Earth Month, marked annually in April, includes Earth Day on April 22. Activities are designed to encourage participants to appreciate and help our beautiful surroundings.
In addition to activities island-wide, hosted by the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, the Earth Month Committee at CITA is encouraging people to carpool, take the bus or bicycle to reduce their carbon footprint, visit local environmental sites, such as the Mastic Reserve and Trail and Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, and contribute to environmental initiatives.
Monitoring our environment
On Saturday, Reef Watch gets under way. Volunteers help provide an annual snapshot of Cayman’s reefs. Both snorkelers and divers can help the Department of Environment by taking a waterproof Reef Watch survey into the water and counting the number and types of coral, fish, etc., that they come across.
Free dives for those participating in Reef Watch are available through Divetech at the Kittiwake and Divers Down at the wreck of the Balboa, and Don Fosters is offering a two-tank dive for $25 for participants. Another tallying event is Cruising for Coral, a Central Caribbean Marine Institute event Friday and Saturday, when dive volunteers are asked to identify Staghorn colonies around Grand Cayman.
For those who would rather keep their feet on land and their eyes to the sky, the National Trust is holding a viewing party with the Astronomy Society at UCCI’s Dr. William Hrudey Observatory on Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. This will give viewers the opportunity to see Saturn and Mars and also hear about the worldwide Dark Skies Initiative.
From farm to fork
On April 12, Camana Bay hosts a slow food day, including a farmers market and cooking demonstrations, all showcasing locally grown food. In the evening, there will be an al fresco dinner on the waterfront crescent. The day’s activities encourage the consumption of local fare in order to decrease the carbon footprint that accompanies mass imports and to support local growers.
Beach and reef cleanups
CITA beach cleanups are scheduled for April 26 at Barkers and from the Turtle Nest Inn in Bodden Town. The Chamber of Commerce Roadside Cleanup is the same day. Residents can enjoy 50 percent off entry to the Cayman Islands Turtle Farm on the day, while Roadside Cleanup participants can enter for free if they are wearing the official T-shirts of the event.
Divetech is offering free tanks and weights for CITA reef cleanups from Cobalt Coast and Lighthouse Point on April 27, as well as prizes on the day, while Don Fosters is offering the same for CITA Reef Cleanup volunteers shore diving from Don Fosters.
Another diving-related event linked with Divetech on April 12, will be the sinking of the Guardian of the Reef, a bronze statue created by Simon Morris, which will sit off Northwest Point. Part of the proceeds collected by future dives to see the statue will be donated to conservation work. Dive Tech and CITA will also continue their conservation efforts with a lionfish cull dive on April 19.
For more information, visit www.cita.ky. If you wish to help with a Reef Watch survey, contact John Bothwell at [email protected] to get a waterproof survey. For reservations to the viewing at the UCCI observatory, contact [email protected]