Sea Turtle Interpretive Center To Be Developed In St. Kitts
‘Turtle Team’ Donors in Cross Channel Swim Raise More Than $10,000 for the Project as Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS – In keeping with the island’s commitment to sustainable tourism, St. Kitts is pleased to announce that it will soon be home to a new Sea Turtle Interpretive Center. The Center will be developed by the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network (SKSTMN).
The Sea Turtle Interpretive Center is set to be a year-round tourist venue and will be an important addition to St. Kitts’ expanding sustainable tourism product. In addition to aiding in the preservation of sea turtles, the Center will also create jobs and add another eco-friendly attraction to the island for both visitors and locals alike.
“It would also aid tremendously in educating visitors and residents about these critically endangered animals and about the irreplaceable marine resources of the island,” said Dr. Kimberly Stewart, who heads up the SKSTMN. “We really hope that the Center will inspire people to become actively engaged in marine conservation.”
Upon construction, the Center will serve as the SKSTMN’s orientation center for tours and field trips, a research station, an area to showcase the organization’s local craft and jewelry making, a gift shop and an area for members and visitors to seek refuge from the elements during patrols. As their centralized base of operations, it will also allow the SKSTMN to expand their employee base from nine sea turtle technicians to at least fifteen plus ancillary support staff. The Center will be located on St. Kitts’ Keys Beach and cost approximately $75,000 to complete.
To help raise funds to build the new Center, the SKSTMN assembled a team of swimmers to participate in the 10th Annual StarMile2.5 Nevis-St. Kitts Cross Channel Swim on March 25, 2012. The 34 members of the “Turtle Team” swam the 2.5 mile channel from St. Kitts to Nevis, raising more than $10,000 that will go entirely to the development of the Center.
This news is ideally timed, with sea turtle nesting season on St. Kitts having officially begun in March. The SKSTMN offers eco-tours on St. Kitts from April 15 through June 15 annually, wherein guests can accompany the organization’s research team from 8pm – 12am to observe nesting female leatherback turtles. Guests also receive a complimentary local beverage and packet of information about sea turtles. Individuals can also adopt a turtle, learn more about the satellite tagging project, make a donation, or shop the SKSTMN’s online store. The SKSTMN is a community based non-profit organization, so all proceeds are used to fund the St. Kitts sea turtle program.
Founded in January 2003, the SKSTMN monitors nesting sea turtle populations & acts as an advocate for the strengthening of sea turtle protection laws. Over the past 9 years, it has developed a broad-based program incorporating leatherback night patrols, morning beach monitoring, Sea Turtle Camp, school programs, leatherback ecotours and more. To to inquire about arranging a tour or simply to learn more about SKSTMN, contact 1-869-764-6664 or visit www.stkittsturtles.org.
On February 9, 2012, St. Kitts was named one of “5 Caribbean Islands to Discover Now” by MSNBC. It was also named one of the “Top 12 Spots that should be on your list for 2012” by Caribbean Travel + Life magazine and the island’s Brimstone Hill Fortress was named one of “10 Great Places To Explore The World’s Best-Kept Secrets” by USA Today. As of summer 2011, the destination also ranks #1 on a list of the 16 Best Caribbean Vacations by US News & World Report. Last year, St. Kitts was named a top destination for 2011 by both AOL Travel and British Airways. Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, it offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s former sugar plantations, visiting the Caribelle Batik factory, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at St. Kitts’ exclusive casino or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches. Accommodations range from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels and resorts.
For more information about St. Kitts, please contact the St. Kitts Tourism Authority toll free from the US at 1-800-582-6208 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-582-6208 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or from Canada 1-888-395-4887 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-888-395-4887 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.stkittstourism.kn, or connect on Facebook, Twitter and/or YouTube.
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