Client: Conservation International
One of the most fascinating ethnic groups of Suriname, South America, is the Maroons, descendants of 19th century escaped African slaves from Dutch colonial plantations. The maroons took refuge in the rainforest where they recreated African village life that survives today. Conservation International and the Surinamese Forest Service are making an effort to sustain the rural maroon way of life by helping organize a local industry of tourism and craft. The village of Witagron is located on the Coppename River on the border of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve. Anne Phillips participated in a community tourism development charrette to help the 300 residents of Witagron capture a share of the international eco-tourism market. Plans were developed for tourist accommodations, food service and craft sales aimed at tourists en route to and from the Nature Reserve.