Updated: Apr 25
This summer we held the 2018 Coral Conservation Corps at The Buccaneer Resort. Twelve junior high students participated in our 2-week program to learn about coral reef biology and marine life. This program combined marine lectures, labs, and games in the Beach Meeting Room, and snorkel trips at coastal beaches. Our new location harbored a dynamic habitat that gave students a lively experience underwater.
At Grotto Beach, students practiced snorkeling, identifying marine fish and coral species along the shore wall. We then took our first snorkel trip to Southgate Coastal Reserve – a busy traffic beach and nesting beach where students learned about wildlife threats, as well as SEA’s community outreach and conservation. Many students experienced their first snorkel here, and learned about the habitat and protection of seagrass beds.
While learning about coastal protection, our stewards did a kayak tour with Bush Tribe at Salt River Bay. They learned about the biology and habitats of mangrove forests, and their role in protecting coral reefs and improving water quality for marine life. After the excursion, we used both our hands and feet to seine with Dr. Cole from DPNR. This required team effort and support to do an aquatic survey in the Salt River Bay. Between two successful attempts, we caught juvenile fish, blue crabs and pufferfish!
The highlight of the program was a lion fish dissection. Each student got to dissect their own specimen and make jewelry with lion fish fins. We took a day to explore Frederiksted’s coast, going on our first sailing and snorkeling trip with Lyric Sail. Our students really enjoyed this trip!
Our last week wrapped up on an activity and presentation on coral reef restoration by The Nature Conservancy (TNC). Local coral expert, Lisa Terry, led us on a guided tour to TNC’s coral nursery at Cane Bay. Students saw a real community effort approach on coral reef restoration and coral reef awareness.
We spent our last day at Buck Island with Caribbean Sea Adventures, along the protected reef gardens and marine life. Back at The Buccaneer, each student then presented what they learned in the program, and received a certificate and a one-year youth membership with SEA.