7 3/4 Mile-Marker Arima-Blanchisseuse Road
P.O. Box 4710
Trinidad and Tobago
Type: Field Centre
Interest in Forestry: central
The continental origin and proximity of Trinidad to South America, along with its many varied habitats, has resulted in an unusually diverse fauna. The species lists for this island are impressive: 108 mammals; 400 birds; 55 reptiles; 25 amphibians; and 617 butterflies! No other area in the West Indies, and few if any areas of comparable size anywhere in tropical America, can match this spectacular diversity of species. It is 50 miles long by about 37 miles wide with varied landscape features, including its Northern Range rising to a little over 3,000 feet, most of which is covered by one or another form of tropical rainforest. It is here, in this rich tropical part of this beautiful island, that you will find the magical Asa Wright Nature Centre.
To see Squirrel Cuckoos, Toucans, and all manner of other species fly within sight of the front gallery, to see Tufted Coquettes and half a dozen other species of hummingbirds feeding on the vervain from the back gallery, is but a start of what the birder will find at the Centre. Botanists and entomologists and other naturalists will find the area equally rich.
The Centre Today
Under professional local management and talented volunteer leadership from its international board of management, the Centre focuses its efforts in three major areas. It has been widely recognized as one of the most successful ecotourism stories in the world!
Since its inception over 32 years ago, the Asa Wright Nature Centre has been a leader in ecotourism — long before that word was even coined! It remains today a world-class leader in this field and is pre-eminent not only in Trinidad & Tobago but across the Carribbean and in its status as a world-renowned nature destination.
1998 Islands Ecotourism Award Recognition for the excellent and successful performance of this program has been given by ISLANDS magazine`s designation of the Centre as its Ecotourism Award winner for 1998.
In 1999, AUDUBON magazine selected the Centre as one of just nine eco-lodges worldwide that it considered one of "The World`s Ultimate Outposts."
Land Acquisition and Conservation of Habitat
Since its inception, the amount of property under management by the Centre grew to some 1,000 acres, all dedicated to the preservation of the wildlife, habitat and, very importantly, protecting the watershed of the Arima Valley on which so many people depend. In addition to land owned outright, the Centre has a 99-year lease comprising some 250 acres that immediately adjoins the original Spring Hill Estate.
In 1999, the Centre`s Board approved the purchase of what will be known as the Asa Wright Nature Centre`s Aripo Forest Lodge. This facility, located in a valley just west of the Centre, will provide an opportunity to both grow the educational capacity of the Centre, add another destination for Trinidad`s growing ecotourism business, and provide the catalyst for the preservation of yet another wildlife area and important watershed. Development of this facility is now underway.
Throughout its history, the Centre has been a focal point for environmental education efforts in Trinidad & Tobago through its sponsorship of special research projects, nature guides and wildlife publications, and a number of cooperative programs with the Port-of-Spain campus of the University of the West Indies. Under the guidance of the Education Committee of the Board, chaired by Professor Julian Duncan of the University`s Department of Biological Sciences, an Environmental Education Officer has been hired who is now actively engaged in a wide array of intiatives reaching out to schoolchildren and teachers throughout Trinidad`s Arima Valley.