Construction of wheelchair access trail underway

By Gutu Faasau 05 August 2022, 9:00PM

The construction of a wheelchair access trail that stretches from the Vailima Botanical Garden car park to the Art Whistler Memorial Garden is underway. 

The development is part of the Vailima Botanical Gardens Zoning Plan, which is also looking to continue the construction of the trail that will connect from the Art Whistler Memorial Garden to the platform overlooking the Loimata stream and waterfall. 

It is one of the many projects that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) is leading in partnership with the Samoa Conservation Society (SCS).

The president of SCS, James Atherton, said the project is much-needed.

"It was an idea from our team because there are no other such wheelchair accessible trails in Samoa," he said, adding that they want to ensure people who use wheelchairs can also share in on the experience of the beautiful botanical garden and learn about rare plant species.

The project was made possible with funding from the British High Commission and the Botanical Gardens Conservation International who have continuously shown support to the Conservation Society. 

An attractive feature of this development is the use of crushed sand sourced from broken glass bottles courtesy of the Samoa Recycling Waste Management Association.

The association oversees a pilot project that is creating glass sand made from glass waste, which will create a new product for use in the building of footpaths and road maintenance. 

The Samoa Conservation Society is a Non Government Organization established back in 2013 and is committed to conserving the natural habitation and heritage of Samoa. They work to inspire all Samoans to live greener and together take responsibility for the environment and biodiversity.

They continue to raise awareness on endangered species through their Facebook page whilst also educating their followers on wildlife endemic to Samoa. The share facts on wildlife in Samoa from their own research gatherings and share it on social media. They shared on how Samoa has more ferns than New Zealand which is many times bigger than Samoa, We are also home to the worlds smallest spider, Patu marplesi which is around 0.5mm fully grown. SCS showing us that there is a lot the Samoa should be proud of.

SCS also have a greenhouse plant nursery for Samoa's rare and threatened plant species. The nursery now holds four of eight endemic species of palms. They are Clinostigma samoense, C. warburgii, C. savaiiense and Balaka insularis and are looking for the last four remaining Balaka species.

SCS Working alongside partners and local communities look to create more awareness on the biodiversity and their latest upgrade to their facilities ensure that everyone can come and see for themselves the beauty of the Botanical Gardens and learn more about Samoa's biodiversity and heritage.

By Gutu Faasau 05 August 2022, 9:00PM
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