Just back from three days at National Park Weeribben – Wieden in the Netherlands, Desiree Croes is brimming with ideas and enthusiasm for her work on Bonaire.
Desiree, who works for STINAPA Bonaire as the Nature and Environmental Education Coordinator was visiting IVN Nederlands’ Thea Peters, Nico Driessen and the Junior Rangers of Weeribben – Wieden in order to exchange ideas and plan future activities for her own Bonaire Junior Rangers.
14 Junior Rangers came out to the park to meet Desiree and work together with park rangers and volunteers to construct a walkway over the swampy marsh to improve the park visitor experience.
“The visit was amazing. I am so impressed with the connection the Dutch Junior Rangers have with their park and park staff,” said Desiree who was also interested to see the connection between Dutch parks and Dutch Caribbean parks, “We really have more in common than you would think. Just like us they are working to plant more native trees in the park and get kids involved directly with conservation work.”
The cold and wet Dutch park is a far cry from the dry and hot parks of the ABC islands, but Desiree even spotted a familiar species, the migratory Snowy Egret.
This exchange is a good example of the increasingly close relationship between nature education programmes of the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands. IVN has joined the DCNA’s last three annual nature education workshops, working together to develop educational boxes for young people to learn more about their local nature.
The Junior Rangers of Bonaire are next in line for an exchange. Not only will they be heading to Aruba in December to learn more about nature on their sister island, but the group has also been invited to EuroPark 2013 in Germany.
Inspired by her exchange and the work of IVN, Desiree is ready to bring some of this knowledge back to the Dutch Caribbean, “IVN and the Dutch Parks do a wonderful job connecting parks to outreach and education. There is so much material for kids at the park and visitor centre. It is really a great way to reconnect people with nature,” Desiree Croes.