|Students visit artificial reef|
|Thursday, 02 December 2010 09:04|
Eighty students from Enid Capron Primary were treated to an underwater eco-learning adventure on Friday when the young enthusiasts were invited to inspect Beaches Resorts’ successful Reef Ball project.
As part of their Coral Reef Studies, the group from the Five Cays school spent an afternoon snorkeling and witnessing the ongoing success of the artificial reef created along the Grace Bay Beach in front of Beaches.
The students were treated to an up-close observation of the balls, which have already started to encourage growth of natural coral and inhabitation of marine life since the project’s deployment in 2007.
In what may be described as “giving Mother Nature a helping hand,” Reef Balls are concrete structures that provide surface area for corals and other organisms to grow while offering a protective habitat for beautiful tropical fishes and other marine species.
The structures were designed by the Reef Ball Foundation, a publicly supported non-profit and international environmental non-governmental organization working to rehabilitate marine reefs. Beaches hired a Reef Ball team — which included TCI residents and volunteers — to install the structures, then attach corals that were rescued from a reef near the entrance to Turtle Cove Marina.
Beaches Resorts Watersports Department has been monitoring and protecting the Reef Ball reef system, which has seen tremendous growth over the past year. Michael Clarke, director of watersports and also head of the Beaches Reef Ball project, explained the importance of educating students on the Reef Ball initiatives.
“It is important that we teach students of our environmental initiatives while explaining what Beaches is doing to preserve our beautiful beaches and coral reef systems,” Clarke said. “Unfortunately the growing audience is beginning to play its part in the diminishing of the coral reefs. Our Reef Ball reef will serve as a reef relief and will inevitably create a new snorkel site for our guest and also a serve as habitat for marine life.”
Rachel Taylor, principal of Enid Capron Primary School said, the trip was an unforgettable experience for the Grade 6 students.
“This hands-on, real-life experience has brought theories into reality and also allowed the students to understand the importance of the reef system,” Taylor said. “It is very important for the students to understand the importance of the tourism and how our day-to-day activities could have a massive impact on the life of the ecosystem.”
In addition, the students were given educational information on how and why the balls were made, a chart showing the types of fish found in the Caribbean seas as well as an educational quiz.
Future plans for the Beaches Resort’s Reef Ball Project will include educational markers to the sites which will help to teach visitors as well as students of the local school about the underwater world as they swim along the artificial reefs. Each marker will be labeled with the names of coral as well as the type of fishes that likely inhabit the area.
This Sandals Foundation-sponsored environmental outreach is a wonderful educational journey that will not only benefit the Turks and Caicos Islands ecosystem and coastal areas, but it will also serve as an attraction and a learning tool to both visitors and non-visitors alike.
For more information on Reef Balls, visit www.reefball.org.
Latest Local News
Tourist Board expands adding two new staff members
The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board announced this week it welcomed two new staff members to further More...
Cruise terminal to open April 8
Beginning Monday, April 8, thousands of cruise ship passengers will again begin to enjoy the More...
2013 TCI Elecrotal List Available
TCI 2013 Electors’ Register is Ready! Supervisor of Elections Mr. Dudley Lewis has announced More...
Misick Declared By-Election Winner
Supervisor of Elections Dudley Lewis has advised that the Progressive National Party's (PNP) Amanda More...
New Board leads TCHTA
On Wednesday, March 13, Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) bid farewell to its More...
TCI Protected Areas Series
The fp is publishing a series of articles on the Turks and Caicos Islands Protected Area System to increase public awareness and respect for the beauty and value of this "beautiful by nature" country.
The authors, marine ecologist Marsha Pardee and terrestrial ecologist Kathleen Wood, are long-time TCI residents and respected scientists in their fields.
Below are links to their articles, plus related news articles, documents and laws.
- 29/7/10: Chalk Sound National Park: Beauty and ecology
- 22/7/10: Protected Areas designations and differences
- 15/7/10: Long-term prosperity vs. short-term gain
- 8/7/10: Protected Areas save environment, generate revenue
- 5/8/10: Frenchman’s Creek: Prime real estate of TCI wetlands
Related news articles
- 1/7/10: Expert report warned about encroachment on protected areas
- 8/7/10: More than 250 lots carved in Provo parks
Links to environmental documents and laws