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CUC and “Marvellous Mangroves” celebrate 20 years together

Year 5 students from Sir John A Cumber Primary School
and the salt taste test for black mangrove leaves.

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. This programme  teaches Cayman’s students about the function and value of its mangrove ecosystems.

Mangrove Ranger Chaiz Frederick and Year 5 students from the
Edna Moyle Primary School in North Side

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 programme.

During this time Mr. Keeley explains that the programme has not only relied on the 

Mangrove Ranger Cassie McDowell and Year 2 students from Cayman International Schoo

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.

“It was great that CUC joined us earlier this year on a scheduled programme with both Year 5 and Year 3 classes from Sir John A. Cumber Primary School,” Mr. Keeley adds, “It has been part of CUC’s mandate to help support environmental programmes 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.”

ear 5 students from Sir John A. Cumber Primary School study seagrass at the Central Mangroves
Wetlands through the netting on board the Red Bay Sports catamaran.

Commenting on the programme, Pat Bynoe-Clarke, CUC’s Manager Corporate Communications, added, “Recognising the value of environmental awareness and protecting the environment has always been one of the Company’s strategic initiatives. In 2000, CUC partnered with Mr. Keeley to introduce the Marvellous Mangroves Programme to primary school students so that they could learn the importance mangroves play in the Cayman Islands’ ecosystem. It has been an exciting and educational journey for the Company and we will continue to support worthy causes such as this.”

Mike Nelson of Sea Elements introduces the Upside-down Jellyfish to Year 5 students
from the Red Bay Primary School field trip.

In the past year Mr. Keeley 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 Programme. This will shortly be combined with the soon-to-be-introduced Coastal Lagoon Ecosystem Teachers Resources linking mangroves to seagrass and reefs.

Rangers (right) Cassie McDowell and Chaiz le Frederick with Year 5 at Savannah Primary and many mangroves!

*See video:

Teachers can book the programmes by contacting Haileigh Farrington at: [email protected] or [email protected] or 927-5871.

Photos: Martin Keeley and Catherine Childs.


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