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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The White Flower of Trinidad.

Some years ago I travelled to Trinidad and Tobago for a birding trip over the Christmas period. One of the places I visited was the Asa Wright Bird Sanctuary which was originally a coffee & coco plantation, and is now, over 2,000 acres of protected land and a true sanctuary for the exotic birds of Trinidad. As I was travelling on a shoe-string I spent only one night at the eco-tourist lodge at a cost of £75 per night, and in order you to see the Oilbird they required you to stay three nights before they would take you to see it.

I found a way around this, as one of the staff members was interested in wilderness-living-skills and he was thinking of doing a Tom Brown course, so I shared some of my skills with him, in exchange for the chance to see the rare Oilbird which I was lucky to get to see the next morning with a group of Americans.

After this I went birding around the sanctuary, when I happened upon a large white bell shaped flower hanging down from a tree, as I approached it I began to wonder what kind of hummingbirds would feed from this flower. 

And just as I went to touch it I got a strong message not to touch it as it was poisonous, at that time I had no idea what the flower was called and nor do I really need to know as giving things names can be a distraction from what is really taking place and also I completely trust my inner voice.

Some time later on my return to the UK, I was at work in a challenging behaviour home where we were watching a programme about buying and selling houses, when I saw the same flower in someone’s garden. I said to the staff there that I had just seen that flower in Trinidad, when one of them turned to me and said you do not want to touch that it is an Angels' Trumpet flower and that all parts of the plant are poisonous.

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