November 27, 2021

Cayman: The Ranger Review

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In this newsletter:

~It’s time to say bon voyage to Dinara and say hello to new lead ranger Haileigh!~

~10 new rangers are introduced to Cayman’s mangrove ecosystems via a workshop run by the Mangrove Education Project.~

~Junior Rangers take a journey to the roots of the sea on a Halloween snorkel trip.~

~The Cayman Mangrove Festival had more than 30 students contribute their mangrove-inspired art to Cayman’s July Mangrove Festival in celebration of World Mangrove Week.~

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Dinara passes on the baton to new Lead Ranger Haileigh

It’s time to say bon voyage to our peerless Ranger – Dinara Perera (left in photo) who is now in the UK to continue her degree at Leeds University. Dinara’s skills have helped steer the Rangers to a super successful year. Filling her HUGE shoes is Haileigh Farrington, pictured here sharing files and knowledge with Dinara.

Dinara presented (remotely) at the pre-COP 26 Youth Forum in late September and is planning to attend the COP 26 to be held in Glasgow in November. To watch her presentation, click here.

Haileigh has already taken the lead in several projects, and with 3 years working in teaching looks well set to participate in the teaching programs on Cayman’s coastal lagoon ecosystems. She is also heading up the Junior Mangrove Ranger program.

We wish them both the very best – Dinara with her studies and Haileigh filling those very large shoes.

New Mangrove Rangers
With the departure of several Rangers back to college, the Mangrove Education Project (MEP) – under whose auspices the Rangers operate – ran a workshop in September to introduce Cayman’s mangrove ecosystems to 10 new Rangers.

Held at ICCI, the workshop featured presentations from Lead Ranger Dinara Perera who provided a great overview of the Rangers accomplishments in the past year; Catherine Childs, Environmental Programmes Manager for the National Trust, who focused on climate change and the carbon sequestration capabilities of mangroves; Wendy Johnson, Manager of the Environmental Management Unit for Dept. of Environment, gave an overview of the Mangrove Species Conservation Law and threats to mangroves in Cayman; and Martin Keeley, Executive Director of MEP, provided an overview of the MEP’s educational and advocacy work in protecting mangroves worldwide and especially in Cayman. 

The classroom activities were followed up by an early morning next day visit to the Central Mangroves, although the heat and mosquitoes were a challenge! 

The new Rangers have since been working with veteran Rangers on the Epicollect 5 data collection system to monitor mangrove clearing and the application of the new Mangrove Species Conservation Law.As education through MEP’s Coastal Education Resources program is a critical part of MEP’s mission, several of the Rangers have helped in the delivery of classroom and field trip education lessons. 

The new Rangers who are joining the veterans are: Brandon Wint, Louisa Sax, Cassandra MacDowell, Jody Syms, Alex Goulden, Nipunika Perera, Pat Bourque,Helen O’Sullivan, Janique Bodden, Valentine Bustos.

Left picture: The new Mangrove Ranger class

Right picture: Lead Ranger Dinara Perera reports on the activities of the Rangers.

Left picture: New Rangers explore the Central Mangroves

Right picture: Rangers Brandon Wint and Hayleigh Farrington (centre) photographed by Kayla Young recording the destruction on the Epicollect 5 data system at the Selkirk Road illegal clearing.

Halloween Snorkel Trip: Journey to the Roots of the Sea
On October 30th the Junior Rangers got to spend their Halloween with the Senior Rangers exploring the amazing and scary critters which live in the red mangrove roots of Cayman’s Central Mangroves Wetlands.

Here are some of the day’s highlights.

Upsidedown Jellyfish: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz8ZpKQEmDo

Cassiopeia in Grand Cayman’s Central Mangroves: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Iv-hB1PNU

Cayman Mangrove Festival
The Cayman Mangrove Festival attracted more than 200 attendees to George Town’s Parcel 110 on Saturday in celebration of the islands’ wetlands. 

Over 30 students from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, alongside 10 invited artists, contributed their mangrove-inspired art to the event, which was hosted by the Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers. 

‘Stoakd’ artists Marc and Pamela Laurenson provided free workshops on eco-art using recycled materials, and Miss Cayman Islands Universe, Mariah Tibbetts, joined the afternoon’s mangrove fashion show. 

After a challenging and competitive selection process, the Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers have chosen the winners of the first Cayman Mangrove Festival Student Art Show, hosted 22 July at George Town’s Parcel 110. 

More than 30 students from Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac, alongside 10 invited artists, contributed their mangrove-inspired art to the inaugural event, aimed at raising awareness and education about the islands’ wetlands. 

Students were tasked with creating art of any style of their choosing on the environmental, cultural or economic value of Cayman’s mangroves. The prompt inspired a diverse range of submissions, including painting, sculpture, knitting and fashion. 

The winning pieces from the student art show will be used to design a 2022 Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers calendar, which will raise funds to support the nonprofit organisation’s goal of promoting mangrove education and conservation. 

The charity event raised hundreds of dollars in support of the Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers through donations, art sales and workshop partnerships with STOAK’D and Art Nest Creative Studio.“We are so happy that the first Cayman Mangrove Festival was a success,” said Dinara Perera, lead Mangrove Ranger and event organiser. “The artworks from our student and invited artists were all amazing and we hope that this experience will help to pave the way for a cultural shift in Cayman about the importance of our mangroves. 

“A special thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who made the event such a success,” she added.

Want to learn more about the festival?

Click on the links below!

Cayman Mangrove Festival honours islands’ wetlands

 Art Show Winners from the Cayman Mangrove Festival

CUC and Marvellous Mangrove celebrate

20 years together

The highly successful partnership between CUC and the Mangrove Education Project’s Marvellous Mangroves Year 5 curriculum is celebrating over 20 years of working together to teach Cayman’s students about the function and value of its mangrove ecosystems.

Executive Director of the Mangrove Education Project, Martin Keeley, estimates that over 15,000 students and more than 200 teachers have experienced the wonders of Cayman’s mangrove forests in the past 20 years. This number also includes many Year 3 classes which have also experienced the program.

During this time Mr. Keeley explains that the program has not only relied on the financial support of CUC but also the classroom and logistical support of the National Trust, the Department of Education, Sea Elements and, of course, the many teachers of Cayman’s primary schools.

In the past year he has been joined by several of the recently formed Cayman Islands Mangrove Rangers – several of whom have a teaching background and will be taking over several aspects of running the hands-on science Marvellous Mangroves program. This will shortly combine with the soon-to-be-introduced Coastal Lagoon Ecosystem Teachers Resources linking mangroves to seagrass and reefs.

“It was great that CUC joined us earlier this year on a scheduled program with both Year 5 and Year 3 classes from John A Cumber Primary School*,” Mr. Keeley adds, “It has been part of CUC’s mandate to help support environmental programs and it is obvious that they are in this for the long run as we continue to learn about the true value of our mangrove ecosystems and efforts to protect and conserve them.”

Click the link below to see MEP’s Marvellous Mangroves in action!

CUC Mangroves & Wetlands Tour 2021

If you’re a teacher interested in the Marvellous Mangroves, contact lead ranger Haileigh Farrington.

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

Tel: 345-927-5871.

Photo Credits: Martin Keeley and Catherine Childs
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