Eco-Weekends a success

| 29/01/2009

(CNS): The first two Rotary funded Eco-Weekends at the Little Cayman Research Centre, which took place over the last two weekends, were, according to organizers, a resounding success. Students studied a wide range of topics covering marine ecology and conservation, including coastal, lagoon, mangrove and coral reef habitats. They carried out a rocky shore lab at Lighthouse Point, setting out transects and quadrants, gathering and recording data on whelks, chitons and periwinkles.

Some forty Year 12 students from John Gray High School, accompanied by four of their teachers, have benefitted from the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) programme so far this year. CCMI’s Education Officer Sally Coppage said she was impressed by the participants. “They are exactly the kind of students that CCMI wants at the Centre and we welcome them back anytime,” she said. Three more Eco-Weekends, also funded by Rotary, are scheduled April 3-5, May 1-3 and June 5-7.

For the majority of the students, the programme offered their first trip to the Sister Islands and that experience alone made quite an impact, according to CCMI.

“On my Eco-Weekend in Little Cayman, my education expanded about my island’s ecosystem. I learned things that will encourage and motivate me to protect my islands at my greatest effort,” said one student.

Another commented, “This weekend had been an experience I will never forget. Not only did it give us an opportunity to enjoy the company of classmates but allowed us to learn about a whole new side of theworld in a way that never left us bored.”

“I learnt so many new things that I know I will remember always because of how much fun I had while learning them,” said another.

At the end of the weekend the students gave short presentations on what they had learned about mangroves and their habitats; how they support other marine ecosystems; what threatens them and what can be done to protect them. The students also performed a knowledge evaluation upon arrival and departure that quantified the success of the weekend with approximately 40% increase in knowledge overall.

“This would not have been possible without the faith that the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman has invested in making sure all these students are educated and new ambassadors for giving Cayman a greener and brighter future,” said CCMI CEO Jim O’Neill.

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



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  1. Green Hornet says:

    I would like to know what, if anything, CCMI is doing about the rapid acidification of our oceans as reported in another of your current stories.

    It’s great that these Year 12 students are learning about coastal ecosystems but what, if anything, are they learning about their destruction at our hands? In a very short time they will be able to vote — will they know enough to rebel against the current ecological status quo in Cayman (uncontrolled development, habitat destruction, dolphinariums etc.) — or will they be more concerned about the size of the SUV they will be able to drive?