The sixth annual Caribbean Sea Camp, developed and operated by Cayman based CCMI, is wrapping up a second week by involving Grand Cayman and youths in the development of the centre.
The program this year involved participants from several countries including Cayman, France, Sweden, and the US. Parents from Princeton, New Jersey (the US base) of the organization included Dr. Ken and Ingela Kostenbader and their four children.
Youths from Cayman included past camp participants Daniella Ryan, Catherine Welds, and Shamaih Grand and Tianne Christian.
The Caymanian participants are continuing in the program this week working with CCMI staff on independent projects to help support the research and education centre’s mission.
Daniella Ryan will develop the organizations first visitor’s centre exhibit on endemic species of the Cayman Islands.
Endemic species include the flora and fauna of the islands that are found only here. She will work with materials from scientist Amber Wright from the University of California, Davis who is studying the endemic Anolis lizards on Little Cayman this summer.
She will also include other species that are found only on Little Cayman such as the Little Cayman Boa, and the newest plant discovered as being an endemic (by Dr. George Proctor), an Agave species.
Dr. Procter has recently discovered that our plant is different than the Jamaican sister and has named it after the Cayman Islands (A. caymanensis) where it occurs.
Catherine Welds is working to establish conservation signs that are clever and make a statement at the centre to impress upon visitors that the environment is delicate. She is also developing a garden for the centre’s entrance.
All of the participants will dive with CCMI president and oceanographer, Dr. Carrie Manfrino to assist her with her newest research project to tag and monitor the early survival of baby corals on Cayman reefs.
This study is important to understanding the ability of Cayman’s coral reefs to continue to regenerate despite high recent mortalities of major reef frame builders.
CCMI has been offering college credit courses in the Cayman Islands for college students of all ages now for a decade.
However, the organization considers the Caribbean Sea Camp for local young Caymanians to be their most important program. Over the years the program has resulted in developing a community of corporate sponsors who are interested in the youth of the Cayman Islands having the finest educational opportunities availably anywhere in the world.
Cayman Airways has again supported the group in a major way by providing tickets for staff and greatly reduced rates for the participants.
This year, Bank of Butterfield, Bank Austria, Southern Cross Club, Brac Power and Light, BB&P, CUC, Esso Standard Oil S.A. Ltd., the Department of Tourism, and Anton and Geradline Duckworth are our sponsors.
With the completion of the newest tropical biology research centre in Little Cayman, the program will continue to develop and will offer the local youth new opportunities to learn about the process of science.
The CCMI Summer Sea Camp activities integrate the fun of science into learning experiences that works to develop long-term, positive attitudes about marine conservation because the future of the coral reefs on many Caribbean Islands will ultimately depend on the attitude of the youth of the Islands and their knowledge of current issues and trends in the management of these ecosystems.