MARINE ECOLOGY COURSE

Scholarship-Winning Video Submission

CCMI’s 3-day Marine Ecology Courses are open to both primary and secondary schools in the Cayman Islands. The team at CCMI tailor course content to complement the curriculum and make the most of the student’s time with CCMI. The course introduces students to tropical marine biology, ecology and conservation at one of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs. CCMI’s aim is to change students’ attitudes and behaviors about the ocean whilst having fun exploring Little Cayman. Activities typically include snorkeling, species identification, beach cleanup, field trip to the National Trust Booby Pond, guided iguana tour, lionfish dissections and a range of interactive classes.

Homeschool & Half-Term Break MEC (open to enrolment now)

Dates: 25th – 27th October 
Age Group: 13–17-year-olds Homeschool and students on October half-term break
Cost: CI $375  (Cost includes accommodation, 3 meal/day, instructor fees, local airport transportation) 

In 2022, CCMI is holding a MEC session aimed at homeschool students that is also open to students on their October half-term break.

Scholarship-Funded MEC (BODA Charitable Star Trust)

Thanks to the BODA Charitable Star Trust, CCMI is able to award two classes or after school clubs from government primary schools in Cayman full scholarships to support the entire experience, airfare included. Classes or clubs from years 5 and 6 are invited to apply. Since 2017, CCMI has been able to support circa 50 students and their teachers/chaperones every year due to the support of the BODA Charitable Star Trust. To determine which two classes are selected, CCMI requests educators complete a brief application located HERE. We have, over the years, received a range of excellent entries including persuasive letters, interactive presentations, class beach cleans, artwork and much more! A winning example (posted on this page and on CCMI’s YouTube channel) from 2021 was a video in which students from West End Primary School performed a song which they composed about CCMI. The 2022 scholarship application deadline has now closed. Further programme information and scholarship application form are available HERE.

“I’m always impressed with the level of engagement of students at all learning levels and the way the presenters improve the content and activities each year.”
Karlene Buckle, Cayman Prep Grade 6 Teacher, Cayman Islands

“The activities were varied, and covered many of our curriculum outcomes. The variety of unique research opportunities was excellent.”
James McGill, St Ignatius Grade 12 Teacher, Cayman Islands

“I had so much fun snorkeling and learning about the reef. I can’t wait to come back to CCMI again someday soon!”
Trevon F., Year 6, George Town Primary School 2018, Cayman Islands

“It was fun being with my classmates, learning about marine life and how we can protect it.”
Kai R.,Year 6, West End Primary School 2018, Cayman Islands

COST

CI $375 per student
CI $250 per instructor

ELEMENTARY APPLICATION FORM

HIGH SCHOOL APPLICATION FORM

CCMI is proud to provides scholarship opportunities for government school groups in the Cayman Islands thanks to the generous support of our sponsor, BODA Charitable Star Trust. To sponsor amazing opportunities at CCMI, please click HERE.

For more information about the Marine Ecology Course, contact CCMI’s education team directly via email.

CONSERVATION ECOLOGY CAMP

2022 Programme Dates:

October 16 – 22

Camp Cost: CI $1999*

Cost includes accommodation, 3 meal/day, instructor fees, local airport transportation.  

*$500 USD deposit required

Spend your October half-term at CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre, snorkelling on Little Cayman’s world-famous reefs! During the Conservation Ecology Camp, students focus on tropical marine ecology and conservation in the Cayman Islands. Students (age 13-17) will learn from CCMI scientists & educators; no two days are the same as they develop group research projects, snorkel and explore a pristine reef system. The programme will also include all the fun activities of a camp with beach games, kayaking, biking, a beach bonfire, and exploring Little Cayman’s environment.  

The goal of this camp will be for students to start a project to present at the annual Cayman Islands Rotary Club Science Fair. Group field projects will focus on: 

  • Coral disease  
  • Caribbean-wide long-spined sea urchin die-off 
  • Carbon sequestration in mangroves and seagrass beds 

For more information about the Conservation Ecology Camp, contact CCMI’s education team directly via email.

Edmund F. & Virginia B. Ball Caribbean Marine Ecology Camp

Spend a week scuba diving and snorkeling at one of the world’s most stunning coral reefs. High school students (13-17 years old) will learn about tropical marine ecology and conservation in our interactive programme where no day will be the same! Students will benefit from lessons and frequent interaction with experts in marine ecology including researchers and resident graduate students. Divers and non-divers are accepted into the programme.

What participants are saying:

“My favorite experiences each year during CCMI’s camp is getting to swim with the incredible animals and fish in the sea. This year we saw lots of eagle rays and even got to watch a relationship called ‘nuclear hunting’ which is when other fish join the ray to eat leftover food it’s done with while swimming alongside it.”
Anna Symens – United States of America (CMEC 2017, 2018, 2019)

“I really enjoyed the whole week of diving and conducting research, but one of my favorite things throughout the week was going out and planting staghorn coral on the reef. I know this kind of restoration will be a great benefit to the our local economy in a few years time and I just can’t wait to come back to CCMI in the future to see how the outplanted corals are doing. I hope to leave Cayman to get a higher education so that I can come back and do more diving and research on all of our corals and help cull the lionfish.”
Jesse Jackson – Cayman Islands (CMEC 2015, 2016, 2017)

“Aside from the great knowledge I gained by attending CCMI’s week long CMEC, I also gained unforgettable experiences from the warm-hearted staff, who felt like more than just instructors…they are really cool role models and definitely now my friends to say the least!”
Jacob Whewell – Cayman Islands ( CMEC 2017)

“Thank you once again for another great reef study experience for our daughter, Amanda.”
Karen Weissman – USA (Mother of CMEC 2018 & 2019 Camper)

2023 Programme Dates:

CMEC Level 1: July 16 – 22

CMEC Level 2: July 23 – 29

Camp cost: $2395 USD (Excludes flights and DAN insurance for scuba divers)

CMEC Level 1

Spend a week at CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre diving and snorkelling in Little Caymans famous waters! Students (age 13-17) will be living amongst scientists and educators, learning about tropical marine ecology and engaging with the world around them. Divers and non divers are accepted into the programme.

