The National Trust’s day camps are in full-swing and the latest of the camps was an adventure to the mangroves. The group of nine campers, led by camp leader Joclyn Loyd and field officer Paul Watler of the National Trust for The Cayman Islands, began their exploration with a tour along the North Sound mangroves.
The campers learnt that there are between 50 and 75 different species of mangroves around the world. Of those the red, the black and the white can be found in Cayman. Campers were also taught how to identify the red mangrove by its prop roots and that of the three types of mangroves it is the most salt-water resilient.
‘I learnt that the red mangrove will cover the shores with its roots and leaves right up to the water’s edge,’ said one camper.
‘The black mangrove is also easily identifiable with its pneumataphores sticking up out the mud but it is not at salt-water resilient as the Red Mangrove,’ said field officer Paul Watler. ‘The least salt-water resilient mangrove is the white mangrove and that is usually is found much further inland along the canals.’
The campers went on to learn that each tree manages the excretion of salt from its system in a different way. ‘My favourite part of the day was tasting the salty black mangrove leaf,’ said an eager camper.
‘What the experiment demonstrated was that the black mangrove excretes the salt that it takes in from the water through its leaves and leaves a layer of salty crystals that you can touch to your tongue and taste,’ explained Joclyn.Loyd.
In addition to the salt experiment, campers were educated on the importance of being respectful and appreciative of the mangrove ecosystem and all of the ways in which the mangroves benefit The Cayman Islands.
‘The mangroves help to keep the waters clean, protect the shoreline and provide a nursery for young fish,’ explained Mr. Watler. ‘The campers understood and acknowledged the importance protecting the mangroves and helping to keep them healthy.’
For more information on the mangroves or for a list of the summer camps and activities on offer, please call the National Trust on 949 0121 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.ky.