According to a press release from Government Information Services (GIS) on December 11, 2020, His Excellency the Governor Augustus J. U. Jaspert said at the launch of the publication on Thursday, December 10, 2020, that he was thrilled to see the atlas come to life after much work by the Trust.
Governor Jaspert said, “I hope this publication will be a valuable resource for schools across the Territory, and will inspire the next generation to protect and preserve BVI’s beautiful natural environment. I am grateful to the UK for providing funds to support this important project.”
The development of this atlas began in 2002, through an initial grant from the UK Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP) and was completed in 2006. The Governor’s Office provided a $5,000 grant to update and finish the printed version.
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Honourable Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) lauded the dedication and effort that went into producing the atlas, saying, "I am so happy to see that after 15 years of trying, the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands, under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, is finally able to launch its environmental atlas."
Director of the NPTVI, Dr Cassander Titley-O'Neal expressed gratitude on behalf of the Chairman of the NPTVI Board, Board members and staff to His Excellency, Governor Jaspert for assisting with this initiative and seeing it through to completion. “This initiative will help us to preserve and manage designated natural areas and bring greater awareness of the Virgin Island's natural landscape and biodiversity," she said.
Dr O’Neal stated that the NPTVI collaborated with 39 local, regional and international experts to create this resource for schools and the public.
“It is anticipated that the Virgin Islands Environmental Atlas will foster research on Territory-specific topics. The atlas unites an array of technical information which was previously dispersed throughout many different Government Departments and unpublished reports,” the Director added.
Up until this point, the teaching of geography and the environment in VI schools has relied upon the use of regional and international atlases. This new Environmental Atlas is anticipated to become a critical resource for teachers and students throughout the Territory.
Two hundred copies have been printed with the funding from the Governor’s Office, which will be freely distributed to schools. NPTVI is seeking additional funding to print more copies that will be sold in bookstores around the Territory.
For more information regarding the VI Environmental Atlas, please contact the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands at (284) 345-3650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.