In celebration of World Wetlands Day (February 2nd), the Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers launched its first Mangrove Discovery Camp. The two-day camp involved a series of fun hands-on activities based on the Marvelous Mangroves curriculum which has been taught in all Cayman schools for over 20 years. “The activities lead to a deeper understanding of mangrove ecosystems and the threats that they face,” explained Ranger founder Martin Keeley.
The camp was a joint project between the Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers, Sea Elements, Mangrove Education Project and the International College of the Cayman Islands. Rangers Daniella Christian, Dinara Perera, Javahn Syms and Kayla Young joined Martin Keeley to run the camp which included activities on mangrove biodiversity and the human impacts on mangroves to the use of microscopes and the analysis of micro-organisms. The activities were held at the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI) which generously donated classroom facilities.
On the afternoon of the second day the 20 students went on a discovery tour of the famous Central Mangroves – the largest contiguous wetland in the Caribbean. The field trip was led by camp partner Mike Nelson of Sea Elements and involved a boat tour specially designed for educational trips. The trip ended up with attendees checking out the colorful starfish at Starfish Point.
“Students were very excited with the camp,” says Ranger Daniella Christian. “They participated well and took a great interest in mangrove ecology.”
One student said “It was a very educational camp and a fun way to learn about an important part of our island.” He added that he would definitely recommend the camp to others.
Another student commented that she “learned a lot and had a fun experience overall…Please count me in anytime you’re organizing such fun camps. This was my best camp ever and I really enjoyed it and wish it was longer!”
In addition to the Mangrove Discovery Camp, the Rangers have begun work on piloting a coastal lagoon curriculum in Cayman schools which is being developed to integrate the Marvelous Mangrove curriculum with an education programme on seagrasses and coral reefs. Pilots of the curriculum will be held at the Brac’s West End Primary School and will include field trips to each of the three inter-related ecosystems – mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs.
Mangrove Action Project
Martin Keeley is MAP’s Education Director and has more than 45 years of experience in communications and education, he has developed extensive and award-winning environmental education programs on wetlands