Statia :: February Report

February 2014, fifth month

vision steveGoats: the new pigs

Since the report of tourists of seeing two goats in the garden during the last week of January, the goats have become residents. The group grew to about 12 during February. LVV didn’t come to the garden to shoot the goats for different reasons. Tourist helped chase out one goat. The fence became a topic for the board and STENAPA staff. Documents about the fence, property boundaries were tabled. Rebuilding the fence is on the EZ budget – approved but still not transferred since September (?) 2013. No other means available to address the issue. LVV made some animal feed and barbed wire available for temporary measures (baiting and improving the most vulnerable spots in the fence). Continue reading

Statia:: January Report

January 2014, fourth month

Pigs have landed

P1030397During January the issue of controlling pigs came to a head and (tentatively) to a conclusion.
The last remaining smaller piglets still able to get through the fence appeared to be in bad health and distinctly malnourished. A group of four of them was visiting the area around the house daily, getting closer and more intrusive. Raiding the cat food and drinking water, digging up the food forest and veggie patch routinely. After consulting with Steve Piontek I was given permission to take decisive action including killing the piglets if possible. Continue reading

Statia:: December Report

Better late then never…

December 2013, third month, first quarter

Pigs are flying!

feral pigsDecember brought a turbulent end to 2013 and the first quarter of the Permanaut in Residence programme in the Botanical Garden. It was marked by lots of rain and wind – great for lush corelita growth, and daily pig invasions – not so great for the garden.
Having experienced this much pig activity 24/7 up close and personal its hard not to conclude that the roaming pigs of the neighboring farmer is the single most threatening issue that the garden and its users face. It is a life-threatening issue in the sense that the purpose of the PinR programme is to provide a substantial contribution to the primary needs and livelihoods of the PinR and other STENAPA stakeholders: staff, interns, volunteers, board members and their respective dependent family members. You could say that the purpose of the programme is to emancipate the STENAPA community from the dependency on external funding and resources. That sense and practical application of freedom and independent self-reliance is severely and potentially fatally threatened by the routine incursions of the neighbor’s feral livestock.
BTW other rooming animals like the cattle, sheep and goats are easily deterred by the current fencing, while the chickens are only a minor annoyance. It’s specifically the pigs that are a persistent and substantial problem. Continue reading

Statia :: November Report

second month of PinR @ botan programme

courtesy of Susanne BollingerKing’s Visit @ museum garden

The botanical garden provided seeds, plants and labour for the (belated) construction of a provisioning garden at the museum’s reconstruction of the slave village to be opened by King Willem Alexander during his visit on 15 November. As we only got involved four weeks before the arrival of the King, the garden was obviously quite immature. Most successful were the peanuts and jute, but even they were still very small since planting only two weeks before the King’s visit. Mr. Hazel was kind enough to provide cuttings of sweet potato, cassava and corn seeds. LVV provided bags of animal manure which contributed to vigorous growth – but less then three weeks is just too short a time to bring any kind of vegetable garden to maturity. Continue reading

Statia :: Groen & Doen

P1050899Groen en Doen kende een voucher toe aan het trainingsproject in de Botanische Tuinen van STENAPA. Vrijwilligers doen tot april 2014 mee aan een training Permacultuur in natuurbescherming en de openbare ruimte.

De eerste activiteiten vonden plaats in november met introductie sessies in permacultuur en een verkenning van het terrein in de Mirjam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden.

Ze leerden o.a. eenvoudige methodes voor het uitzetten van plantbedden op contour in het nieuwe voedselbos en basisvaardigheden in bouwen met hout.

P1050903 P1050901 P1050908

Statia :: PinR Vacature

P1050863Vanaf april 2014 is er voor een half jaar een vacature als Permanaut in Residentie op Sint Eustatius. Het is een onbetaalde positie bij een project van Aardwerk in de Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden. Als het wederzijds bevalt kan je elk jaar tot 2016 voor zes maanden meedoen in de rotatie van PinR op Statia (en mogelijk een nieuwe plek in Europees Nederland).

We zijn op zoek naar kandidaten met enige jaren ervaring in permacultuur. Ervaring in de tropen is meegenomen, maar geen voorwaarde.

Continue reading

Statia :: PinR October Report

P1050800First month of PinR @ botan programme

Started work on monday 7 October after being welcomed by garden intern Susanne Bollinger. Settled in at the new intern house near Smoke Alley and stayed there for about a week.
Taken stock of Aardwerk resources in storage here and there and moved most of it to Botan. Set up “camp” at botan and moved there permanently by the second weekend of October.
Adopted three cats to assist in pest control at the Botan. STENAPA approved support and a small budget for the cats.
First survey of Botan systems (water, power, housing, food). Identified priorities: water & power, renovating Visitor Centre. Continue reading

Statia PinR :: Purpose

Clathrus crispusThe purpose of the Permanaut in Residence @ the Botan is:

  1. Develop available resources like: land, trees, water, sunlight and people to generate:
    1. sustainable livelihood foor STENAPA staff
    2. provide innovative and improved services to visitor
    3. improving the resilience and biodiversity of the Botanical Garden.
  2. Best practice for permaculture design is for the designer to live on-site 24/7 as permanaut* in residence to better learn the behaviour and intrinsic properties of the place, people, plants and other creatures, weather etc.
  3. Specific projects the PinR is doing:
    1. renovation of the Visitor Centre
    2. updating water & power systems
    3. developing food and utility plant systems
    4. developing ecologically responsible and resilient enterprise
    5. developing learning environments and events. E.g.: training of volunteers introducing permaculture design in management of public spaces and natural environment conservation.

