The tranquil setting of the Vailima Botanical Gardens can now be enjoyed by all with a new wheelchair accessible trail made possible through a partnership between the Samoa Conservation Society, the British High Commission in Apia and the Ministry of Natural Resourcesand Environment.
British High Commissioner to Samoa, His Excellency David Ward offically opened the trail during a ceremony held last Wednesday.
The trail makes the Botanical Gardens inclusive and available to ALL visitors. It has a gradual wheelchair-friendly climb and in future, the Samoa Conservation Society hope to have braille signage installed for the visually-impaired.
In a statement the SCS President James Atherton, says one tonne of crushed glass was provided by the Samoa Recycling & Waste Management Association – SRWMA).
“It starts at the carpark and navigates through a developing medicinal plant garden and butterfly plant garden to the Information Fale and the Art Whistler Memorial Garden for rare and threatened plants.”
The Samoa Conservation Society acknowledged the British High Commissioner and the UK Embassy in Samoa for funding the trail and for their commitment to green leadership through carbon audits and offsets.
“Thank you for your continued support towards our plant conservation work”.
SCS also acknowledged and thank the Botanic Gardens Conservation International for their ongoing support.
“We also thank our partners, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Samoa for their invaluable support to conserve Samoa’s threatened natural heritage.”
The SCS President said it was an honour to have representatives from Nuanua O Le Alofa, Disability Advocacy Organisation in Samoa (NOLA).
“Thank you for sharing this exciting day with us. We thank NOLA for partnering with us to promote inclusivity and access for all”.
The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) was also acknowledged for assisting with plant collections, including many of the medicinal plants which SCS now have planted in the gardens.
“Fa’afetai and malo lava to our builder Isaia Iona Joinery for the trail development and to Alvaro Hoyos for his work on the signage design and for these beautiful photos of our opening.”
“We look forward to welcoming all visitors to the Vailima Botanical Gardens and encourage everyone to learn more about our native flora!”