With a commitment to protecting the Caribbean’s breathtaking natural resources and the unique ecosystems that support their health, the Sandals Foundation engaged schools across Antigua in commemoration of World Oceans Day to help students develop an appreciation for the biodiversity of the aquatic space.
With the use of marine-focused worksheets, story books and other fun learning materials, grade three students from the Villa, Greenbay and Cedar Grove Primary Schools journeyed to Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and were engaged on a cross section of topics including plastic pollution, overfishing, marine sanctuary management, as well as biodiversity and coral health and function.
“Environmental education is a big part of what we do at the Sandals Foundation because informed people can make better decisions,” said Georgia Scarlett, the Sandals Foundation’s Environmental Projects Coordinator.
“In keeping with this year’s theme for World Oceans Day which speaks to the need for us to conserve our wonderful marine resources for future generation it was important for us to engage children across the region through environmental education sessions. By empowering children to take action for environmental protection, we are creating a strong platform for the sustained protection of our region’s natural resources,” she added.
Julia James, teacher at Greenbay Primary School was elated to have the Sandals Foundation Ambassadors engage students in this manner.
“It was very interactive and refreshing for the students. The awareness and educational value that came of the session was more than what I initially expected. The facilitator really encapsulated the message and importance of our marine spaces – the importance of them and how we should protect them. I was truly impressed with this session and I honestly think this experience of bringing the students outside of the traditional classroom setting for learning should be something that the Foundation continues to strive for as my students were thoroughly focused and engaged.”
For 9-year-old Shadrah Modeste the day’s session was enlightening as he said, “I am happy my school was invited to be a part of this session. I was able to learn about the coral reefs and how to protect it and what can happen if we don’t save our reefs. I also really enjoyed the reading and comprehension activity and that some of us kids won prizes for participating.
Training and Development Manager Carlene Spencer and avid Sandals Foundation Ambassador described the day’s proceedings as a success noting, “As a former educator, I was very excited at facilitate the session with the students. They were engaging and understood exactly what was being presented to them. During the question and answer segments the students shared passionately on how they can protect our reefs and the importance of them for the environment. What resonated in my opinion with the students was the fact that they can create a change just by playing their part in information sharing and getting involved in groups that support a cause.”
Over the years, the Sandals Foundation has led and supported numerous initiatives geared towards increasing environmental education in schools and communities across the region.
Together with partners – Environment Awareness Group (EAG) the philanthropic organsiation has continuously supported connecting students with their outdoors through the EAG’s Floating Classroom field trips. The activity provides a one-of-a-kind experience to students in Antigua and Barbuda to explore the wonders of wetlands and terrestrial wildlife.
Similar World Oceans Day activities were held across the islands of The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, Jamaica, Antigua, Saint Lucia, and Grenada, by teams of Sandals Foundation Ambassadors.