Sandrine and Markus visit on December 28th to Augustine and Jean-Michel at the Casamance Ecoparc was the fourth Ecofund team’s visit in 2014. It is always a pleasure strolling through the Diembering primary forest, breathing in its fresh air, contemplating its majestic trees and creepers while listening to intense wildlife activities. For example, we were excited to see traces of the boa that comes weekly to the Ecoparc, returning every Sunday to the rice fields. We also saw that the strangler fig had completed its unwholesome task of felling its palm tree host.
The opportunity of visiting such a forest in Senegal is indeed a rare treat, since Senegal’s classified forests are barely accessible to locals (due to lack of development) and totally unknown to tourists. The Casamance Ecoparc is an exception. Our Ecofund community members are happy with their contributions which culminated in the excellent first result of preserving 32 hectares of the Ecoparc through fencing the forest and formalizing its status with the signing of a framework agreement. It is important to continue the work. The forest will be accessible, welcoming more visitors to discover its immense treasures which are valuable for creating awareness among as many young people as possible on the need to protect, enhance and sustainably develop our natural resources.
Thus, with the completion of the Ecolodge thanks to Eiffage Senegal and the Eiffage Group’s support in boosting the preliminary work carried out by Augustine, Jean-Michel and their team, the ecology trail will now to be set up in the Ecoparc to finalize the project.
When the Ecolodge starts welcoming students, researchers, pupils and tourists for a well-deserved break after walking in the Ecoparc, the ecology trail will provide information to visitors on what they can see and on the hidden treasure of this forest. In addition, as the ecology trail is the Ecoparc’s hub, the Association for the Protection of the Environment in Senegal (EPAS - chaired by Augustin Diatta), NIAMBA Association and Ecoparc Casamance EIG (Diembering) in charge of Wildlife and Plant conservation, environmental education and ecotourism, will be involved in the elaboration of observation stations and associated trail signs.
With Ecofund’s support, the entire local community of researchers from the University of Ziguinchor, who are already using the Ecoparc for educational purposes, and scientists from the Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research and the Institute for Development Research, supported by local traditional healers, specialists in plants and their virtues, are presently collaborating, on the ground, on the preparation of information signboards. These signboards, designed to be simple but scientifically based, will include fun questions to liven up the guided tour, and the final quiz tour for visitors, especially schoolchildren. Note that access to the Ecoparc remains free for schools, universities and environmental education activities!
To finance the production of eco-friendly signboards with termite resistant materials, we need your financial support. In fact, we still need to raise 5,005 Euros on our website. Click on the photo to support the Casmance Ecoparc project!
By supporting the Ecoparc Phase II project, you will have the honor of being guided and pampered by Jean-Michel during your visit to the Ecoparc, and you can take pride in being a key player in environmental development and protection!
We are eager to see the results in a few short months from now, to walk the two trails (one, in 45 minutes, the other in 90 minutes) and learn more about the fauna and flora at the educational stations. These trails will be operated, maintained and managed by EPAS mainly thanks to the potential income generated from tourism activities in the Ecoparc in the future.
Meet your guide Jean-Michel in this video and listen to him talk about his experience at the Ecoparc!
Help Augustin to set up an Ecological path within the Casamance Ecoparc and so to save this green lung for future generations