In preparation for the upcoming 2015 Migratory Bird Festival, the Les Fruits de Mer association has released a free eBook, Shadow of a Drought, a stunning and poignant photo essay of how drought on St. Martin affects the island’s wildlife and important habitats. The book is available for free download in English and French on the association’s website, http://www.lesfruitsdemer.com. The Festival itself will be held on Saturday, October 17th from 9am to 1pm at University of St. Martin in Philipsburg.
Shadow of a Drought, the latest work from wildlife photographer and naturalist Mark Yokoyama, captures dramatic stories of struggle and survival, and starkly illuminates the ravages of climate change and pollution here on the island. “Drought’s impact is visually striking and thought-provoking, but also temporary. I wanted to explore that in a way that will still be engaging after a couple months of rain. Our collective memory provides context for both extreme events and long-term changes. It helps us understand the present and prepare for the future,” says Yokoyama, author of The Incomplete Guide to the Wildlife of Saint Martin and Eye on Endemics.
“This eBook is really a one-of-a-kind documentation of the effects of drought on this island, and it heavily features the wetland habitats that are crucial to migratory birds,” explains Jenn Yerkes, President of Les Fruits de Mer. “These ecosystems are already vulnerable, and they’re a precious part of St. Martin’s natural heritage. They’re why this island is so important for so many migratory birds. Every year, these species journey across the globe to St. Martin because we have something that many other islands don’t–the wetland habitats where these birds can find the foods they need as well as the right spots to nest, rest, and mate.”
Selected photography from the eBook will be on display at the Shadow of a Drought Exhibition at the October 17th Migratory Bird Festival. The free, public Festival will also feature guided birdwatching tours, migratory bird presentations, a “Portable Pond” Observation Station for aquatic invertebrates, art activities, a free giveaway of heritage Gaïac seedlings, and a special Heritage Salt Walk led by archeologist Jay Haviser at 9:30am. The 2015 Migratory Bird Festival is presented by Les Fruits de Mer and University of St. Martin, and is made possible by the hard work of many volunteers and the generosity of event sponsors Hotel L’Esplanade, Calmos Cafe, Delta Petroleum and Aqua Mania Adventures.