Talk sheds light on mangroves

Local mangrove expert Martin Keeley held a talk as part of Earth Month activities on the Brac.

A hands-on presentation on the local mangrove population was one of the latest events taking place on Cayman Brac marking Earth Month.

Organizers report a small but intimate crowd took part in an informative evening on Saturday, April 9, learning about the fascinating plants with local mangrove expert Martin Keeley. In addition to his position as director of the University College of the Cayman Islands’ Brac campus, Mr. Keeley is the international education director for the Mangrove Action Project, a global conservation network dedicated to protecting the Earth’s mangroves.

Mr. Martin’s talk, covered the importance of mangroves to the Brac, as well as the ecological role they play in the world at large.

“He fist talked about the three types (red, white and black) found on the islands and on the Brac specifically,” said Brac Earth Month events coordinator Kathleen Bodden-Harris. She said that after going over the importance of mangrove preservation for all the life forms relying on coastal wetlands, Mr. Keeley walked the group a short distance along the roadside to examine one of the only two known black mangrove trees known to exist on the Brac.

“The evening was also a perfect opportunity to watch the local and migrating birds attracted to the mangroves in the beautiful sunset venue at the westerly ponds,” added Ms. Bodden-Harris.

The event also served as a kickoff for the Brac’s old phone directory recycling drive. The phone books are being collected by the Department of Environmental Health, and the next opportunity for residents to drop off their old books for collection will be on April 16, at the Earth Week recycling-themed costume party at the Captain’s Table restaurant.

Leading up to the party, other Earth Week plans were set to include a joint lionfish cull by Brac Scuba Shack and Reef Divers on Tuesday, weather permitting. Fish captured at the cull will be served at the recycling party’s lionfish fry.

“If you’ve never tasted the menacing species, the one good thing that can be said about them is how tasty they are,” said Ms. Bodden-Harris. “This will be your chance to try the delicacy.”

On Thursday, April 21, local schools will be marking Earth Month with tree plantings at West End Community Park. Along with Brac students, all local residents and visitors are welcome to attend an informational outing led by Jessica Harvey, who is scheduled to give a Brac Rock Iguana Talk and Walk, which includes a visit to nesting sites.

Earth Month celebrations will wrap up with a pot luck “Dinner in the Dark” organized by the Brac committee for the Cayman Islands National Trust on April 23, starting at 6 p.m., followed by a “Trash Talk and Labyrinth Walk” at the public beach, hosted by Department of Environmental Health’s Mark Rowland from Grand Cayman. Mr. Rowland is scheduled to give a presentation called “Is it Really Trash?”

“This will also be the last opportunity to bring your old telephone directories for recycling,” said Ms. Bodden-Harris.

“Interested participants will also have the chance to sign up for Turtle Patrol, and everyone can then walk a labyrinth with the intention of healing our ailing environment on Cayman Brac and the world over,” she said.

“Thanks to all who have participated so far, we hope everyone else will be able to attend the rest of the events.”

For more information on all the Brac Earth Month events, call 916-3960.