Competition for Elementary Groups to Win Marine Ecology Course Trip

July 3, 2019

CCMI is excited to announce a scholarship competition, supported by the Boda Trust, enabling two winning groups from government schools to visit the Little Cayman Research Centre and participate in the Marine Ecology Course, 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 first-hand more about the oceans. Students learn lessons about 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. They take part in snorkeling outings, a beach clean-up, a scavenger hunt, and picnics and barbecues, while living and studying alongside research scientists.

A similar scholarship programme was run last year; the scholarships were awarded to West End Primary from Cayman Brac, and George Town Primary School on Grand Cayman (which was a cohort of students comprised of two separate applicant groups: one class and the science club). In evaluations given to the students, 100% of the students from West End Primary School that 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 mind by the end of the programme. 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. This allowed every student to have access to something new, exciting, and valuable during the course.” Ms. Casey Swaby, GTPS Teacher & CCMI MEC Chaperone

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. All interested classes, clubs and groups should submit a video, mural, song, or other creative presentation of why they should be selected to receive a free, all-expenses covered three-day Marine Ecology Course. The CCMI team encourages students and educators to start planning now and get creative, as winning selections will be shared on social media and CCMI’s website.

“We are excited to be able to share the Marine Ecology Course with even more students this year,” said CCMI Science and Education Manager Katie Correia. “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, 10th September. Submissions can be uploaded to Dropbox or sent via WeTransfer, with the link sent to education@reefresearch.org. CCMI judges will announce the winners on Friday, 13th September and arrange the trips with winning groups.

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