The EPIC Tale
In 1999, while visiting family in the Antilles, Natalia Collier, with her future husband Adam Brown, recognized the dramatic difference between research and conservation work taking place in the Caribbean and in the United States, where they were biologists. Natalia saw places she had visited as a child were now developed, the waters were polluted, and litter more widespread.
Although residents were alarmed about these changes to the places they knew and loved, many lacked the resources to address growing environmental concerns. With a clear need for real, sustainable conservation efforts in the region — efforts led by and for the people —the non-profit Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (EPIC) was born.
EPIC has always been rooted in a commitment to combine the tools of scientific research, education, advocacy, and community empowerment to affect change. Using this grassroots approach, EPIC assures its continuing impact by inspiring local communities, empowering the people within them, and recruiting local leaders to run and manage EPIC’s programs. As Adam said in Haiti in a 2013 interview for the documentary SAVE THE DEVIL: the project, “Conservation is working with people.”
Over the last 20+ years, EPIC has worked tirelessly across nearly every island in the Caribbean to answer vital ecological questions and fill critical knowledge gaps about nature and people and how to live sustainably so that both can thrive.
What started as a two-person operation has grown to a team of hardworking staff and volunteers, hailing from local and international communities worldwide. Their grassroots approach to environmental protection enables people of all backgrounds to engage in conservation work. The local community members directing EPIC’s programs provide them with the ongoing knowledge-base and agility necessary to remain effective for years to come. Farmers and former poachers have become conservation champions and even field staff. Local biologists, educators, and conservationists, who would have otherwise left their home island looking for work, are now running EPIC programs. Through their efforts, and the generosity of nature-loving donors, EPIC’s team has contributed significant data and on-the-ground protection for sites and species in the region, presented at conferences worldwide, and produced numerous publications; but data alone cannot save a species.
The creation of sustainable solutions requires much more than data and funding – it requires enthusiasm, concern, input, and, perhaps most importantly, support at the local level. Local communities are at the heart of EPIC’s operation, and we’re proud to work alongside them in partnership, to develop effective education, research, advocacy, and stewardship programs. With their help, EPIC has developed and implemented programs touching almost every island in the Caribbean.
Much like the Serengeti or the Amazon Rainforest, the Caribbean is one of the Earth’s ecological gems and must be protected. With its incredible biodiversity, astounding natural beauty, and vibrant proud cultures, we dedicate ourselves to its protection for the benefit of ourselves and future generations. The combined threats from rapid climate change, pollution, irresponsible development practices, and a lack of knowledge, concern, or political will, put the region in dire need of your support and advocacy. Join us. Working together, we can ensure a healthy, thriving Caribbean region for generations to come.