Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust
Vision Statement and Strategic Plan
The mission of the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust (VCHT) is to foster, study, educate, protect and conserve the environmental, archaeological and cultural resources of Vieques, Puerto Rico. One of the primary missions is to preserve and study the bioluminescent bays found on the island.
La misión del Fideicomiso de Conservación e Historia de Vieques es de fomentar, estudiar, educar, proteger y conservar los recursos ambientales, arqueológicos y culturales que existen en Vieques. Uno de sus propósitos primordiales es preservar y estudiar las bahías bioluminiscentes que se encuentran en la isla.
The Vieques Conservation and Historic Trust (VCHT) has developed a focus on, and competency with sustainability and island ecology with special expertise on the bioluminescent bays that exist on this island.
VCHT is committed to the sustainability of all aspects of Vieques — its people, and the physical and cultural environment —by contributing to improving the education, economic and social well-being of the island.
VCHT does all of its work in the context of the following philosophical framework:
- Respecting and imbedding the history, culture and language of Puerto Rican society in its work and encouraging guests to value, understand and support the special culture and environment of the island they are visiting.
- Building and maintaining a reputation for being knowledgeable, respectful, trustworthy and well-grounded in our positions,.
- Fostering a common understanding between the Viequenses community and their North American colleagues.
- Delivering programs (lectures, educational exhibits, seminars, summer programs, publications, computer resources and a unique Vieques scholarship program) that contribute to the future success of its children and older citizens by working with schools, out of school, after-school and adult training opportunities and by creating products, curriculum units, workforce and teacher training programs that contribute to that end.
- Increasing the knowledge base of the academic community in the area of island sustainability and the particular physical assets that Vieques and the surrounding Caribbean has to offer by encouraging original research and learned publications.
- Collaborating with the related governmental, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations on the island on issues of mutual interest.
- Advocating for policies that increase the chances of sustainability by making our voices heard in areas of our special competency whenever we believe the welfare of the island is threatened.
- Creating and maintaining trustworthy, transparent and professional fiscal and administration systems, a humane and well-treated workforce and a safe physical environment to support our mission.
Goal: For the years 2011 -2015, the VCHT will, internally, and in collaboration with the school system and others, concentrate on strengthening its science and environmental education programs.
a. After school and summer programs:
- Expand the programs and participation in the MANTA summer program
- Measure the effectiveness of the summer program
- Support MANTA participants so they become potential leaders
- Explore the use of the VCHT facility and other facilities as a student resource
- Review the results of the MANTA-Sabado program and decide on follow up programs
b. Scholarship program
- Publicize applications more widely
- Continue to fund current and future scholarships
- Explore the needs for additional scholarships, including ones for students not going to university and for mature students
- Revise guidelines for revaluation of candidates
c. Community Events
- Increase the number of community education events to 3 per year.
- Tutoring and enrichment
- Hold community events in Ecuela Barbosa if the space becomes available
d. Grant writing
- In order to ensure that education programs can be maintained and enhanced. We will continue to research grant opportunitites
- Write a minimum of three grant applications each year
e. Escuela Barbosa (if available)
- Hold community education courses with respect to new technology, such as solar energy, wind energy, sustainable agriculture
- Survey the community to determine needs/wants of community for education
- Install an electronic library for community use.
At the Trust site:
f. Marine Life Exhibit and Barbara Bernache Baker Room
- Develop a plan to improve the energy efficiency of the Marine Life Exhibit (MLE) using alternative energy solutions such as solar energy
- Prepare proposals for renovation and development of MLE
- Set up specific events to highlight MLE
- Promote MLE in local media
- Revise brochure on MLE
- Train additional guides and docents for MLE
- Develop exhibition policy
- Determine source and description of objects in museum
- Capture oral history and memorabilia of Viequense residents.
- Collect and provide temporary exhibitions of works of art for local craftspeople
- Develop annual programming taking into account seasons and visiting populations.
- Develop a plan to make more effective use of the laboratory.
i. Resource Room
- Develop plan to improve usability of the resource room
Goal: To increase the Trust’s focus on science and scientific research during the next 5 years.
