Providenciales, TCI, February 8, 2017 – The Turks and Caicos Islands hosted a very successful World Wetlands Day! The Department of Environment & Coastal Resources and the Department of Disaster Management & Emergencies successfully collaborated with a number of partners to bring awareness to the importance of our wetlands and the mangroves that reside within them.
On February 2nd Clement Howell High School’s Eco club brought along a willingness to get their hands dirty in order to assist with conservation efforts at one of Provo’s most important wetland sites, Wheeland Pond. They cleaned up the area, collecting 20 full bags of trash within an hour. “I like to be outside, I like to be in nature. I love to see what is going on around us and nature,” said Eco Club member, Wadson Charles.
On Friday 3rd, students of the British West Indies Collegiate’s Reef Action Team (RATs) partnered with the DECR, Amanyara, the Turks & Caicos Reef Fund and Big Blue Unlimited to establish a Mangrove Restoration Project at Mangrove Cay. This area is adjacent to a busy boat channel and an ecological mecca for kayakers and paddle boarders on a daily basis. Boundary buoys demarcate the restoration site, where students planted red mangrove seedlings (or propagules).
Activities culminated with planned clean-ups and mangrove plantings on Providenciales, Grand Turk, South Caicos and Salt Cay, on Saturday, February 4th. The successes of these clean-ups should be attributed to all those that showed up in the name of conservation, as well as the School for Field Studies, and the Marine and Coastal Ecology Research Centre. “We need to cherish the natural mechanisms that builds our resistance to natural hazards,” said Dr Virginia Clerveaux, Director of Disaster Management & Emergencies.
“The DECR was delighted by the enthusiasm of the students, by their willingness to assist with our on-going conservation efforts in the various areas. They demonstrated stewardship in an area that is often taken for granted and neglected and hopefully this would encourage the rest of the community to do the same!” said DECRs Environmental Outreach Coordinator, Amy Avenant, about Saturday’s clean up at Wheeland Pond on Provo.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February, and day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.