The next time you take a hike through the Mastic Trail or visit the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve, you could just find yourself standing on your own land.
Supporters of the Cayman islands National Trust can now adopt an acre of land, or more or less, to help protect endangered species and threatened sites in the Cayman Islands.
The new fundraising initiative, Adopt Nature, gives people a chance to assist with management and maintenance costs of their adopted area.
Under the scheme, members of the public can adopt a quarter-acre for $99 or a full acre for $350.
The Mastic Reserve, Salina Reserve and Governor Gore’s Bird Sanctuary are among the areas available for adoption in Grand Cayman, along with the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve and Brac Splits in Cayman Brac and Booby Pond Nature Reserve in Little Cayman, according to the National Trust.
People may adopt in memory of a loved one or to give the adopted land as a gift, or companies can use the initiative to contribute to conservation in the Cayman Islands and get their employees involved in fundraising for a good cause, says the Trust.
It also offers an opportunity for visitors to take a unique souvenir of the island home with them.
Everyone who adopts a piece of land will receive an adoption certificate, map and description of their adopted area, and the adoption will be recorded in an online public database, as well as on site where possible, the Trust said.
“We wanted to find a way to make participating in local conservation efforts affordable and accessible to individuals and companies whilst developing a sustainable source of income for the Trust,” said Christina Pineda, director of the National Trust.
“I believe that the Adopt Nature program has accomplished this and has also created a completely new and unique gift idea for those who want to give a meaningful and creative gift to others. By adopting acres in our reserves, individuals and companies will make a world of difference by helping us to protect the habitats of Cayman’s important biodiversity,” she added.
To participate in the program, people will choose an area and the amount of acreage to adopt and then make an online payment through a secure form or by check. Adoptions are valid for five years with the original adopter having first choice of renewal for the same area.
Asked whether an adopted parcel could be used for farming or development, Trust Environmental Programs Manager Paul Watler said, “Our Adopt Nature program is similar to that of the adopt-a-highway program in the United States or adopt-a-rainforest in the Amazon – people who participate in those programs don’t suddenly own a strip of highway or piece of forest.
“I felt it important to confirm that adopting does not confer any legal rights to any of the National Trust properties … but rather is a way for people to assist us with the ongoing costs of habitat protection.”
Mr. Watler further explained that the Cayman Islands is home to more than 700 plant species, 240 bird species, nine bat species, 13 reptile species and 50 butterfly species, most of which are found nowhere else in the world, and contributions through the Adopt Nature program will help the Trust conserve these species in Cayman’s forests, shrublands and wetlands.