District updates: Mastic springs into fall

Emma Stacey shows off her newly potted plant at the Earth Day fair.

One of Grand Cayman’s more popular tourist attractions is exhibiting its “fall” appearance. The normally leafy and shady Mastic Trail is a bit sunnier these days in the areas where trees are going through their annual process of shedding and regrowing their foliage, an occurrence that is usually associated with autumn, but takes place in Cayman’s spring season.

The National Trust conducts guided tours of the trail which introduce walkers to the trees, birds and other creatures that make the forest surrounding the trail their home, as well as the history of this fascinating part of the island. Contact [email protected] or 749-1124 for more information.

The Botanic Park’s first Earth Day fair, held on Sunday, April 24, proved a big draw, welcoming nearly 600 visitors. A joint effort of the Botanic Park and the Tourism Attraction Board, the event showcased organic food, drinks, tours and activities from a variety of exhibitors including the Garden Club of the Cayman Islands, the National Trust, the Department of Environment and the Humane Society.

The kids’ potting station was a huge success, with park staffer Earl Lewis on hand to help more than 60 youngsters pot their free plants.

“It was especially delightful to see the children pot up their plants and take them home,” said park manager John Lawrus.

“Planting a tree or plant is a simple and great way to show the planet we care. I think we may even have some future gardeners in the making.”

In the spirit of reusing and recycling, exhibitor Pamela Thompson-Champoux of Couxcoux Oil proudly took home a heaped wheelbarrow of used coconut shells to convert into garden fertilizer for the Botanic Park, and Cayman Spirits Co. donated used mini rum barrels to the Botanic Park to make Fairy Gardens for the kids.

New admission rates are being introduced for Pedro St. James and the Botanic Park as of May 1. For residents, the new rates are $5 for adults and no charge for children under 12 (must have valid drivers license/ID).

General admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and free admission for kids 0-5. Guided tours are $15 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and free for kids 0-5. Guided tours of the Botanic Park are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m.

Pedro St. James tours run every 30 minutes, based on availability.