Jersey’s first ever Wetland Centre opened its doors to the public Sunday 2 February, World Wetlands Day. The day marked the culmination of a four-year project to restore the wetland area, and create a visitor centre, around St Ouen’s Pond. The work was undertaken by the National Trust for Jersey, and jointly funded by grants from the Tourism Development Fund and from Royal Bank of Canada’s Blue Water Project. 

In the past 12 months the Trust’s rangers carefully captured and relocated animals to a purpose-built sanctuary near St Ouen’s Pond, the project team turned a disused German occupation bunker into a classroom within the Centre, and volunteers from RBC Wealth Management helped conceal the entire Centre beneath a ‘green roof’. The result is the new Jersey Wetland Centre which gives nature lovers unrivalled views of Jersey's prime wetland.

The Centre was opened by Alec Sueur and Aimee Le Sueur, son and grand-daughter of the late Frances and Dick Le Sueur, who were responsible for purchasing the area to secure its permanent protection through the National Trust for Jersey. The opening saw a host of activities for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike that included a series of ‘Tweet Talks’ about visiting birds; a photography workshop; Wild Nature Art and Craft sessions at the Frances Le Sueur Centre, and a Nature Scavenger Walk led by Stephen Le Quesne. The day, which attracted over 650 visitors, ended with a dusk walk and cup of hot chocolate.

Charles Alutto, Chief Executive Officer of the National Trust for Jersey said: ‘We could not have chosen a more appropriate day to open the new Centre. World Wetlands Day serves to remind us of all of the great value these unique habitats have globally and in particular here in Jersey. We are very grateful to all those who have contributed to the project including RBC Wealth Management for their on-going support and the efforts of their staff. The opening day was a huge success and a great way to introduce this valuable addition to the Island’s celebration of our environment’.

Stuart Rutledge, CEO, British Isles & Caribbean, RBC Wealth Management, said: ‘We are delighted to have been able to contribute to the opening of the Jersey Wetland Centre. We see this Centre as part of the future of our wetlands, helping everyone gain a better understanding of the Island’s very special environment. The £75,000 grant made by the RBC Blue Water Project is part of our long-term commitment to assist the National Trust for Jersey in their goal to restore the Island’s remaining wetlands, particularly the site at La Mare au Seigneur.’