*Permanaut: practitioner of permaculture design and education (Fransjan de Waard).

Statia PinR :: New Recruits

Statia rain showerSince October 2013 Aardwerk is providing a permanaut in residence at STENAPA’s Mirjam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden on Sint Eustatius (Statia) in Caribbean Netherlands.

The former Intern House is now vacated and renovated to become a Visitor Center – its original intended purpose. The first phase of the renovation is the careful deconstruction of partition walls, salvaging building materials. Some of the materials are being repurposed to construct the service pavilion, which will accommodate the new tool shed and workshop.

The weather on Statia has been uncommonly warm. Records were broken in October. Only in the last week or so did we get some rain showers.

Rat Patrol

Chance Chaos Havoc

Meet the newest recruits of the Botan Team: Chance, Chaos and Havoc. Adopted from the Animal Welfare people mother Chance and het two kittens have found a new home at the botanical gardens (botan) where the will help in controlling pests like rats, mice and others while having a great time in this wonderfully quiet and remote place.

Most animals in de garden are not a problem, even a feature like the endangered Lesser Antillian Iguana. But some are directly competing for resources that are essential to the functioning of the botan. Rats, mice and doves e.g. are eating seeds and seedlings in the shade house, interfering with the botan’s ability to propagate needed plant specimens for our collection as well as our food production. Exclusion strategies such as netting, fences and cages are of limited use. A few cats around lets nature work for us in the management of the garden.

Our cats are not feral and expect to be fed and watered regularly. You can help us with that by making a small donation (e.g. 5 € or $) to our feline rat patrol fund. Please click on the Doneer (donate) button in the right hand column and share your wealth with us.

Statia Permanaut in Residentie

Welcome to StatiaMet gepaste trots kan ik melden dat Aardwerk vanaf 1 oktober 2013 een Permanaut in Residentie programma verzorgt in de Mirjam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden van STENAPA op Sint Eustatius in Caribisch Nederland.

Doel van het project is de Botanische tuin te ontwikkelen tot een zelfvoorzienende motor van de taken die STENAPA heeft in natuurbeheer en -ontwikkeling op het eiland. Een eerste toepassing van het Right Livelihood model dat Aardwerk ontwikkelt.

In eerste instantie loopt het project van 2013 tot 2016, met een optie voor verlenging.

Vrijwilligers en stagiaires gezocht

Het project biedt ruimte voor vrijwilligers en stagiaires op het gebied van natuurbeheer, tuinbouw, (landschaps-) architectuur, sociale economische ontwikkeling, agro-ecologie, bio-based enterprise, lifestyle studies, eco-tourisme, natuur & communicatie en permacultuur. Belangstellenden kunnen zich met CV en motivatie aanmelden via email.

Stagiaires en vrijwilligers werken steeds voor een periode van 6 maanden op Statia. Periodes starten in oktober en april.

De eerste stagiaire staat al in de startblokken en gaat meteen al in oktober 2013 aan de slag. Ze studeert Kust- en Zeemanagement bij Van Hall Larenstein in Leeuwarden en zal zich bezighouden met de diverse aspecten in de botanische tuin die specifiek zijn voor het tropische eilandklimaat en de invloed op planten en daarmee samenhangende economische consequenties.

Permanaut in Residentie Boxtel

P1050416Een tweede Permanaut in Residentie project gaat van start in Boxtel. Ook hiervoor zijn wij op zoek naar kandidaten voor het beheer en ontwikkelteam. Zowel vrijwilligers als stagiaires kunnen zich NU aanmelden. Met name vrijwilligers uit Boxtel zijn nadrukkelijk uitgenodigd!

Ook hier geldt dat er gewerkt wordt in periodes van 6 maanden die steeds starten in oktober en april.

Het Permanaut in Residentie project houdt o.a. dat je gedurende de periode van 6 maanden woont en werkt op de lokatie van het project (Boxtel of Statia). Je werkt samen met partners van Aardwerk en het lokatie-team. Aardwerk zorgt voor gedegen coaching waarbij ervaren permanauten uit binnen en buitenland als gast-coaches betrokken worden.

Kernteam: luchtwortels en penwortels

Per lokatie wordt een kernteam gevormd. Hierin zitten mensen die zich sterk binden met de lokatie (penwortels) en mensen die de kracht in de dynamiek van het komen en gaan vinden (luchtwortels). Beiden vervullen een essentiële functie in de teams. Geschikte vrijwilligers en stagiaires kunnen uitgenodigd worden door te stromen naar het kernteam.

Statia PDC cookbook

New Statian permanaut Claire Blair explains the recipe for Hügelkultur as she prepares for her final presentation to the STENAPA board members.

Laying the ground work with chocolate cake to represent wood logs, binding with whipped cream as soil and covering with banana cake for compost.

The finishing touches include green coloured icing, gummy worms and lollipops.


The result was surprising, hilarious, illustrative and memorable, not to mention a boost to the brain and blood sugar level fueling lively conversation on sustainable management of the botanical gardens.

A great result by carrying trough a ridiculous idea to fruition.


P1040240Could this be the start of a Permacultue Design Cookbook? What have you cooked up for your PDC presentation?