Reef relay raises funds

The first annual Central Caribbean Marine Institute Reef Relay took place on Little Cayman recently to kick off the CCMI’s fundraising efforts for their 2007 budget.

It was a fun sporting event with 39 entrants making up thirteen 13 teams swimming, kayaking, and biking at the kick off thanks to the sponsorship of the Little Cayman Beach Resort, said a press release from CCMI.

‘Over the next few weeks, the organization has a fundraising plan to sign up 100 corporate sponsors who will become Corporate Navigators and Founders of the Coral Reef Education and Conservation Fund,’ the release adds.

‘These charitable funds are vital for our ability to maintain leadership in education and to becoming the top field research centre in the Caribbean focused on coral reefs and conservation,’ said CCMI President, Dr. Carrie Manfrino.

Overall first place winner was the Little Cayman Beach Resort team with George Castellos (kayaking), Nguyen Lopez (biking), and Brett McPherson (swimming). The first place Sea Camp winning team, called the ‘Triple J’s’ included Grand Cayman residents Josh Merren, Julius Hubbell, and Julio Wilson.

The Reef Relay race included a swim from Head ‘O Bay to Owen Island. Kayakers paddled from Owen Island to the Little Cayman Beach Resort and bikers rode from Beach Resort to the cross-roads on Little Cayman at Olivine Kirk Drive and back to the Resort. CCMI Reef Relay t-shirts were sponsored by ECAY and a painting by Scott Goldy a part-time resident of Little Cayman and exceptional folk colorist decorated the back of the shirts.

This is the first year the program is being held at the newly constructed Little Cayman Research Centre.

‘As the only coral reef education and research non-governmental organization in the Cayman Islands we provide an opportunity for Caymanians to play an active role in the future of the island’s vital economic resource, our coral reefs,’ said Executive Council Member, Mrs. Nicoela McCoy. .

Mrs. McCoy indicated that this diversification is significant because it translates to a better, broader economy.

The corporate navigators and founders of the Coral Reef Education and Conservation Fund will make it possible for the organization to continue providing exceptional field-oriented educational opportunities for youth and will fund development of new materials for Cayman’s school children, the release said. The corporate navigators and founding members will be credited with establishing this important fund to support scientific research on coral reefs and educational opportunities that are otherwise not available in the Islands.

Daniela Ryan, a sea camp participant for three years, came up with the idea to launch the fundraiser in this way and she and other volunteers will be available by phone (948-1094) or email ([email protected]) to interested sponsors over the next week.