Environment TOBAGO Summer Eco-camp
Environment TOBAGO recently concluded its much anticipated Summer Eco-camp. Almost three years in the making, ET was finally able to hold the camp through sponsorship from the British High Commission and BHP Billiton.
The camp was held from the 18th –29th July at the Goodwood High School. In an effort to strengthen ties between primary schools in the surrounding areas and the high school, students from Belle Garden, Glamorgan, Goodwood, Mt. St. George, and Pembroke were encouraged to participate, as they were most likely become future students there.
Participation in the camp was free with thirty students registering for the two-week camp. Students participated in a number of activities including arts and crafts, presentations, films and games all aimed at promoting greater environmental awareness.
Environment TOBAGO's Greta Akili assists in making arts and crafts with camp participants
They learned about how recycling everyday products can help care for our environment, natural disaster preparedness and the importance of protecting our natural areas such as mangroves, coral reefs and rainforests.
The highlight of the two-week camp was of course the field trips to Petit Trou Lagoon, Buccoo Reef and the Main Ridge Rainforest. At Petit Trou students walked through a boardwalk and were able to see up close the vital role that wetlands play, such as homes for wildlife like birds and crabs and protection of our coastline from erosion.
Camp participants explore the Mangroves at Petit Trou Lagoon
The children were able to explore the Buccoo Reef and all its diverse wonders through a glass bottom boat and were amazed by the wide variety of colorful fish and unusual animals that call it home. A quick tour of the Bon Accord Lagoon and its mangroves was used to show the role it plays in protecting the reef by purifying contaminated water and providing a nursery for young fish….extremely important for our fisheries!
Exploring the wonders of Buccoo Reef through a glass bottom boat
At the Main Ridge Rainforests the kids were introduced to local wildlife like the blue-crowned mot-mot also known as ‘King of the Woods’, the unusual tail-less whip scorpion and the manicou crab, which carries its eggs and young around like a manicou. Participants were able to feel the cooling effect rainforests and their importance as the ‘lungs of the planet’.
Tour guide Peter Cox explains the importance of rainforests to camp participants
The beautiful Calico or "Owl" butterfly
A Manicou Crab. A top predator in the Tobago rainforests
At the end of the Eco-camp participants exhibited their arts and crafts at a graduation ceremony. A successful two weeks of fun and learning eventually had to come to an end. Many were sad to go and wished we would continue the camp until school reopened. However students were reassured when told that we would be running the camp again next summer and many promised to return for another two weeks of fun and learning.
A lot of hard work went into making the camp a success and ET would like to thank all those who helped make it so. The British High Commission and BHP Billiton. Eco-camp coordinator Thecla Harry and our camp counselors, Anton, Dillon, Shem, Sherese and Tashelle. Ms. Agnes Murray-Thomas and the staff at Goodwood High School. Ms. Lystra Wallace, Mr. Peter Cox, Mr. Clyde Alleyne, Ms. Hyacinth Armstrong and Johnson’s Reef Tours. Finally to our participants and their parents, thank you very much and hope to see you again next year.