TCI Environmental Club Undertakes Native Plant Rescue
By TCI Government Press Office
Oct 19, 2010 - 11:24:01 AM

DECR staff member, Bryan Manco demonstrates to TCI Environmental Club members a method of removal of an Encyclia orchid while showing the fragile network of fungus in the orchid’s roots that keeps the plant alive in times of drought.

Turks and Caicos Islands - The TCI Environmental Club, organized by the DECR and comprised of concerned citizens with a deep passion for the protection and promotion of environmental sustainability, recently held their first terrestrial conservation activity -  rescuing native plants from a development area in Providenciales.

Volunteers from the Environmental Club relocated specimens of TCI’s unique flora from the threatened site to areas safe from development. Approximately 300 plants and 17 species were rescued, the majority being young seedlings of slow-growing and international protected and endangered lignum vitae tree.

DECR representatives said “Many of the rescued plants are globally threatened, endangered or endemic to the TCI and the Bahamas, and have very restricted worldwide ranges. However, not all plants endure relocation and those that did not, but bear fruit, were rescued by seed collecting.”

The DECR noted that during collection, plants were tagged with botanical name, collection date, and area of provenance. GPS coordinates for the collection site were logged as well. Permanent relocation for the plants will be within areas protected from development and private and public native plant gardens.

Similar rescues are being planned for the future. Anyone interested in native plant rescues or in the TCI environment in general may join the DECR’s TCI Environmental Club, which generally meets at 6 PM at the National Environmental Center on the first Thursday of each month.

● Rescue collecting largely focused on epiphytes, particularly Encyclia orchids and Tillandsia air plants, as well as wild frangipani Plumeria obtuse and lignum vitea Guaiacum sanctum 

● The nursery and the rescue mission are components of a DECR project for Endangered and Endemic Plant Rescue by the UK Government’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee. 

● Collected seeds will be grown in the DECR’s native plant nurseries in Providenciales and North Caicos. 

● Learn more on the “TCI Environmental Club” Facebook page or by contacting the DECR at telephone contact #946-5122.  The Club is also accepting suggestions for future native plant rescue sites.

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