Environment TOBAGO led Generation YES (Youth Encouraging Sustainability), a recently formed youth group, on a field trip to two of Tobago’s wetlands to celebrate World Wetlands Day on Wednesday 2nd February. (To see reports on World Wetlands Day activities around the world, including this one, check out the RAMSAR website.) Sixteen members of Generation YES visited Kilgwyn Swamp and Buccoo Marsh with Nicole Leotaud (ET Education Coordinator), Greta Akili (ET Director), and Jerry Kalloo (ET member and volunteer with the education programme).
This trip was part of ET’s commitment to encouraging youth to take an active role in environmental conservation in Tobago.
The field trip exposed the youth to the unique ecology and rich biodiversity of wetlands, as well as some of the key issues threatening wetlands in Tobago today. These include clearing for development (especially for large-scale resort hotels), pollution from sewage coming from malfunctioning sewage plants, widespread illegal dumping of garbage, and sand mining.
Generation YES showed fantastic enthusiasm for and interest in learning more about wetlands, energetically tackling mud and mangrove forest in their quest. At the end of the day, the group got together and brainstormed some of the ways in which they could help promote wetland conservation, including teaching other youth and younger children about the importance of wetlands. Everyone on the trip learnt something new about wetlands and about working together in a team to conserve the environment.
ET and Generation YES would like to thank Sanctuary Villas & Resort for sponsoring transportation for the trip. Corporate sponsorship such as this continues to play a vital role in ET’s environmental education programmes.
ET is also helping Generation YES conduct strategic planning to identify how they can volunteer on projects for youth education and empowerment, youth health, and environmental conservation. Persons interested in getting involved with Generation YES should contact Shamfa Cudjoe (President) at 639-0766 or call Nicole Leotaud (ET Education Coordinator) at 660-7462.
Photograph: Generation YES explores the tranquil mangrove forest at Buccoo to study the unique ecology and value of this coastal ecosystem with Jerry Kalloo (left), Nicole Leotaud (second from right), and Greta Akili (behind camera).