It was August 28th, 2013. The sun playing hide-and-seek behind the clouds. A sense of peace and tranquility engulfs the IDB Team as they swan through the wetlands, navigating around two ponds and through the woody areas of the Trinidad and Tobago Point-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust, discovering with every step the miracles of Mother Nature.
First to greet us was a peacock, displaying its plumage in full splendour and then …. a little further down the trail, the Team stops to allow a mother duck with her brood of ducklings to slip gently into the still waters of the pond. Someone thinks they have spotted a caiman at the other end of the pond and for a moment the Team stood tentatively to catch a second glimpse, wondering if the mother duck and her brood were safe.
As the Team continued along the well-defined track, they came upon an open grassy plain where they were met by the smiling faces of the Trust volunteers, armed with shovels, manure and 50 young tropical fruit trees which included tamarind, guava, soursop, sapodilla and a host of others carefully selected to support the Trust’s wild life. That day all 50 trees were planted as a symbol of IDB’s commitment to the continued development of the twin island state and in celebration of the 50th Independence of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Stepping back to look at the fruits of our labour, while wiping the sweat off of our brow, one could not help but notice the Pointe-a-Pierre Oil Refinery peeping over the trees. To many it may seem ironic that this paradise, this environmental sanctuary covering approximately 30 hectares of land, sits within the major petrochemical and oil refining complex, PETROTRIN. To the members and volunteers of the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust, now in its 47th year of existence, it is a labour of love and dedication. To us at the IDB, it is a perfect example of the harmony between the petroleum industry, which is the economic mainstay of Trinidad and Tobago, and the environment. The Wildfowl Trust demonstrates how amidst an industry with potentially detrimental effects to the environment, a natural sanctuary for nature can not only exist but also thrive.