Ecologist to speak on balancing environment and economy
Balancing commercial interests with environmental sustainability is the topic of a virtual talk taking place today.
Lanya Fanovich is a senior ecologist at the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville in Trinidad and Tobago. The institute works towards the sustainability of the people and ecosystems of north-east Tobago.
She will deliver the talk using examples of successful projects being carried out in the dual-island nation.
Ms Fanovich said: “As an NGO and non-profit, we have been implementing projects that have a commercial potential — avenues for commercial growth — that involve our community members.
“When we implement commercial projects, we ensure that community interests are met while maintaining our vision and rules as an organisation in conservation.”
Ms Fanovich will share with her audience a project that involves the installation of mooring buoys for yachts.
She explained: “This really is to serve the yacht industry. We didn’t have any moorings for them to anchor so they simply throw their anchors off, which causes reef damage.
“By installing the buoys, the community members can benefit from the fee charged to tie up on them.
“We are working with Charlotteville Police Youth Club, mentoring them and building capacity for them to be able to run the mooring buoys. We train them in financial management and they will benefit from the earnings of the moorings to implement youth-based environmental projects within the community.”
Ms Fanovich said that ERIC works closely with the community, including a large population of fishermen, to ensure that it provides feedback on the types of projects it would like to see implemented.
“A lot of the Caribbean islands have that small fishing village setting and a lot of them are visited by tourists,” Ms Fanovich added.
“There are a lot of similarities that can be drawn between the islands. We are trying to foster entrepreneurship and mentorship while ensuring we can demonstrate that livelihoods can be sustained through initiatives that are sustainable and conservation-minded.”
Ms Fanovich earned a masters in science and management of tropical biodiversity and environment and a bachelor of science in zoology with a focus on marine biology and biotechnology from the University of the West Indies.
She has worked as a camp counsellor and activity leader at the National Science Centre and was a lab demonstrator at the UWI. She was also an assistant site manager for archaeological excavations at the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.
Her talk takes place at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute today from 4pm.
Tickets are $20 for BUEI members and $15 for non-members. Call 294-0204 or visit the Oceans Gift Shop at BUEI.