Dear friends and supporters of the Ecoparc Project,
It is a great pleasure for us to announce that the Ecoparc nature trails are ready!
Having contributed to the protection of the 32 hectares of the Ecoparc and created the first privately managed protected forest reserve in Senegal, you have participated in the enhancement of this magnificent area of conservation of the Casamance flora and fauna.
The whole team of Ecoparc and Ecofund have spent the last six months creating two walking trails; one of 45 minutes and the other of one and a half hours with informational panels about the natural treasures to be found in the Ecoparc.
We will let you in on the secret of how we achieved this. First, we identified more than one hundred species of trees and interesting places for visitors. These plants and sites were then narrowed down to reach a final selection of 30 points of interest along the trails. A team of students from the University of Ziguinchor, supported by Ecofund, then provided the scientific information needed to create the panels.
We must stress that this work, which required both scientific rigor and adaptation of the information so it is easy for the general public to understand, was all voluntary. It was also further improved as we went along by invaluable contributions (thanks to Johannes from Germany and Marjolaine from Senegal!) and beautifully laid out by Moana, a graphic designer from Tahiti… it was a great collective effort from everyone, showing what passionate people can accomplish together!
Don’t think this was easy! Each step was punctuated by its share of unexpected problems and difficulties. But challenges were always solved as is often the way in Senegal.
Today, Jean-Michel, Augustin and Moïse, the Ecoparc team, put up the panels and carefully cleaned the paths ensuring the space is preserved as authentically as possible, just removing some branches here and there to make the walk easier and more pleasant.
Finally, Augustin and Ecofund would like to thank all the individual donors and particularly the employees of Eiffage Senegal who, through their donation, have demonstrated their desire to do even more than the company has already done for the Ecoparc through the Ecolodge. Their support enabled us to produce the information panels with the help of local artisans in Diembering and Ziguinchor. Therefore in addition to the project’s impact on the conservation of the area’s natural resources, it also contributed to the local economy: carpenters and printers from the region worked with pride for Ecoparc by choosing materials that combine durability with basic environmental criteria.
We are happy to invite you on Saturday 28 November 2015 for the official opening of the trails and the ecolodge, but we must admit that we love the idea that school children from the region are not waiting for this event and are already benefitting from the park. After all, these nature trails were made specifically with them in mind!
We hope that travel agents and the Cap Skirring Club Med will now formalise partnerships with the Ecoparc to increase the number of visitors and therefore the number of people who are aware of the need to care for our precious forests!