May 8, 2017: In his fourteenth trip to Mathura and beyond; and his sixth event with Nature Seekers, Senator Rambharat described his dedication to the sector and the prevailing issues of our eco-systems as ‘supportive, sensitive and committed’; noting that he was encouraged that we now have a population ‘that is becoming more and more sensitized to what is happening and what needs to be done. What I have seen in Mathura is a community taking responsibility for its environment, to defend it’. Senator the Honourable Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries was speaking at Nature Seekers Appreciation Day held at the Convention Centre, Mathura on Sunday 7th May, 2017.
The Agriculture Minister also noted that communities ‘have to move through three stages – sensitization, education and enforcement’, therefore he called on Nature Seekers to continue educating and sensitizing the public so as to change behaviors. He said that there is a need for ‘consistent enforcement’; assuring that his ‘responsibility is to ensure that the fines are set so as to act as a significant deterrent and where there are infringements that the prosecution takes place’.
Other speakers included Her Excellency Carla Hogan Rufelds, Canadian High Commissioner who shared her journey in her early career as a forester serving in Borneo, Asia and the conservation efforts for leather back turtles, ‘today is a special homecoming for me; I am very proud to be supportive of the work of Fisheries and Ocean Canada’. Her Excellency shared that Canada celebrates its 150th year of Confederation this year and the work in Trinidad represents its support for ‘the environment’.
Dr. Carol James, former Head of Wildlife Section was called a ‘visionary leader’; Mr. Anthony Ramnarine, former Conservator of Forests delivered a robust presentation on the theme ‘Nature Seekers and Sustainable Turtle Conservation’, stating that ‘we have succeeded together and the turtles are better off for it’.; Mrs. Suzan Lakhan-Baptiste, Managing Director, Nature Seekers took guests on a journey of achievement; and Mrs. Sharon Bobb-Noel, former Reforestation employee shared that today ‘we are known in our community as guardians of the forests’. ‘Through preservation and conservation you can earn a livelihood’ said Mrs. Esther Vidale, Secretary of Nature Seekers.
Dr. Kyle Mitchell, Chairman of Nature Seekers welcomed the close to one hundred guests; and Young Jordan Vidale presented a poem titled ‘Community Born, Community Strong’.
Some twenty-two (22) persons were recognized for their contributions to the work of Nature Seekers in the categories of founding members, early members, retired members and visionary pioneers; including Dr. Carol James; Mrs. Nadra Nathai-Gyan, Chairman of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA); Ms. Merle Bennito; Mr. Hilary Mitchell; Ms. Rita Williams; Mrs. Sharon Bobb-Noel; Ms. Vita Mayoon; Mr. Aviraj Rambharat; Mr. Andrew Superville; Mr. Leslie Henry; Ms. Asha Boodram; Mr. Anthony Ramnarine; Mr. Stephen Koon; Mr. Francis Superville; Mr. Richard Villafana; Mr. Kenneth Fournillier; Mr. Solomon Aguillera; Mr. Anderson Inniss; Mrs. Suzan Lakhan-Baptiste; Mr. Christopher Mitchell.
Established in 1990, Nature Seekers celebrates its 27th Anniversary this year.