CCMI eco-weekends get a boost

A donation from Cayman National will
be funding eco-weekend workshops for local high school students.

Each year, the Central Caribbean
Marine Institute hosts a series of weekend retreats at its Little Cayman
Research Centre that open a window on the world of marine ecology to Cayman students. 

Late last year, Cayman National
Bank President Ormond Williams presented $5000 to Central Caribbean Marine
Institute Managing Director Brenda Gadd.

“We applaud CCMI for the work they continue
to spearhead in raising marine environmental awareness in our islands,” said
Mr. Williams.

“Given our dependence on the
environment, we take comfort in CCMI’s commitment to this strategy,
particularly amongst young people, and are delighted to support this program.”

The 2-day eco-weekends serve to
heighten the environmental awareness of Cayman youth, with a focus on issues
surrounding Cayman’s marine environment. 
The purpose is to enlighten local teenagers on environmental concerns
affecting current and future generations, in this way challenging them to take
part in the solution.

CCMI’s first eco-weekend for 2010
kicked off on 24 January. The group of three teachers and 17 students from
Cayman Brac High School had already been forced to cancel twice; the first time
in January 2009, due to the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma, and again in November,
due to gale force winds from Tropical Storm Ida. 

The 2-day programme began with a
wet and bumpy morning boat ride from the Brac to Little Cayman courtesy of Brac
Reef Divers’ boat captain Mick Maher. Upon arrival at the Little Cayman Research
Centre, a brief history and orientation was given by CCMI’s Director, Brenda
Gadd, followed by a sea treasure hunt and powerpoint lecture given by CCMI’s
new Director of Marketing and Development, Kate Pellow.

Sharon Whitmore, a
teacher at John Gray High School, volunteered her services as assistant instructor.
The good weather provided plenty of opportunities for the students snorkel and
kayak, and hold an outdoor BBQ dinner. The next day’s activities included a
beach picnic and beach cleanup at Point of Sand, a short tour of the island
including the local iguana habitat and the National Trust House, and
presentations by the students on such topics as climate change, conservation,
and going green.