July 1, 2022

Cayman: Summer Schools Program starts with a Bang!

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Year 5 students from Grace Christian Academy  exploring the Central Mangrove Wetlands with Mangrove Rangers Cassie MacDowell (left) and Janique Bodden

The Mangrove Rangers are pleased to announce the continuation of their school programs over the upcoming summer term. “We are now ready to commence our remote and live in-class and live field trips over the coming months,” says Mangrove Education Project (MEP) Education Coordinator, Cassie MacDowell. “We will be focusing on the coastal lagoon ecosystems primarily on the integrated ecosystems of mangroves, seagrass and reefs.”


Year 5 students from Grace Christian Academy studying mangrove water samples for micro-organisms

For in-class remote programs the Rangers will deliver an “Activity Kit” to the school or arrange for them to be collected by a teacher or parent. The kits contain samples of different species of mangrove, water and peat, pipets, microscopes, slides, magnifying glasses, work sheets and booklets for the students to note their discoveries during their hands-on explorations. The students and their teachers are then walked through the different methods of observation and examination through on-screen instruction and interaction.


Cayman Girl Guides in remote pilot with remote hands-on live mangrove activities examining salt water extrusion from black mangrove leaves and roots . 

The pilot class in February was carried out with several Caymanian Girl Guides with Cassie and guide leader Louisa Sax, who also doubles as the National Trust Education Director.


Students from Montessori by the Sea planting mangroves in Prospect.

The class began with a PowerPoint which was shared on the screen and Cassie explained and described what each girl would find in their kits. “We set everything up and the girls began inspecting each piece of mangrove and their water samples while noting their findings on their work sheets,” she explained. “If anyone had a question they raised their hands or waived at the camera and we discussed their queries. A few girls had difficulties using the microscopes but were still able to participate using the magnifying glasses provided. 


Students from Montessori by the Sea planting mangroves in Prospect.

“Considering the virtual nature of the lesson and the complexity of using a microscope and dissecting plants I’d say the class went very well and all the participants gained new knowledge and appreciation of mangroves and their adaptations,” she continues. “At the end of the class we went around the group and showed our work sheets and findings, which each girl was able to complete.”


Students from Montessori by the Sea planting mangroves in Prospect with Mangrove Ranger Haileigh Farrington

The pilot was followed with classes of Year 4 students at West End Primary on Cayman Brac, this time with the addition of a field trip to the Brac’s mangroves led by Executive Ranger Martin Keeley. Water samples were collected and later observed through microscopic study.


Cayman Girl Guides in remote pilot with remote hands-on live mangrove activities examining salt water extrusion from black mangrove leaves and roots . 

Further programs were carried out with Year 5s from Grace Christian Primary School, John A Cumber Primary in West Bay and a mini restoration project in Prospect with elementary school students from Montessori by the Sea. This is a long-term project at the home of Mr. Tim Furey and will involve monitoring and evaluation as the species survives and enables Mr. Furey to protect his beach from storm-based erosion. It involved Rangers Haileigh Farrington, Janique Bodden, Ileann Power and Nikolaus Foster 


Year 5 students from Grace Christian Academy studying mangrove water samples for micro-organisms

During the summer term there are several time slots for either remote or live coastal lagoon programs which are specifically curriculum-linked. For details contact Haileigh Farrington, Cassie MacDowell or Martin Keeley at: [email protected]

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