“Asa Wright was a Trust registered in 1967, go figure that. When you look at the elements of that Trust, it tells you that somebody was thinking way ahead of their time to safeguard that 1500 acres and operate in the manner that they have, that’s a success story. Much like the Leatherback turtles and the rising population of the Pawi (Trinidad piping-guan); wonderful conservation stories.” HADCO’s co-CEO, John Hadad outlined the vision for one of T&T’s true gems, the Asa Wright Nature Centre.
The positive tune continued when he stated “We are being viewed as a country that has good conservation culture, not policy but culture. It’s already there in its raw form that we can build upon.” There are also defined roles to ensure continued success by expertise. “We are operating the Eco Lodge and the Trust continues to do their work in conservation and education.”
No mere branding exercise, the partnership between the conglomerate and the world-renowned eco-centre runs deep, offering the potential to revolutionise eco-tourism for the country, both by action as well as by becoming the example for others to follow. Asa Wright was in decline when the pandemic began, after which they took the step of issuing an RFP, which given HADCO’s corporate responsibility that includes their recycling division, ticked all the boxes for John and his brothers Robert and Joseph’s environmental stance.
The plans are immediate for the reserve of mainly untouched land, beginning with the renovation of the eco-lodge that sits in front of the trails that have taken thousands of enthusiasts into the natural paradise. “The place will be highly functional, highly comfortable while meeting a lot of Green requirements.” With the improvements comes the opportunity to explore new avenues under the HADCO Experiences umbrella, Hadad explained. “We hope to open a lot more than was being done before, such as academic tourism, retreats, honeymoons, company retreats, further hiking along the whole Arima/Blanchisseuse road which is full of waterfalls and more. Getting out and seeing it all using Asa Wright as the base.”
The Green aspect of the partnership is key, after all being the beacon of T&T’s nature, Asa Wright must be at the forefront of sustainability, recycling and related initiatives. The expertise gained from the recycling market provides the advantage. “We are highly informed in that area; all organic waste will go into a composter which will regenerate soil within 48 hours, to go back into our garden. We will discourage the presence of single-use plastics on the compound. There will be free filtered water available.”
Robert Hadad reaffirmed, “We are picking apart the areas and trying to adapt, so a lot of the lighting will be solar, there will beseparation of waste, trying to be as green as possible.”
HADCO’s policy of recycling across its divisions, together with the process of packaging waste for shipment - “literally US dollars for garbage” – is not just a financial undertaking, it’s a passion. Robert speaks at length with vast knowledge of international standards, UN policy, local policy and the scientific terms for various types of waste. It serves as a further reminder of the foresight required for Asa Wright’s new lease on life.“The buzzword now is ‘regenerative’, we don’t want to be just sustainable anymore.”
Which is not to suggest that Hadco are bringing a new ideal. What they are undertaking is to live up to the original ideal established, when the reserve was founded, and central to the arrangement is Asa Wright’s resurgence on a global scale. Already known as one of the top twenty birding destinations in the world, the intention is to raise awareness of the improvements and the ability to stay at the lodge throughout the eco-tourism vacation.
A solid framework in place with sound thinking and direction to build upon the legacy through a partnership that represents a meeting of minds that benefits all nature’s stakeholders, raises the pertinent question ‘When does it reopen?’
The reply comes without hesitation “April 2023.”
Contact: +1 868-675-5364