Kids’ signs spruce up nature trail

Prospect Primary School students present the Turtle Farm's Geddes Hislop with new signs for the nature trail.

Students from Prospect Primary School recently offered up some artistic new additions to the Cayman Turtle Farm’s Blue Hole Nature Trail.

The students created brightly colored new signs for the different kinds of indigenous plants that can be seen along the trail in a project spearheaded by the Turtle Farm’s terrestrial exhibits curator, Geddes Hislop.

“The Blue Hole Nature Trail is part of the Terrestrial Exhibits at Cayman Turtle Farm: Island Wildlife Encounter, where many daily visitors take a five- to 10-minute stroll through a small Cayman woodlot, viewing birds, butterflies, orchids and other native plants,” said Mr. Hislop.

He explained that some of the trees along the trail had hand painted informative signs that had been created by a volunteer on pieces of driftwood some years ago.

“When the Terrestrial Exhibits department wanted to update the Nature Trail signs, it was decided that rather than ordering signs printed on plastic or metal, they preferred to use natural materials that better fit the ambiance of the trail,” he said, noting that bamboo was the material of choice because of its durability, and there is an abundance of bamboo driftwood available on some of the beaches on the south and north coasts.

“In 2015, the Terrestrial [Exhibits] staff approached John A. Cumber Primary, the neighborhood West Bay school, and offered the sign-painting proposal as an International Baccalaureate art project,” said Mr. Hislop.

“[We] provided the bamboo, paint and text for the signs. The project turned out very well, with the students doing research on bamboo, preparing and hand-painting the signs on the bamboo strips.”

He said about five weeks later the Turtle Farm was able to install 14 new signs.

“In 2016, part two of the project was to complete a set of 13 additional signs,” Mr. Hislop continued.

“This time, the project was offered to Prospect Primary School’s Crafty Club. In late May 2016, the signs were completed and I collected the colorful new signs from the Crafty Club, and gave an invitation to the proud students to visit the park for free entry to see their artwork on display at a natural outdoor gallery.”