Caribbean Currents Newsletter

Stories of Conservation and Inspiration from TNC in the Caribbean

Aerial view of waves lapping against a golden beach in the Dominican Republic.
Paradise Found A birds-eye view of waves crashing against a golden beach in the Dominican Republic. © Eric Peña Carmona/TNC Photo Contest 2023
Rob Brumbaugh headshot.
Dr. Robert Brumbaugh Rob is the executive director of TNC in the Caribbean. © Jenna Schoenefeld

I’m pleased to introduce the first issue of Caribbean Currents for 2024, which puts a spotlight on some of our exciting conservation work across the Caribbean. It also illuminates steps we are taking to improve the way that we work and share our knowledge and ideas with others.

Our lead story describes our efforts to better understand the best way to center diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental justice (DEIJ) in our conservation work and in our team. Incorporating DEIJ into our conservation projects as well as into the management of our organization is critical for our success, and it requires that we truly understand what DEIJ means in a region as marvelously diverse as the Caribbean. We have just experienced the hottest year on record in 2023, which created tremendous challenges for our conservation efforts in the Caribbean.

Our field teams had to pivot from ramping up our coral production and restoration efforts and focus instead on rescuing particularly vulnerable corals. In the Virgin Islands, we transported such corals to our state-of-the-art facility on St. Croix and tested in-water approaches to protecting corals in our underwater coral nurseries. Beyond our own conservation work, sharing our knowledge and insights with others is critical for accelerating conservation in the region to reach the scale and pace needed. Our coral reef team’s contributions to the recent U.S. Coral Reef Task Force meeting in the U.S. Virgin Islands help bolster our impact by inspiring U.S. conservation and management action from the Caribbean to the western Pacific.

I’m incredibly fortunate to work alongside people who are so talented and committed to conservation, from our staff to our partners and to our trustees. One of our long-serving trustees, Dr. Rosa Margarita Bonetti de Santana, or Doña Pirigua as she is fondly called, was honored with TNC’s Oak Leaf Award in October. The award is richly deserved, and her leadership as a conservationist is an inspiration to me personally and to countless others throughout the Dominican Republic and beyond. Such awards are a wonderful way to recognize others for their contributions, and they are a reminder that creating a sustainable world where people and nature thrive requires all of us!

—Dr. Rob Brumbaugh