Earth Day is April 22 but Earth Month starts April 1, and there are plenty of opportunities this month to celebrate Mother Nature in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
The National Trust is inviting companies to host a dress down day on any Friday in April. Earth Day T-shirts to be worn on the dress down days can be purchased from the National Trust. Proceeds from T-shirt purchases will help the National Trust achieve its mission to preserve and protect Cayman’s unique national and historic heritage. T-shirts are $15 for adult sizes and $10 for kids sizes.
On April 14, the National Trust is hosting a volunteer meet-up and training session from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Prospective, new and old volunteers will be updated about the Trust’s recent work and informed about current and upcoming volunteer opportunities. Refreshments will be provided. Those interested in attending can RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Trust is looking for volunteers to assist with its booth at the Farmer’s Market in Camana Bay on Wednesday, April 20 from noon to 8 p.m. The Trust will be selling T-shirts and asking for Earth Day donations at the booth.
The Trust is also hoping to get 300 volunteers to participate in its “Earth Day Blitz” on Friday, April 22 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Volunteers at 50 locations from West Bay to Bodden Town will hold Earth Day banners and signs to remind commuters of the importance of the internationally celebrated day. Volunteers are asked to do two-hour shifts, though there are a limited number of one-hour shifts available for those who want to assist over their lunch hour.
‘Back to Nature’
On Sunday, April 24, the Trust is hosting an Earth Day event at the Botanic Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Families are invited to get “Back to Nature” by spending an afternoon outdoors. The event will include a plant sale, free guided nature tours, free guided Blue Iguana behind-the-scenes tours, and other educational and fun activities for all ages.
Cayman Brac begins its Earth Month celebrations on Saturday, April 2. The public is invited to attend a beach clean-up at the public beach from 7:30 to 9 a.m. The event is hosted by the Grassroots Recycling and Environmental Enhancement Network (GREEN) Team and Harmony Learning Center.
The GREEN Team’s Kathleen Bodden-Harris said the public beach is the “most used and abused marine park on the island.”
“This is a beautiful area provided for both locals and tourists alike,” Ms. Bodden-Harris said. “Unfortunately, it’s also a local haunt for late-night, after-party-goers, and campers that leave the beach and surrounding facilities strewn with litter and debris.”
She said fishing tournaments also bring in a “bumper crop of beach trash” such as bait packaging, plastic ice bags and discarded fishing line and tackle.
“Also, it is right at the start of turtle nesting season where Turtle Patrol will be vigilant for nesting moms,” Ms. Bodden-Harris said. “The trash on the beach can become a hindrance to their nest searching and if it ends up back in the sea, it could either be digested by the hungry turtles or entangle them.”
On Tuesday, April 5, at 11 a.m., the Cayman Brac Shore Divers Association will be meeting at Scott’s Dock for an underwater clean-up. Shore clean-up assistance is also needed, for those who are not divers.
On Saturday, April 9, at 6 p.m., Martin Keeley of UCCI will host a lecture on the topic of mangroves at the southwest end of the island.
“This site is chosen for the wetland area and large bird sanctuary on the outskirts of the airport,” Ms. Bodden-Harris said. “A recycling bin or vehicle will be provided for those attending the talk as a receptacle for telephone books. Those attending should bring mosquito repellent and a chair.”
There will be a lionfish cull on Tuesday, April 12, at 4 p.m., hosted by Scuba Shack and Reef Divers, and on Saturday, April 16, there will be a “Recycle Party” at Captain’s Table at 7 p.m. The event will include lionfish specials – featuring donated catch from Tuesday’s cull – and a costume contest featuring costumes made out of recycled materials.
Ms. Bodden-Harris said the event will be a good opportunity to bring old telephone directories for recycling.
Cayman Brac schools are getting involved in the month, and students will be planting trees at their schools and at the Community Park in West End on April 21. Afterward, Jessica Harvey from the Department of Environment will give an “Iguana Talk and Walk” to explain and show nesting habits and habitats of the native Brac Rock iguanas.
Schools will be encouraging students to bring telephone books to recycle as well, and there will be a pizza party for the class bringing in the most books.
The CBDC National Trust is hosting a “Dinner in the Dark” potluck on Saturday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Lighthouse. Iced tea will be served, and there will be telescopes for star-gazing, as well as a lecture on native nocturnal animals.
“A full moon will be rising, so, prior to that we’ll be able to appreciate the darkness of Cayman Brac just before a glorious moonrise,” Ms. Bodden-Harris said. “A map of the lunar surface will be available to allow identification of the moon’s features. If you have a telescope, you are encouraged to bring it to share the wondrous sights.”
The final event of Earth Month on the Brac will take place on Saturday, April 30, at 6 p.m. at Public Beach. The Department of Environmental Health will host a “Trash Talk” on the topic of “Is it Garbage Really?,” about purposeful recycling.
Afterward there will be a labyrinth walk with a sacred water ceremony to close Earth Month and to show appreciation to the natural side of Cayman Brac.
Ms. Bodden-Harris said, “We’d like to see the whole island, residents and visitors attend all or as many as possible, so mark your calendars and make your plans to participate. Remember, be part of the solution … not part of the pollution.”