Sea camp set

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute is holding its seventh-annual Caribbean Sea Camp program for high school youths from 3-10 August.

The program is for students between the ages of 11 and 18 who are interested in learning about marine biology and marine conservation, said a CCMI press release.

Participants will stay at the new Little Cayman Research Centre and learn how researchers collect important information from the ocean. Located on the north side of Little Cayman, the facility has accommodations, laboratories, classrooms and a library.

The marine biological program is a way for youths to have fun exploring Cayman’s tropical habitats while learning from and interacting with scientists and upper level college students, the release said.

Over the years generous sponsors including Cayman Airways, CUC, Bank Austria-Cayman Islands, Red Sail Sports, Esso and Bank of Butterfield have provided funds, equipment and flights in support of this program.

A non-profit organization, CCMI is based in the Cayman Islands and has a special commitment to encouraging highly motivated children from the islands to participate in the program.

This year the organization will work with local corporations to award scholarships to Caymanian youths to cover all of their travel expenses and to purchase new equipment including a digital camera/microscope that will expand on the current technologies that are being used in the program.

New activities

This year, the activities are based on a new education program developed by the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration called Coral Reef Conservation.

Coral reefs are under enormous stress around the globe and the NOAA program was developed to emphasize the importance of healthy coral reefs.

Students are involved in a variety of activities every day. SCUBA diving is one element of the program but students who are snorkellers are also being accepted into the program this year. Activities include daily field trips to the reefs around the island.

Academics include learning some of the basic methods scientists use to gather information on the health status of fish and coral populations and about the conservation efforts being made in the Cayman Islands to keep the reefs healthy.

Sport activities, fun team challenges and a poster design contest on the program theme are some of the activities that the kids participate in as well. Each year the kids dress up for the Pirates Night Lu and awards ceremony where they receive a marine conservation certificate for successfully completing the program.

How to apply

Students interested in attending the Caribbean Sea Camp must complete an application indicating their own personal ideas about why coral reefs are important to Cayman, two letters of recommendation and an application fee. The program is for students who already have an interest in marine conservation and it is subsidized by donations from the community. The application is found on the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s website; www.reefresearch.org or interested youths can call 345.948-1094 for more information. Applications are being accepted through the month of May.

WHO THEY ARE

The Central Caribbean Marine Institute is a Cayman Islands non-profit educational organization established in 1998 to sustain the biodiversity of coral reefs through research, education and conservation efforts.

CCMI has just completed construction of the multi-million dollar Little Cayman Research Centre, a tropical field station with wet and dry laboratories, classroom/conference rooms, and accommodations fringed by the world-renowned coral reefs of Bloody Bay Marine Park.

CCMI provides leadership in undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, facilitates and conducts research, and offers community conservation programs at the new research centre.