The Mastic Trail was recently visited by a very special group of young people. The 15 winners of the National Geographic Hands-On Explorer Challenge were afforded the opportunity to experience Cayman’s natural heritage.
The competition requires young people to engage with their natural surroundings and rewards the most avid outdoors enthusiasts with the opportunity to explore abroad.
Winners in previous years travelled to South Africa and Australia. However, in this instance, these budding naturalists were brought to Cayman to enjoy the natural wonders in our own back yard.
Winners also received a new camera and were encouraged to use it to document their explorations. A collection of their photos and stories can be found on the National Geographic Kids website.
These young people have made it manifestly clear that they enjoyed their visit immensely. In addition to the hike along the Mastic Trail, they were thrilled with every uniquely Caymanian adventure they embarked upon.
Nature plus recreation
This serves to remind us that, amidst the many compelling scientific and philosophical reasons to safeguard our environment, there is one very simple reason which we can all appreciate: nature is important for its recreational value. Spending time with these young people served as a refreshing reminder of this fact. Indeed, in light of the fact that people of all ages travel to the Cayman Islands to enjoy activities that are made possible by our environment, it is disappointing to tally the many ways we take our own home for granted.
It is certain that we are not the stewards we could or should be. It is also evident that fostering a deep and genuine concern for the environment in today’s society begins with instilling a love of nature in children. If we as adults are not as enthused about the natural world as we once were, or if we feel disconnected from the outdoors, consideration might be given to a family outing where the emphasis is placed on the “out.”
Sharing the outdoors with young people is a great way to reinforce one’s flagging love of nature.
The Mastic Trail is waiting …
This column was submitted by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. For more information, call 749-1121 or email [email protected]