(GIS) — The National Conservation Authority (NCA), in partnership with the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) and the Department of Fisheries, have invited conservation clubs from schools around the island to participate in a series of science experiments and activities related to beach ecosystems.
The beach activity is part of an initiative titled “Protecting Paradise: A Beach Education and Action Campaign” which aims to educate students on beach pollution and prevention strategies, and how it affects their daily lives.
Karetta Crooks-Charles, communications and advocacy officer at the Saint Lucia National Trust, said the activity will educate students about the importance of marine life.
“The students will interact with an NCA worker, and they will visit each of the stations to get more information about marine systems,” Crooks-Charles said.
“The National Trust will specifically speak about how important marine ecosystems are to our heritage and how we can use these resources to improve various aspects of our lives, whether it is job creation, recreation, or our health. We are happy to be a part of this project because sometimes we see the ocean and how expansive it is, and we don’t really understand its relation to our lives,” she added.
Sarah Chang, Peace Corps volunteer attached to the NCA, is tasked with the responsibility of managing the conservation clubs.
Chang said: “The NCA has been working with conservation clubs for the past year, and this is a culmination project of sorts. We wanted to get the kids out into the environment rather than learning in the classroom. It is always better to learn out on the field. And beach and coastal ecosystems are such a huge and important part of the Saint Lucian environment so we wanted to really focus on beach conservation.”
Yvonne Edwin, Fisheries assistant responsible for information and communication, educated the conservation club members on different aspects of beach profiling.
“At the department we monitor and ensure that the various ecosystems within the marine environment are adequately monitored. Beach profiling is one of the activities that we do as part of our work program,” she explained. “My responsibility is to go through the beach profiling aspect, to help them understand what we do. This entails observing seasonal changes and the shape of the beach, and the effective management of the coast.”
For the second phase of the campaign, the conservation clubs will be provided with beach bins on which the club members will paint environmental images and messages.