Eco-Weekends with CCMI

| 15/01/2009

(CNS): This weekend, a group of high school students from Grand Cayman will be benefiting from the first of a series of Eco-Weekends at the Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC), sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, where they will study a wide range of topics covering marine ecology and conservation. Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI), which is hosting the weekend, say that educating and empowering are at the forefront of the Eco-Weekend programme.

For three days, the students will stay at the LCRC with a well-developed curriculum of ecology-based topics and activities to highlight what they can do to make a difference. They will learn new field sampling techniques with the aim of improving their analytical and critical thinking skills, collect samples and work together in analyzing data from several coastal environments including the rocky shoreline and sea grass habitats, observe and study first hand the importance of mangroves to our shores and juvenile fish populations as well as how Cayman reef structure was formed, and identify the common reef fish, and understanding sustainable fishing practices.

The launch of the Eco-Weekends progtramme was originally scheduled in November 2008; however, Paloma damage to CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC), including loss of electricity, delayed the start of the programme until January.

The new schedule includes: January 16-18, January 23-25, April 3-5, May 1-3, June 5-7

“A full launch of the Eco-Weekends will have a great impact on the community as these youth apply their new knowledge”, comments Jim O’Neill, CEO of CCMI. “The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman recognised the value of this programme and embraced it with a commitment, which will establish the Eco-Weekends as a winning formula for youth, education and environment. This is a tremendous benefit to the Cayman Islands for years to come.”

The Eco-Weekend instructors will use the Marine Park laws to help the students understand why conch, lobster and Nassau grouper populations are currently protected. At the end of the weekend, the students summarise the experience with presentations at the end of their stay.

“These students be mentally equipped with the information to make good decisions and share their new knowledge with their families and peers. We see a bright future ahead”, comments Jim O’Neill. “The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman has demonstrated their solid commitment to our local youth, the importance of education and Cayman’s environment.”

Rotary’s theme for this year is to “Make Dreams Real.” In addition, Rotary is targeting child mortality and literacy, two items that are very much linked. “I consider that in supporting CCMI, we are actually hitting all three of the above – making dreams real for the participating students and providing environmental literacy that will equip our youth with the knowledge to better care of our islands,” said President of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Derek Haines. “In years to come, educated youth will become fully employed and empowered youth, avoiding poverty and ensuring that child mortality does not become an issue in the Cayman Islands.”

For more information on CCMI’s Eco-Weekends, please contact Sally at


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