Although the Trust was only founded in 2002, a number of projects have been completed over the past decade.
Reports here give a window onto work carried out in the past, and which in many cases have led onto the work we are doing today.
A summary of each project is given below, in chronological order and with links to fuller descriptions and outputs wherever these are available.
- Millennium Forest
- Education Packs
- The Peaks Protected Area Plan
- South Atlantic Invasive Species (SAIS)
- Survey of Bryophytes
- Flax Mill
- St Helena Environmental Information System (SHEIS)
- Conserving St Helena Gumwoods
- Heart-shape Waterfall Access
- Interchange for the training and development of staff and volunteers among European Nature Conservation Trusts
- Lemon Valley Postbox Walk
- Historic Environment Register (HER)
This project was started in 1999 with the purpose of restoring permanent forests of native trees and their associated flora in areas where they once grew as a place of celebration of the Millennium in 2000 for St Helena. The project provides an opportunity for people to make a personal contribution by planting a tree or trees, and it is managed to promote the forest for education, recreation and spiritual refreshment.
The Millennium Forest Development Plan set out the proposal for the transfer of the management of the forest to the National Trust with a three year development plan for 2004 – 2007. The forest work continues to this day.
In 2012, Fauna and Flora International provided funds to help create a more diverse habitat at Millennium Forest, improving water retention through increasing ground cover with endemic species and supporting conservation restoration activities at other biodiverse habitats across the island.
One of the first projects undertaken by the Trust was to produce education packs for use in the schools of the island. These were graded to the different year groups and are available to be read on the website or to download as pdf files. These can all be accessed on the “Publications” page. They covered topics under four main headings related to the history of the island:
- Places of Historic interest
- Social change over 50 years
- Wars of 19th and 20th centuries
- Island Prisoners
In 2005, OTEP funded a project to survey the Bryophytes of St Helena, carried out by Martin Wigginton. Most of the survey was carried out in the Peaks National Park and the report formed part of the Protected Area Plan for the Central Peaks (2007- 2010). The results are evident in the publication of the volume in the Flora of St Helena dedicated to this group (SNCG 2013).
After much discussion about opening a Flax Mill museum, it was eventually being worked on from 2005. A building – the Pipe Store behind the jail – is where it is located. This is currently (2013) in abeyance as it is being used as temporary storage for the slave remains excavated from the Rupert’s Valley graveyard. Inside are three main exhibits – a steam engine, flax stripper and thresher machines. Its location is close to the site of the earliest flax mill on the Wharf.
The St Helena Environmental Information System was a project to synthesize existing information from land management (agriculture, forestry), heritage projects, environmental mapping and monitoring both at sea and on land, fisheries data, and provided protocols for updating, managing and applying information using Geographical Information Systems, and database technology. Development of an educational GIS portal was made available to schools. It built upon existing OTEP interventions on the island, and the Harvard/Berkeley teams with Legal, Lands and Planning, ensuring information from these was synthesized in strategic and daily planning, and environmental education.
The system since that time has evolved to become a significant management and planning tool for the St Helena government within the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate (ENRD, 2013) although now mainly dealing with infrastructure, services and utilities as well as the natural environment.
This was started in 2007 to ensure the protection and restoration of key habitats, species and landscape features through legislation and appropriate management structures and mechanisms, including a protected areas policy, and an attempt at the control and eradication of invasive species. Work was concentrated in the Peak Dale and Millennium Forest areas. This was an OTEP funded project and the project officer was Robert Draper. It was implemented over 3 years.
This was an OTEP/DfID funded project between 2007 and 2010, co-ordinated by Rebecca Cairns-Wicks, with the aim of producing a detailed 3 year management plan for the Central Peaks area, to manage and rehabilitate it in order to achieve an expansion of the habitat here and at HighPeak, with corridors in between. Contributors to the surveys included Dr Philip and Myrtle Ashmole, Howard Mendel and Ed Thorpe (invertebrates), Martin Wigginton (bryophytes), Alan Mills and Edsel Daniels (vegetation)
This was a 3 year project between 2007 and 2010, funded by the EU. Its requirements were broad and included – to review and put in place legislation for protection of biodiversity, increase awareness of invasive species, produce strategies for dealing with invasive species and prioritise key species for action, train and educate people in control methods, improve long term maintenance of pastures, monitor effects of invasive species on seabirds and wirebirds, identify a complete list of host species, assess feasibility of eradicating pigeons, mynahs and rats, expand nursery production of endemic and beneficial plants and expand the baseline data on invasive species. The project officer was Andrew Darlow.
This project was carried out in 2008 – 2010, funded by OTEP. Its purpose was to create access to the Heart-shaped Waterfall, one of St Helena’s foremost geological features and landmarks of natural beauty. The land had recently come into ownership of the National Trust as the result of a private donation.
Neglect of the area had resulted in a vigorous growth of invasive species to colonise the valley floor and access to the waterfall was extremely difficult. The island’s Nature Conservation Group had opened up a trail to the waterfall but it was still only suitable for the energetic and adventurous.
The project’s activities included vegetation clearance, recreating old plantation terraces and planting of suitable endemic flora, clearing rock falls and placement of ladders and bridges as necessary to allow easier access to the waterfall. The result of the project is there for all to see – a pleasant walk up the valley via a network of paths, wooden bridges and walkways.
This was funded by the Leonardo da Vinci Partnership between 2010 and 2012. The focus was on an information exchange programme concerning habitats, species and processes associated with climate change.
In 2011 the Trust was contracted to clear the path to Lemon Valley from Rosemary Plain, including giving access to the ruins that had become very overgrown. Ongoing work in the area includes advice on the management and protection of this culturally significant area, and the rebuilding of some of the ruined buildings as part of a heritage building training scheme (Heritage Building Skills Training Course (2013).
This project resulted from the Tourism Development Project on St Helena, which contracted the National Trust to undertake a survey, information collation, formatting, mapping and reporting of the historic landscape of the island. The project, conducted in 2011, was carried out by Ben Jeffs, and produced a database of all historic buildings on the island, location maps and a website where all the information can be accessed.