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  • If you want to protect the heritage of a place, it is important to first know what’s there. That is why Alison (Aly) DeGraff—a recent graduate of Middlebury College—developed a participatory mapping project in the Caribbean nations of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada. In the slides that follow, explore the cultural and ecological heritage of the Grenadine islands through photos collected by Aly during her participatory mapping project.


    Aly received a yearlong fellowship to conduct the project, and moved to the Grenadines, an island chain dotting the Caribbean between the larger islands of St. Vincent to the north and Grenada to the south. Because the islands are a part of two nations, geographers identify the Grenadines as transboundary islands.


    Aly worked with her mentor, Dr. Kimberly Baldwin of the University of the West Indies in Barbados, and a local non-governmental organization called Sustainable Grenadines, Inc. to develop her heritage mapping project. Aly lived and worked alongside residents of the Grenadines to determine what sites were of cultural, historical, and ecological importance. She collected data on more than 320 sites, took photos, and created maps to tell the story of the Grenadines. Aly worked with more than 300 local stakeholders throughout the Grenadines to gather this information to add to the existing Grenadines Marine Resource and Space-use Information System (MarSIS) database and assist the two countries in achieving a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    archipelago Noun

    a group of closely scattered islands in a large body of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: archipelago
    cartographer Noun

    person who makes maps.

    cartography Noun

    art and science of making maps.

    cay Noun

    small, low island on a coral reef. Also called a key.

    colony Noun

    people and land separated by distance or culture from the government that controls them.

    community mapping Noun

    process where members of a community use geographic tools to understand the region in spatial terms.

    coral reef Noun

    rocky ocean features made up of millions of coral skeletons.

    cultural heritage Noun

    traditions and customs of a specific population.

    culture Noun

    learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

    development Noun

    construction or preparation of land for housing, industry, or agriculture.

    Global Positioning System (GPS) Noun

    system of satellites and receiving devices used to determine the location of something on Earth.

    heritage Noun

    cultural or family background.

    hunter-gatherer Noun

    person who gets food by using a combination of hunting, fishing, and foraging.

    island Noun

    body of land surrounded by water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: island
    islet Noun

    a very small island.

    marine ecosystem Noun

    community of living and nonliving things in the ocean.

    participatory mapping Noun

    process of mapping spatial information to help communities better make decisions about their resources.

    stakeholder Noun

    person or organization that has an interest or investment in a place, situation or company.

    tourism Noun

    the industry (including food, hotels, and entertainment) of traveling for pleasure.

    West Indies Plural Noun

    archipelago between North and South America, separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, consisting of the individual island groups of the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Bahamas.

    World Heritage Site Noun

    location recognized by the United Nations as important to the cultural or natural heritage of humanity.