain our Antigua
      office while Kevel Lindsay is on study leave.

      for pro bono legal assistance for more
      than 20 years.

      for a special contribution for equipment at
      the BVI Environmental Information Center.

      for extended volunteer services to IRF since his
      retirement as president in 1998.

      for donation of property at Fish Bay,
      St. John, USVI.

      for donation of his extensive photographic
      collection and other historical materials
      of the Lesser Antilles--especially
      Dominica--dating from 1937-1940. (Prior to
      WW II, Dr. Hodge carried out extended
      botanical research in the Eastern Caribbean.)

      and his talented graduate students for their
      contributions to long-term sedimentation and
      erosion control studies in St. John, USVI.


      Before concluding, let me make a special plea for those of you who
      are affiliated with some organization or group to subscribe that
      GROUP as a member of Island Resources Foundation and the CARIBBEAN
      CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION <cca@...>, at the higher
      INSTITUTIONAL rate. Our regional environmental groups fulfill a vital
      role that ought to be supported by governmental and non-governmental
      organizations alike.

      Best wishes for the new year, and . . . the new millenium

      bruce potter

      Island Resources Foundation
      29 Years of Environmental Planning for Development

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