Fifty students from government primary schools have been awarded Ocean Literacy Scholarships by the Central Caribbean Marine Institute as a result of winning their “One Ocean, One Planet” competition.
The competition, held earlier this year, invited students to submit visual and written pieces explaining why the underwater environment is crucial for the Cayman Islands and its tourism product.
George Town Primary won first place in the competition. As a result, 25 Year 5 students travelled to Little Cayman where they spent two days and two nights at the Little Cayman Research Centre.
While they were there, students snorkelled over seagrass beds and coral reefs – a first for many of them – and learned to identify fish and coral. They also learned about Cayman’s cultural history, terrestrial conservation and had a close encounter with rock iguanas. Throughout their stay, they were taught about the threats to the natural environment and protection measures.
The second prize went to Red Bay Primary School. Twenty-five Year 5 students were joined by CCMI staff on the Nautilus semi-submersible boat for a tour of the harbour in George Town. An underwater learning adventure, the tour took students over the Wreck of the Cali, the Balboa and Cheeseburger reef, where they were able to identify fish, stingrays, jellyfish and turtles.
CCMI’s “One Ocean, One Planet” competition, which has been sponsored by KPMG for the past five years with Cayman National Bank and the Department of Tourism also being partners, enables the marine research, education and conservation organisation to teach young students about the environment.