 

 

What students will gain from the experience 

Camp activities include dive and snorkel outings where the students will ID fish and coral; observe a lionfish dissection; participate in classroom lectures about the deep sea, threats to coral reefs and native species; take part in a night snorkel; play beach games; share memories around an evening bonfire, and more.

CMEC Level 2

Spend a week at CCMI’s Little Cayman Research Centre diving and snorkelling in Little Cayman’s famous waters! Level 2 of CCMI’s Caribbean Marine Ecology Camp is perfect for students who have already participated in CMEC Level 1, as it builds on the information and activity from that experience. Students will spend a week living amongst scientists and educators, building on their prior knowledge and developing new and more specialised skills amongst peers that are equally as passionate about the marine environment.

What students will gain from the experience

Camp activities include dive and snorkel outings where students conduct mini surveys on our reefs to practice and enhance fish and coral ID skills/knowledge. They will learn coral nursery care and gain hands on experience in one of CCMI’s coral nurseries during some of the dives and snorkels. Students will dissect their own lionfish at this level (under careful supervision by staff). Students will practice their underwater photography skills, participate in a night snorkel to see bioluminescence, and end their action-packed week by participating in the Ocean Olympics, a variety of ocean themed challenges!

2023 programme dates

Summer sessions

CMEC Level 1: July 16 – 22
CMEC Level 2: July 23 – 29

Camp cost: $2395 USD (all flights and DAN insurance for scuba divers separate)

Download the CCMI CMEC registration packet HERE.

Email completed registration packets to education@reefresearch.org; these courses are appropriate for both divers and non-divers)

Cost: $2395 USD (excludes flights and DAN insurance for scuba divers);  deposit of US $500 is required at the time of booking to secure placement in the programme.

Ocean Science Scholars Need-Based Scholarship Information 

Thanks to the generous support of the Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Foundation, we are able to offer five need-based scholarships to attend the Caribbean Marine Ecology Camp. Please download the application HERE.

Completed scholarship applications should be emailed to our education team.

For more information about CCMI’s Ocean Science Scholars and to be notified when scholarships are available for this course, contact CCMI’s education team directly via email.

Young Environmentalist Leadership Course

YELC 2023 Programme Dates

Application Deadline: March 17

Applicant Interviews: March 20 – 24

Dive Training on Grand Cayman*: March 25 – July 8

Little Cayman Dates: July 12 – 21

CCMI’s Young Environmentalist Leadership Course (YELC) provides an opportunity for local students (ages 16-20) to carve their pathway into the water sports industry and marine sciences. YELC participants complete PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, and Rescue Diver certifications*, and they attend a 10-day intensive, hands-on experience with CCMI’s education and research staff at the Little Cayman Research Centre. Students work on field projects as well as learn to use instruments and equipment to broaden their horizons and experiences that can be used in the workplace. Students also take part in night dives, lionfish dissections, CV workshops, mock job interviews, and assist with CCMI’s ongoing research.

This programme works to build skilled and enthusiastic environmental ambassadors. Students are exposed to the breadth of opportunities in the marine industry, and as a result, they make important connections for employment and internships. Local businesses that may be involved in the programme include Go Pro Diving, DiveTech, Cayman Eco Divers Foundation, The Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, The National Trust of the Cayman Islands, Shark Conservation Cayman, Plastic Free Cayman, Red Sail Sports, Ocean Frontiers, ProYacht, Spinion, Cayman Kayaks, and government agencies include the Cayman Islands Department of Environment, John Gray High School, Clifton Hunter High School, the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI), and the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC). The YELC programme bridges an important gap for local students that do not have access to post-school education in the Cayman Islands, breaking down financial and educational barriers.

*Dive training is typically conducted on Saturdays with GoPro Diving on Grand Cayman. 

Download the fillable PDF application form HERE.

“I would say the programme actually put me on a career path… it really opened my eyes to what I wanted to do in the future.”
Tyler Watler – YELC 2015

“One of the best experiences of my life.” James Costa – YELC 2021

“This programme has given me so many networking opportunities for my future in watersports in Cayman. Everyone should apply for this programme and take advantage of the awesome opportunity that CCMI is offering. It allows people like me who grow up on an island to experience the underwater world.”
Uton Whittaker – YELC 2018

“This is a programme that all young Caymanians should apply to because it is a great opportunity for us to receive training in diving up to rescue divers and master divers. It’s a lot of work having to meet every weekend, but it’s worth it.”
Storm McLean – YELC 2018

“Amazing experience which taught me about marine conservation and research.”
Martina Burton – YELC Assistant 2019 (YELC 2018 Participant)

YELC is supported by Foster’s, Go Pro Cayman and Cayman National Bank.

Download the fillable YELC 2022 application.

For more information about the YELC Programme, contact CCMI’s education team directly via email.

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