The inside at the Asa Wright Nature Centre, Blanchisseuse Road.

After decades of operations, activities at the Asa Wright Nature Centre (AWNC) & Lodge have been brought to a halt. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Nature Centre has been closed to visitors for several months, and the eco-lodge has ceased operations.

According to the AWNC Chair, Dr Judith Gobin, while the not-for-profit trust will remain in existence to continue managing the wildlife sanctuary, the eco-lodge business has been permanently closed with the attached staff laid off.

The affected lodge comprised 25 guest rooms, but Gobin refrained from commenting on the total number of terminated employees.

Gobin added, “The chair and board members are saddened that it has come to this.”

Located at 1,200 feet in the mountains of the Northern Range, seven miles north of Arima, the AWNC is a world-class natural history destination for tropical ecology students.

It is of particular interest to birdwatchers with over 256 species of birds spotted on the estate.

AWNC’s properties will be retained under forest cover in perpetuity to protect the community watershed and provide important wildlife habitat.

In a statement from the AWNC, the staff is also endeavouring to sustain the ongoing research and conservation projects and provide needed maintenance for the trails and grounds of the centre.

Given that the AWNC has no revenue to support ongoing activities, the centre has now renewed calls for donations through the centre’s website.