Primary students can win field trip to CCMI

| 02/07/2019
CNS Local Life
Primary students get up close with a turtle at CCMI marine ecology course

(CNS Local Life): The Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) is holding a scholarship competition which will enable two winning groups from government primary schools to attend the marine ecology course at the Little Cayman Research Centre, with all expenses paid. Since 2009, more than 800 primary school students across the Cayman Islands have participated in this immersive three-day, two-night field trip to Little Cayman.

Course participants live at the CCMI research centre and learn firsthand about the oceans, with lessons on coral reef ecology, fish and coral identification, ecosystem services of mangroves, marine debris and plastic pollution, sustainable fishing management, invasive lionfish, and the importance of herbivorous fish.

The students will also take part in snorkelling outings, a beach clean-up, a scavenger hunt, and picnics and barbecues, while living and studying alongside research scientists, according to a CCMI press release. The scholarships are supported by the Boda Trust.

Last year, under a similar programme, students participated in the course from West End Primary on Cayman Brac, and George Town Primary School (GTPS) on Grand Cayman (which was a cohort of students comprising two applicant groups: one class and the science club). In evaluations filled out by the students, 100% of the participants from West End Primary School who selected that they did not want to/did not care about picking up trash off the beach at the beginning of the programme had changed their minds by the end of the course, CCMI said. In addition, 100% of students from both schools said they learnt something new about the ocean or environment.

“The course material was pitched to the students’ learning level, making them very age appropriate and keeping students engaged,” noted GTPS teacher Casey Swaby, who has chaperoned young people attending the programme. “This allowed every student to have access to something new, exciting, and valuable during the course.”

To determine which classes are selected, CCMI is running a contest starting when schools reopen for the fall semester in August, inviting classes and clubs from years 5 and 6 at the government schools to participate. To enter the contest, those interested should submit a video, mural, song, or other creative presentation of why they should be selected to receive the scholarship to attend the course.

CCMI said in the press release that it encourages students and educators to start planning now and get creative, as winning selections will be shared on social media and the institute’s website.

“We are excited to be able to share the marine ecology course with even more students this year,” said Katie Correia, CCMI science and education manager. “The course can be transformative for many students, as they learn about and explore the marine world at their doorstep. The scholarships enabled by the Boda Trust make this experience accessible to students and groups in government schools, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.”

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, 10 September. Submissions can be uploaded to Dropbox or sent via WeTransfer, with the link sent to CCMI judges will announce the winners on Friday, 13 September and arrange the trips with winning groups.

For further details about the marine ecology course, go to the CCMI website

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Category: Environment, Local News, Marine Environment, Primary School, Schools

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