A Little Cayman-based marine research center is upgrading its facilities and expanding its programs with the assistance of a US$40,000 grant from the Dart Foundation.
The Central Caribbean Marine Institute plans to use the money to upgrade classrooms and laboratories.
“This grant from the Dart Foundation enables us to improve facilities, expand research, and serve more students through educational programs at CCMI,” said President Carrie Manfrino.
“We are happy to aid the Little Cayman Research Centre, allowing our children to gain exposure to leading scientists and cutting-edge marine environmental discoveries,” said Ariane Dart, trustee of the Dart Foundation.
CCMI wants to ensure that every child is “ocean literate” by the time they are 12 years old, said Ms. Manfrino.
“Training future stewards of healthy marine environments is critical to protecting the future of coral reefs, and the reefs around Little Cayman are among the most pristine and resilient in the Caribbean,” she said.
“The coral reefs on Little Cayman have recovered since the global 1998 coral bleaching event, creating an extraordinary opportunity to understand reef resilience and share this knowledge with the world.”
The organization, which maintains year-round research and operational staff of 12, has outgrown its current space.
The Little Cayman Research Centre turns 10 years old next year, and the institute will continue to update and improve the facility, according to a press release from CCMI.
The institute’s residential programs include 18 education groups, including 10 Grade 6 groups from Grand Cayman, a Young Environmental Leadership Course for upper-level secondary school students, a week-long Caribbean Sea Camp, and six college groups who are in residence for between one and eight weeks, the release adds.