Walkers Savannah, Barbados
The sand quarry located at Walkers Savannah in St. Andrew has been the source of silica sand; an important component of cement used in building. The sand removed from this area has been a pillar for the construction industry for decades and over time has been incorporated into the vast majority of buildings on the island. The brilliant idea to create a sustainable nature reserve to replace the defunct quarry came via the current owner Mr Ian Mcneel; who thought it would be beneficial to sustainably develop the land and give it new life and purpose, rather than allow it to simply degenerate into a wasteland. Like many of the tourist attractions in St. Andrew, Walker's Reserve has stunning views of the jagged coastline, the forested terrain and undulating waves of the ocean. However, the real beauty of the reserve is the spectacular conservation project that makes use of modern agricultural techniques which provide alternative uses to the quarry. Ultimately the vision of Walker’s Reserve is to create unity between people and the environment to achieve a sustainable relationship that is mutually beneficial to both.
As such Walkers, Institute for Regenerative Research and Design or WIRRED was created. Dedicated to studying, developing and implementing regenerative strategies. Already they have successfully achieved a feasible eco-tourism program that contributes financially to communities involved in agrotourism. WIRRED has also been committed to restoring the nesting site for leatherback turtles, one of the three endangered species that nest on the island annually. To spice things up, WIRRED also came up with an exciting way to boost community participation by getting the general public involved in their efforts and bring awareness to the dire need for sustainable practices. Through monetary donations, volunteering, tree planting and monthly tours of the reserve.
Walkers Reserve spans the low lying land on the coast and gradually rises inland, expanding for over three hundred acres. Natural and manmade landscapes occupy this expanse of forest, dunes, hills and various bodies of water. Some areas have been diligently cultivated to harvest an array of organically raised plants. In fact, there are over eighteen thousand varieties of these plants including food crops such as; bananas, cashews, pineapples, coconuts and tamarinds as well as other plants, including pillow cotton and the Florida tassel flower. The cultivation of these food crops will help to reduce the food import bill, support local farmers and the economy and contribute to soil health and sustainability of the land.
The vast beauty of nature and life is evident in everything that is protected and nurtured by Walkers Reserve; teaching Barbados and the world by extension how to be good environmental stewards is one of the many attractions that accompany the multitude of flora and fauna which find sanctuary there. Exploring Walkers reserve is an excellent way to appreciate the precious natural resources we are blessed with while learning how to actively pursue a healthier earth.