The Sandy Island Oyster Bed Marine Protected Area (SIOBMPA) Office coordinated a youth summer camp held during the week of August 19th to 23rd 2019. This camp was focussed on raising the awareness of the Carriacou’s youth of the valuable ecosystems on their island and their waste management responsibility while also improving their snorkelling and swimming skills and stimulating writing and creativity.
The SIOBMPA is a still generally pristine and very unique ecosystem on the island of Carriacou, Grenada. Its approximately 6.58 square kilometres (1625 acres) is a living tapestry of nature’s interactions: a still generally intact mangrove network speckled with oysters on its roots, housed within a system of coral reefs, avi and marine fauna, and expanses of sea grasses. As development knocks on the doors of this still largely unspoilt island of Carriacou, it is ever more crucial that the residents, particularly the youth, have a conscious awareness of the value of the natural resources of their homeland. This awareness will translate to more holistic, and long-term focussed development within the SIOBMPA and wider island, in harmony with the valuable natural resources which still exist. The unique mangrove system within the SIOBMPA has proven useful not only to the island’s residents but also to the wider Caribbean as it is used as a natural safe haven for marine vessels during times of inclement weather and sea surges. Another less tangible benefit of the mangrove is that it also serves as a filter, reducing the volumes of silt which are transported from the land into the marine ecosystems, thereby sustaining the livelihood enhancing fishing sector.
Recognising that this is a very crucial stage in the development within the SIOBMPA, the Caribbean Aqua-Terrestrial Solutions (CATS) Programme Phase II (Building Climate Resilience from the Ridge to the Reef), support of initiatives to sustainably manage this MPA is considered very relevant and necessary. The SIOBMPA Office assumed remarkable ownership this initiative demonstrated great spirit of initiative and drive in executing this summer camp. The Office did its best to be as cost effective as possible and put to use whatever resources were available to it, thereby requiring minimal external support.
A total of 40 youth within the age range of (2yrs to 16yrs) from various parts of the island took part in the camp. They actively participated in all the exercises and have returned to their ‘lives’ with a greater appreciation for their island home and a greater sense of responsibility toward and awareness of their natural resources. The training on snorkelling and scuba diving and the preparation of the Camp Memoirs was facilitated by the SIOBMPA Office team and volunteers and external resource persons gave of their time to make this a success. They include:
- Birds of the Transboundary Grenadines who coordinated the bird identification class session and birdwatching excursion in the SIOBMPA Mangrove.
- KIDO Foundation, who made a presentation on turtles and mangroves and coordinated a very creative interactive session, during which the children role played turtles and learned how they nest and live and also how fragile they are.
- Ms. Kelisha Samerson (SIOBMPA) and Ms. Shereen Guy (volunteer) who conducted the training on waste management an recycling, with an interactive session during which the students made crafts by recycling ‘waste’ materials
- Ms. Kisha McFarlene (SIOBMPA) who facilitated the drama session with the theme Saving the Environment
The Programme commends the staff of the SIOBMPA office particularly Ms. Kisha McFarlene, who oversaw the coordination of the entire activity, and all the volunteers and facilitators mentioned earlier who made this a very successful activity. The Programme looks forward to this and other such activities bearing fruits of sustainable development of Carriacou and the effective and responsible management of it’s still remaining pristine ecosystems.
About the CATS Programme
The CATS Programme applies an integrated Ridge-to-Reef Approach (R2R), to address the increasing vulnerability of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Low-Lying Coastal States (LLCS) to climate change and the attendant negative impacts on coastal communities and economies; ecosystems and biodiversity (terrestrial and coastal/marine), and natural resources management. The target beneficiaries of the Programme are local practitioners (particularly fishermen, farmers, foresters, agro-processors and other persons along the value chains of these primary producers) in the focus watersheds and Marine Managed Areas in the Member States. The political host of the Programme is the CARICOM Secretariat through the Environmental Health and Sustainable Development (EHS) Department of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). The Programme is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the German International Development.