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New student project to restore mangroves in the Caribbean

photo-1_1By Living Oceans Foundation – Liz Rauer From The Bahamas Weekly

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) is launching a new initiative to support mangrove education and restoration in the Caribbean. In 2014, the Foundation brought mangrove education to secondary schools in Jamaica through their Jamaican Awareness of Mangroves in Nature (J.A.M.I.N.) Program, now they’re doing the same in The Bahamas with the new Bahamian Awareness of Mangroves (B.A.M.) Program. These programs provide classrooms with lesson plans and classroom activities as well as funding and support to take students on field trips to mangrove forests. The students get the opportunity to experience the mangrove ecosystem first-hand and help restore it. During the project, students grow mangrove propagules in their classroom that they will study and plant in a local mangrove forest at the end of the school year.

photo-2_2This week, Amy Heemsoth, the Director of Education at KSLOF is educating students, conducting teacher trainings, and leading field trips into mangrove forests to connect students with nature in The Bahamas, and next week she’ll do the same in Jamaica. She hopes that “students who participate in the project will take ownership of the mangroves in their country and that they will be inspired and empowered to preserve them, even after the project is complete.”

In each country, the Foundation collaborates with local science and conservation organizations to bring mangrove education into classrooms. KSLOF continues to work with the University of the West Indies Discovery Bay Marine Lab (DBML) on the J.A.M.I.N. project at Holland and William Knibb high schools in Jamaica. In the Bahamas, KSLOF is working with Friends of the Environment (FRIENDS) to establish B.A.M., which will bring mangrove curriculum to students at Abaco Central High School and Forest Heights Academy. Kristin Cartwright, the Executive Director of FRIENDS, says that they are “so excited to partner with KSLOF to implement the B.A.M. project and hope to inspire our students to become proud custodians of one of our country’s most valuable ecosystems.”

These mangrove education and restoration programs help reverse the decline of mangrove forests by educating students and teachers about the ecological importance of mangrove forests and inspiring a new generation of conservation leaders.

About the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation:

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation provides science-based solutions to protect and restore ocean health. As part of its commitment to Science Without Borders®, Living Oceans Foundation provides data and information to organizations, governments, scientists, and local communities so that they can use knowledge to work toward sustainable ocean protection.

More Information:

University of the West Indies Discovery Bay Marine Lab
Friends of the Environment

IMAGES: Photo credit: Amy Heemsoth/Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation

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