Competition winners get up close with marine life

| 06/06/2013

CCMI-on-Little-Cayman-(Read-Only).jpg(CNS): As winners of the marine education competition One Ocean One Planet, developed by the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI), kids from George Town Primary School enjoyed a two-day stay at the Little Cayman Research Centre. The students snorkelled in the pristine seagrass beds and coral reefs around Little Cayman, where they had the opportunity to use their newly acquired skills learned during the contest to identify native fish and coral species. For many, this was the first time they had been snorkelling, which opened up a whole new underwater world. They also learned about Cayman cultural history and terrestrial conservation at the National Trust, located at the Booby Pond Reserve, one of the last nesting grounds for the red footed booby.

The students also had a close encounter with the Sister Islands’ biggest and rarest land creature, the rock iguana, and local guides explained about the threats to these gentle giants and ways to help protect them.

One of the main benefits of staying at the LCRC is that students have the opportunity to see the scientists in action and interact with them throughout the day. CCMI says that lionfish dissections are always popular with visiting students, who observe CCMI researchers as they examine the lionfish’ stomach contents to learn more about which native fish they consume on Cayman reefs. 

The students also played their part by removing 244 pounds of garbage from the coast and participated in ‘paint a fish’, which is a petition to protect fish stocks.

Red Bay Primary School placed second in the One Ocean One Planet competition and won a tour on the Nautilus submarine with CCMI staff. Student were captivated by the shipwrecks and the different marine species, including fish, stingrays, jellyfish and a hawksbill turtle, as well as the corals found on Cayman’s reefs.

Both prizes were designed to teach the young Caymanian students about the local oceans and their value to the tourism industry in the Cayman Islands, as well as ways in which the community can work to protect the environment for future generations.

The One Ocean One Planet Competition is sponsored by KMPG with CNB and DOT partners, allowing  CCMI to provide young students exciting ways to learn about marine conservaiton. Over  fifty Ocean Literacy Scholarships  have also been awarded to winning students.

Founded in 1998, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) is guided by its mission to conduct and facilitate research, education, conservation and outreach that will sustain marine diversity for future generations. The Little Cayman Research Centre was opened in 2006. The multi-million dollar tropical biological research facility has become home to a number of research programs at top universities, and to scientists focused on important topics relevant to coral reef sustainability.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent event for the students to have the chance to interactwith the scientists and later on clean so many pounds of garbage at the sea.

    Congratulations to these passionate students!