October first is just around the corner so we are finishing up the last few villa preparations for her new residents. It’s been fun to revisit some of the early photos to appreciate just how far she’s come:
Saturday was a very busy day on the islands “thinking green” front. As well as being International Coastal Clean-up Day, the TCI Environmental Club had our first native vegetation rescue mission. The group of approximately 15 people met at 8am at the NEC where we saw the nursery and took a peak at many of the young plants there. Brian Naqqi, the groups founder and a walking encyclopedia book of knowledge and information, took the time to show us around and answer questions.
We had a great morning today, 25 September, collecting native plants from a development area. Many of these plants are globally threatened or endangered, or endemic to the TCI and Bahamas, so have a restricted worldwide range. Plants that were too big to relocate and bearing ripe fruit (two species) were rescued by seed collecting. Collecting largely focused on epiphytes, particularly Encyclia orchids and Tillandsia air plants.
The morning was great fun and I’m certain everyone learned a lot, I know I did! I think we all shared our experiences, knowledge, and familiarity with the bush and a passion for TCI’s plants.
During collection, plants were tagged with their botanical name, collection date, and area of provenance. After the collection, we moved the plants to DECR’s Endangered and Endemic Plant Rescue Nursery at the National Environmental Centre, where they were potted, counted, tagged, and catalogued.
Our rescue saved the following numbers and species of plants from likely destruction:
Dog-drink-water, Tillandsia utriculata: 25 plants
Flexuous wild pine, Tillandsia flexuosa: 2 plants
Cuttlefish airplant, Tillandsia balbisiana: 2 plants
Silvery wild pine, Tillandsia circinnata: 3 plants
Tall Encyclia, Encyclia altissima (CITES Appendix II Endangered; TCI & Hispaniola endemic): 32 plants!!
Inagua Encyclia, Encyclia inaguensis (CITES Appendix II Endangered; TCI and Inagua endemic): 1 plant
Encyclia (what we think are natural hybrids, likely E. altissima x E. caicensis), (CITES Appendix II Endangered; TCI endemic, rare): 5 plants
Frogwood, Guettarda krugii: 1 plant
Pigeon plum, Coccoloba diversifolia: 1 plant
Buffalo top, Thrinax morrisii (experimental move): 1 plant
Dildo cactus, Pilosocereus royenii (CITES Appendix II Endangered): 7 plants
Lignum vitae, Guaiacum sanctum (CITES Appendix II Endangered, Caribbean basin endemic): over 200 plants
Wild frangipani, Plumeria obtusa: 7 plants
Millspaugh’s century plant: Agave millspaughii (TCI and Bahamas endemic): 3 plants
Havana star vine, Jacquemontia havanensis: 2 plants
White ebony, Hypelate trifoliata (Caribbean basin endemic)
Whitewood, Drypetes diversifolia (TCI, Bahamas, and Florida endemic)
Also collected was the important find of a reproductive body (mushroom) of the mycorrhizal fungus associated with Encyclia orchids. This might now be identified to further our understanding of TCI’s botanical ecology.
Thanks to everyone who attended and helped out:
Jessica Hall, Tamara Hall, Brenda Clare, Stacie Steensland, Beth Ann Neis, Phil Neis, Denise Elmerich, Sonya Grant, Magali LeChavallier, Samuel Fenelus, Marlon Hibbert, and Eric Salamanca.
Special thanks to Denise Elmerich for willing to let your truck get dirty to carry lots of plants, and to Brenda Clare for showing us all a great example of preserving existing native vegetation for use in home landscaping.
We hope to have more activities coming up soon, and thanks for your participation!
B Naqqi Manco
“In partnership with organizations and individuals across the globe, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-Up engages people to remove trash and debris from the world’s beaches and waterways, identify the sources of debris, and change the behaviors that cause marine debris in the first place. Join us this September 25: Sign up for a Cleanup near you and get involved today!”
Unfortunately TCI is not listed in the options menu under country locations but regardless, please visit your local beach and lift the litter! If you pick-up litter on a consistent basis, or would like to, please contact me to join a new club I am captaining; TCI RUBBISH RUNNERS! Most of us living in the Turks and Caicos are on a weekly basis out to take the dogs for a walk, enjoy a play day with kids on the beach, going for a morning run, or a sunset stroll. I encourage everyone to bring a litter bag and fill it up when you go. I have been removing 1-2 IGA sized bags of litter from Leewards beaches and streets 4-5 times per week for the last five years. I know I am not alone and that there are many others out there who make lifting litter part of their daily life. Please join me to run off rubbish and keep TCI beautiful by nature !
Today the sun is at zenith over the equator. The term “equinox” is derived from the latin words “aequus” (equal) and “nox” night, meaning our length of day is nearly as equal as the length of night on this date . Autumnal equinox occurs yearly around Sept 22-23rd and the vernal equinox on March 20-21st. Doing some gardening this afternoon I pulled a dying branch off one of the Christmas Palms and noticed how pretty the amber colors of the leaf were turning. I looped it into the shape of a circle and fastened it with a couple of garbage ties. Easiest wreath ever.