news-20140206-1Last night, at a grand gala event attended by Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dutch Postcode Lottery presented WWF Guianas with a Euro 2.4 million donation. These funds will be used to build Suriname’s first ever nature education centre to help showcase the country’s extraordinary biodiversity. The centre will be constructed in Peperpot Nature Park; a 800 hectare area of forest within easy reach of the capital Paramaribo which, thanks to its rich birdlife, already attracts visitors from around the world. 

With the help of an existing Euro 300,000 grant from the Dutch Embassy, the Peperpot site has been formally established and nature trails built. This new grant will help realize the ambition for the Peperpot Nature Park Discovery Centre to become a recognized centre of excellence and a world class venue for young and old alike to truly appreciate Suriname’s natural heritage. 

The Peperpot Nature Park Discovery Centre will be built to the highest environmental and sustainability standards and incorporate elements of the surrounding nature in to the building itself. Construction will start almost immediately and the centre will be open to the public within a year. Within 3 years all additional infrastructure such as a research centre, extra nature trails, and a (digital) education platform for schoolchildren will also be completed.

news-20140206-2The design of the Peperpot Nature Park Discovery Centre

Together, the three Guianas (Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana) comprise a significant part of the ancient Guiana Shield, spanning an area of 250 million hectares. Each country boasts at least 80% cover of largely pristine rainforest and their coasts are home to one of the largest populations of the critically endangered Leatherback turtle. WWF Guianas works to safeguard this incredible part of the Amazon against increasing threats from small scale gold mining and oil exploration to unsustainable fisheries and climate change; whilst encouraging balanced economic growth and sustainable development.