SINT MAARTEN (MAHO) – Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) Sint Maarten is pleased to announce receipt of a grant award from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Caribisch Gebied (PBCCG) to conduct a bio-inventory of all locally found vascular plants.
The research is led by botanist Franklin Axelrod, PhD, of Puerto Rico University, who has vast botanical experience throughout the Antilles, having identified and catalogued many specimens from Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Eustatius and Saba. His publications include A Systematic Vademecum to the Vascular Plants of Sint Eustatius and A Systematic Vademecum to the Vascular Plants of Puerto Rico.
There have not been any vascular plant studies conducted on Sint Maarten since the major hurricanes Luis (1995) and Irma (2017). Dr. Axelrod will collect, identify and document which plants are currently present on the island and which can no longer found (compared to previous publications and research findings). The ultimate goal is to catalog his findings and publish a field guide for a varied audience, including botanists and ecologists. This research will also facilitate lobbying for the protection and conservation of species and future policy planning.
EPIC is providing Dr. Axelrod with logistical support to ensure that his time in Sint Maarten is most efficiently utilized. His work will be completed via multiple visits over the course of approximately two years, ensuring plant samples include all seasons and various stages of development, such as flowering and seeding. While contributing to his research and resulting book is a great source of pride for EPIC, the organization will have the added benefit of receiving a specimen of each plant species collected.
EPIC would like to express its sincere appreciation to the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds for its ongoing support of environmental education and preservation efforts. “EPIC is wholly dependent on monies received through fundraising, donations and grants in order to operate. Without this grant, we could not support the important work of Dr. Axelrod,” said Board President, Amy Trione.
The Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds was founded by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in 1940, supporting over 170 projects on a yearly basis. Its goal is to support activities in the area of history, literature, visual arts, music, dance, theater, art and culture education, monument care and nature preservation on all Dutch Caribbean islands.