Turtle viewing had previously been a tremendous tourism attraction that was, however, not providing optimal benefits to the community.
The Trust was started as a collaborative effort between BHP Billiton and five community groups – namely, Nature Seekers, Fishing Pond Turtle Conservation Group, Grande Rivière Nature Tour Guide Association, Save our Sea Turtles Tobago, and the Matura to Matelot Network. By 2013, the Trust had grown to include twenty-one community groups.
The Trust is managed by a board comprising community leaders, representatives from environmental non-governmental organisations, and private and public sector professionals. In an effort to improve the communities’ overall development, the Trust has also started to establish linkages with other sectors, such as agriculture, fishing, cuisine, culture and tourism accommodation. Further, the Trust has opened a Visitor Centre in Valencia, north Trinidad, and implemented a national turtle monitoring program targeting the protection and conservation of turtles and their eggs.
In 2012, Turtle Village Trust was awarded the national Environmental Management Authority’s Green Leaf Award for conservation, and was also granted funding of US$4 million from the Government’s Green Fund Program to expand its work. The Trust also partnered with the Environmental Management Authority in 2012 to stage the country’s First National Sea Turtle Symposium. Further, the Trust was instrumental in having the five species of sea turtles that nest in Trinidad and Tobago declared environmentally sensitive species.
Read more on our community investment activities in the BHP Billiton Community Review (PDF 3.6 MB)
2007 and is ongoing
US$850,000 to date