Point-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust
Point-a-Pierre can be found on our map
The Point-a-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust has the dubious distinction of being the only wetland sanctuary in the world that is located in the middle of an oil refinery. Thankfully, the Trust has not been wiped out by an oil-slick or by the spontaneous combustion of a million cubic meters of stored flammable oil. Even more curious, is that the sanctuary was originally founded in 1967 by an avid bird hunter. He established the Trust after becoming concerned about dwindling bird numbers in Trinidad, through unchecked hunting. Although the history books paint an altruistic picture of hunter turn saviour, I cannot help but mischievously think that our hero's true motive was to breed birds for release into the wild, and then to use them as target practice on subsequent hunting trips! Notwithstanding my facetious remarks, the Trust continues to be a model of biodiversity and sanctuary amidst an increasingly hostile human encroachment on natural habitats in Trinidad.
The name, Molly Gaskin, remains synonymous with 'tireless environmentalist' in Trinidad. Ms. Gaskin was educated at the University of Wales in Child Psychology and Natural History. She returned to Trinidad thereafter to begin her work that would, in time, alter our views of human-environment interactions forever. It was in 1978 that Ms. Gaskin assumed the Presidency of the Wild Fowl Trust. The Trust, under her guidance, and along with environmentalist Karilyn Shephard, grew from a mere 1.2 hectares to over 24 hectares, including 2 lakes. Ms. Gaskin has won many awards for her work, including the Humming Bird Gold Medal and the United Nations Environment Programme Global 500 Roll of Honour Award. I first met Ms. Gaskin in 1981 during one of her scheduled visits to my primary school: she was conducting a series of lectures to sensitise us on wildlife issues. On one occasion, Ms. Gaskin attempted to instruct us in Chiroptera anatomy by bringing in a dead bat, skewered to a board. Needless to say, I think Ms. Gaskin should have paid more attention to her classes in Child Psychology, as that crucified bat traumatised the lot of us: I had nightmares for a week!
The Wild Fowl Trust site encompasses two lakes, as already mentioned, as well as nature trails. Some trails are now open to wheelchair-bound visitors. The Trust is home to many species of waterfowl, songbirds etc., as well as my favourite, the Osprey, featured above. The Osprey, or 'Fish Hawk' remains on the endangered species list. The Trust depends on donations from the public and corporate entities. There are approximately 2000 members. One must arrange with the Trust before visiting. They can be found here
About the pictures, and pictures of the Trust, in general
Yes, I know. Not many pictures this time. And the pictures of the Osprey and Peacock are slightly blurred. These pictures were taken as I was speedily conveyed on a tour of the facility by a member some years ago. I recently asked a Trust representative if I could visit and take some more pictures. I also volunteered to donate the pictures to them. And, since we're talking 4"x5" and 8"x10" transparencies here, I thought that was rather big of me! I was politely refused. Apparently the Trust is paranoid about photographers using the pictures for personal gain, or, perhaps, they think my pictures suck! All of our pictures taken within the Wild Fowl Trust are for illustrative and educational purposes only, and will not be used for commercial gain under any circumstances.
Update - 2008
We would like to thank professional photographer, John Gioannetti, for inviting us along to photograph the Trust recently. We went 'simple', using an old twin lens reflex camera from the 1970s, and black and white film. The film was developed in Kodak HC-110.