CFVI Awards Environmental Grant

Judith A. Towle Environmental Studies Fund
2015 Funding Awarded for SeaBird Field Guide


Virgin Islands— Established at the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands in 2003, the Judith A. Towle Environmental Studies Fund supports activities that address environmental concerns that transcend the boundaries of any single island or island state. Priority is given to supporting environmental studies or activities in those areas of the Caribbean which had been the focus of Towle’s own work for the last 40 years; namely, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. “This preference however was not meant to negate grantmaking in other Caribbean islands, and as the Towle Fund has become better known in the region, we have gradually received an increasing number of applications from outside our target areas,” remarks Judith Towle.  “I very much welcome this opening of the Fund’s intent and particularly appreciate the transboundary approach to research and education that is the focus of this year’s grantee from the Grenadine Islands.”

The 2015 Awardees are Juliana Coffey and Alison DeGraff of Sealand Environmental, Inc. and Tombolo Maps & Design who will publish and disseminate a field guide entitled “Birds of the Transboundary Grenadines,” with a grant of $6,767. The project was initiated in 2012, as a collaborative volunteer-driven effort, to ultimately create an avian field guide representative of the ecological and cultural dimensions of avian resources within the archipelago. The transboundary Grenadine Islands consist of over fifty volcanic-origin islands (nine of which are inhabited) shared between the small island developing states (SIDS) of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. In a recent report, SVG was highlighted as the most important country in the Lesser Antilles for seabirds, specifically for the colonies scattered throughout the Grenadines. It was also identified as the most vulnerable, primarily due to harvesting activities.

The goal was to collect and synthesize scientific, local ecological knowledge and local lore to create a single document with the potential to train local bird monitors, educate the general public, promote sustainable tourism initiatives, and to enhance the overall integrity of Grenadines’ resources. Through incorporating several types of knowledge, the guide is intended to appeal to a wide audience, and will be useful to both locals and foreigners with an interest in natural resources.


For almost 25 years, the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands has been bringing positive changes in the Territory through programs committed to youth, learning, family support and the environment.  With a professional staff and a volunteer Board of Directors composed of local community leaders, CFVI is a leading advocate and supporter of programs that give children the best starts possible while ensuring opportunity and sustainability for our community in the future.  CFVI operates or funds close to 50 community programs including The Family Connection, Kids Count,scholarships, teacher grants, emergency grants to families and elderly residents of the USVI.  CFVI is a registered non-profit entirely supported by individual donors, grants, trusts, corporate donations and estate planning.

Categories: CFVI Highlights

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