Matura Diamond Project
Project Title: “Matura Development Initiative of Awareness, Management and Eco Tourism for Natural Resource Conservation”
This Project was developed by the members of Nature Seekers (Matura residents) to peruse its vision of “an environmentally friendly community empowered with the necessary skills and training enabling us to work with each other, generating sustainable livelihood while promoting Community Tourism and the protection of our natural resources”. As such the following statement was identified as the main opportunities to grow and help us achieve our vision.
There is a growing concern of the lack of awareness in the community in regards to the environment and the impact of our actions.
- The setting of fires has increased in the area especially in 2010 which decimated large areas of private and state lands in the community.
- The willingness to burn plastic and Styrofoam,
- The large number of dry fallen trees has created a haven for fire to spread.
- The levels of garbage being dumped on the side of the road,
- The wealth of wildlife in the area has been under threat from an increase in hunting activities. Reports from the Wildlife Section have indicated that hunting catch for the past 3 years has been decreasing.
- The beaches are susceptible to significant debris and litter accumulation, not only from the ocean.
- This debris scattered along the beach can obstruct nesting turtles as well as hatchlings.
- The lack of sustainable employment has created opportunities for abuse of the natural resources.
Purpose of the project
It is the intent of this project to protect the natural resources in the Matura community and environs while creating opportunities for capacity building and employment for local residents. It is our intent to show that the reforestation and youth ambassador programme can be replicated in other communities.
This will be done by using tourism as a tool for the conservation of the natural resources. Since tourism needs the natural resources for sustainability it is a very important that we invest in the protection of the natural resources. In order for this to occur and in keeping with our success factors, the tourism product needs to have diversity and depth in order to achieve natural resource sustainability. This can be done by improving the tourism portfolio of the community. As such having a complete portfolio of activities allows for the development of a stronger tourism product and by extension a stronger environment programme. The community already has:
- Kayaking facility
- Meeting & Conference facility
- Occasional Nature Tours.
- Matura Salybia Community Kitchen
- Turtle watching
Project Idea & Plan
We hope to protect the environment by expanding our tourism portfolio in the following areas:
- Establishment of a local Natural Craft and Jewellery Centre – The 2010 Forest Policy highlighted the value in non-timber extraction as an opportunity to create sustainable livelihood. Creating a facility to use the natural and human recourses of community to create local craft from natural and waste materials in order to educate and create balance of the forest resource is critical for the wellbeing of the local communities.
- Nature Tours Expansion – It is the intent of this project to use the natural attraction to encourage participation and enjoinment of the general public as this represents an objective of the 2010 Forest Policy. As an example of how we have used this in the past is through our turtle conservation programme. The Turtle season extends from March to August each year. During this time, nightly tours are given by the Nature Seekers tour guides to guests along the Matura beachfront.
- Matura Youth Ambassadors (building local capacity) – The goal of the Community Youth Environment Leadership component is simple; to help young leaders lead more effectively to the benefit of the environment. We will provide selected young people with essential knowledge and practical experience in vital skill areas. This highly engaging initiative will help youth develop and increase their leadership and participation skills, through educational awareness activities over a period of 2 years.
- Reforestation – Over 8-10% of the national forest is privately owned. Based on this we believe that private land owners have a role to play in creating a healthy forest that would sustain our nation needs. The focus will be to encourage land owners within important watersheds in the area. This effort will focus on four areas: clearing, reforestation and maintenance of these lands and planting of fruit trees. This is another small business initiative to provide technical guidance and labour for a fee from the private land owners.