Nicole Esteban was the board representative for the St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) and was the chair of the DCNA board of directors.
Nicole started work after university as a personnel manager. ‘Then I learned to scuba dive and realised that I wanted to work in nature protection instead,’ she says.
A second degree in marine biology, followed by a Master’s in Tropical Coastal Management led to work as a consultant on environmental projects in places as far apart as Egypt, Uganda and Belize.
Nicole arrived on Statia in 2003, eager to ‘stay in one place and effect real change there’ – and immediately earned a reputation as ‘that suicidal new parks manager’ when she stood in the road in front of truck to stop sand being illegally taken from a protected beach.
Nicole worked hard to raise environmental awareness amongst locals and visitors on St. Eustatius and improve management of the marine park, protected forest and botanical garden under her control.
STENAPA’s financial resources have been extremely limited in the past – she was forced to close the parks for three weeks in October 2003 when the money ran out completely – but she hopes those days will soon be over. ‘The DCNA and its trust fund should give all the islands a level of financial security that seemed impossible in the past,’ she says.