More than 60 Central Caribbean Marine Institute scholarships were awarded to primary and secondary students at the 2013 Living Green Fair on Grand Cayman.
The total number of scholarships awarded in 2013 will hit an all time high, with 85 students attending CCMI run programmes; 75 of these are free of charge.
“Over and above the fact that CCMI is a non-profit institution, dedicated to providing increased knowledge on marine biodiversity and marine protection, we are in a fairly unique position to help educate people, both young and old, on emerging scientific trends and information,” said CCMI Director of Development and Communication Kate Pellow.
The scholarships on offer include 50 Ocean Literacy and 11 Young Environmentalist Leadership Course full scholarships. CCMI will also award 10 Sea Camp scholarships this year.
“Education is extremely important to CCMI and we provide a variety of education programmes in the hope to train a new generation of leaders, researchers, policymakers and resource managers alike,” she said.
Courses are offered at the Little Cayman Research Centre to provide unique opportunities for hands-on experience in a pristine marine ecosystem and interaction with resident educators and scientists.
With this year’s One Ocean One Planet competition, the Central Caribbean Marine Institute and programme sponsors offered all government primary schools the chance to win a class trip to Little Cayman with CCMI for two days. The competition was part of CCMI’s Ocean Literacy programme, which works towards ensuring children in the Cayman Islands are ocean literate by the age of 12.
“Education, whether it be formal or informal, is reliant upon continuously engaging people and updating them with the facts. CCMI provides support for both scientific research and education – helping to bridge the divide between these two pillars,” said Ms Pellow.
Fantasea of George Town Primary were 2013’s winners of the Little Cayman trip, closely followed in second place by Red Bay Primary, who were awarded a special expedition on the Nautilus guided by CCMI staff. There were also 14 Ocean Literacy scholarships given to students from Cayman Brac for a residential course in Little Cayman.
CCMI’s Young Environmental Leadership Course aims to introduce students to the role of the environment in our everyday lives, especially as a precious business commodity. Last year the pilot course gave six students the opportunity to learn directly from CCMI scientists and researchers at the Little Cayman Research Centre.
This year CCMI will extend scholarships to 11 students who will complete the two-week course, including work experience opportunities, an introduction to conservation in practice and dive training up to rescue diver level with the added option to enroll on the PADI Professional Development Course with GoPro for free.
Each year CCMI gives Sea Camp scholarships to local students and this year, 10 students will be awarded the chance to take part. The Caribbean Marine Ecology Camp gives 14- 18-year-olds the opportunity to benefit from lessons and frequent interaction with experts in marine ecology including resident graduate students and researchers. Divers and non-divers are accepted into the programme, but it is intended for students who have an interest and some experience in marine ecology and conservation. This programme is CCMI’s longest running education course.
“The further development of our scholarship programmes aims to provide access to the information we have by reaching all spheres of the local community, especially those younger generations who will have to pay greater attention to the marine environment in their lifetimes,” said Ms Pellow