Mangrove Discovery Camp
The Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers launched its first Mangrove Discovery Camp in celebration of World Wetlands Day. 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.
During the afternoon of the second day the 20 attendees took a discovery tour of the famous Central Mangroves – at 8,500 acres the largest contiguous wetland in the Caribbean. The field trip was conducted by Sea Elements, partner in the camp. Unfortunately, the weather was too rough for kayaks, Mike Nelson of Sea Elements captained his launch Blue Elements which is specially designed for education trips. The trip ended up with attendees checking out the starfish at Starfish Point.
Rangers Daniella Christian, Dinara Perera, Javahn Syms and Kayla Young joined rangers’ founder Martin Keeley in running the camp which covered everything from salinity experiments to ecosystems, food chains and webs, microscopic identification and analysis of micro-organisms, to human impacts on mangroves. The activities were held at the International College of the Cayman Islands (ICCI) which generously donated the classroom facilities.
The camp was a joint project between the Mangrove Action Project (MAP)’s Rangers, Sea Elements, which operates the kayaks, the Mangrove Education Project and the International College of the Cayman Islands. In addition to the camp MAP the Rangers have begun work on piloting in the classroom the new curriculum which is being developed to integrate mangroves with the rest of the coastal lagoon ecosystem - seagrass and coral reefs. Pilots of the activities plus field trips to each of the three inter-related ecosystems – mangroves, seagrass and reefs is being held at the Brac’s West End Primary School with the Year 6 science classes.
Kids from the Mangrove Discovery Camp on a Sea Elements boat tour through the Central Mangrove Wetlands.