- Support and encourage at least two visiting scientists to study Puerto Mosquito
- Hold a second symposium for scientists studying bioluminescence
- Reprint the books we have produced with the help of NOAA for sale in the Gift Shop
- Develop posters and other print materials to help educate residents and visitors, particularly on the subject of light pollution, recycling, marine life environmental protection, coral reefs, history, etc.
- Escuela Barbosa: if successful in gaining access to use the space, plan and develop a project to renovate and refit Escuela Barbosa for use as a scientific center for Vieques
- Write and support grant applications to increase the scientific research into subjects appropriate to our location in the Caribbean.
3. Community Involvement
Goal: To strengthen ties within the community
- Continue to meet with the Municipality on issues of mutual concern
- Reach out to targeted sectors (scientists, fishermen, gardeners) to establish more bilingual dialogue
- Involve more community groups in the use of the facilities
- Develop more special events aligned to the mission of the Trust, e.g. lecture series
- Strengthen ties with agencies, such as Department of Natural Resources, USGS, USFWS and others
- Develop a marketing plan to reach out to various communities
Goal: To assure financial reports and controls are implemented and maintained to ensure the financial viability of the Trust
- Propose, review and approve a budget each year
- Continue to build a robust Audit and Finance committee to review budgets, set policies and maintain integrity of financial system
- Ensure controls and reports are provided in a timely and accurate manner to ensure the Trust’s assets and viability are preserved
- Provide quarterly reports to the Board of Directors
- Engage an auditor to review the financial records of the Trust and to ensure that all appropriate filings are made in a timely manner
Goal: To maintain and strengthen the financial position of the VCHT in order to provide funding for programs and ensure future sustainability
- Create an endowment fund to ensure sustainability and begin a campaign to raise $500,000
- Raise $125,000 each year by reaching residents, visitors and businesses
- Research grant opportunities and write grant application to build and sustain programs
- Generate annual revenues, net of expenses: Gift Shop: $40,000; Fundraising events: $50,000 and membership: $8000.
- Increase paid activities during tourist season for residents and visitors
- Investigate possible sources of new revenues.
- Develop a plan to increase the numbers and competency of the volunteers
b. Special Events
- Develop more special events aligned with the mission of the Trust
- Continue traditional events for networking purposes.
c. Gift Shop
- Ensure Gift Shop items are aligned with the goals of the Trust while maintaining a Gift Shop that is appealing to tourists.
- Extend the hours of operation where possible
- Redesign shop to provide a more appealing sales atmosphere
- Expand Spanish language offerings
- Establish a membership campaign to increase numbers and level of memberships
- Hold an annual fundraising, information and thank you event
Goal: Continue to build and maintain a reputation for being neutral and trustworthy and advance the concept of sustainability.
- Actively defend Vieques’ environment against pollution, over-development, threats to Puerto Mosquito, etc.
- Work with the community to build a central recycling location and to improve participation by the community and better collection
- Develop programs on light pollution and provide useful information to the community
- Work to develop practical programs to increase sustainability through the use of “green technologies” and local food production
7. Staff, Administration and Volunteers
- Demonstrate that VCHT is committed to equality and respect in relationships between staff, volunteers and the Board of Directors
- Focus the Trust’s excellent human resources (Board of Directors, Advisory Council, Honorary members, staff and volunteers) toward implementing the strategic plan
a. Human Resources
- Review the staffing needs of the Trust
- Establish a volunteer program to recruit and train more committed volunteers
- Focus all staff and volunteers on bilingual community and visitor welcoming
- Establish an ongoing volunteer orientation about the VCHT, mission, products and progams
- Establish systems to record statistics for programs and volunteer time
- Develop marketing plan to allow for development of Scientific Research
- Collaborate with Vieques Events to ensure Trust activities are promoted and visible to the community
- Develop plans to market VCHT in the main island of Puerto Rico
- Develop brochure to promote fee for service opportunities such as MANTAstic
- Improve web site to include section on services
8. Physical Plant
Goals: To provide a physical plant that meets the needs of the programs and staff.
- Review space use (Inside and outside)
- Develop plan use space use effectively
- Develop alternative energy sources to make the Trust a demonstration site
- Review and improve signage
- Explore additional sites, such as Escuela Barbosa for expansion of programming