Mangrove Planting & Aquaponics EARTHCARE Eco Kids on the move
By Gail Woon, Founder of EARTHCARE
Jul 27, 2018 - 12:39:19 PM

EARTHCARE Eco Kids learn which way is the right side up on the mangrove propagule

EARTHCARE Eco Kids performed a Mangrove planting exercise at Dover Sound and toured the Aquaponics facility at the Garden of the Groves on Grand Bahama on Saturday, July 21st in celebration of World Mangroves Day now recognized by UNESCO as the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystems.  Students from Grand Bahama and Bimini attended.

Gail Woon, EARTHCARE Founder observed, “Mangrove stands used to be thought of as useless wastelands.  However, scientific research has revealed that mangroves are among the most important ecosystems on this planet.  Mangroves have specially adapted aerial and salt-filtering roots and salt-excreting leaves which enable them to occupy the saline wetlands where other plant life cannot survive.  Mangroves serve as important marine nurseries for young fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and invertebrates.  They are the first home for many of our economically important breadbasket fisheries products, fish, lobster, crab, conch etc.  Mangroves also protect our islands from the destructive effects of storm surge and hurricanes.  Another important aspect of mangroves is that they build land.  Their prop roots spread out and catch the sediment that the currents wash in and build land by catching the sediment in the roots of the mangrove plants thereby increasing the land mass.  In addition, salt marshes, mangroves and seagrass beds absorb large quantities of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it, in turn decreasing the effects of global warming/climate change.  EARTHCARE Eco Kids planted mangroves at Dover Sound in the wetland, in an area that had new mangroves already growing.  Our students were very enthusiastic and happy to be doing their part, in spite of the muddy ground they had to walk through.”

EARTHCARE Eco Kids planting mangroves at Dover Sound

Prior to the mangrove planting, our eager group went to the Garden of the Groves where they met Aquaponics Operations Manager, Wayne Hall, who gave them a very informative tour of the active Aquaponics facility.  Mr. Hall showed them the tilapia fish that are used in the closed system facility.  He explained the methods used to grow the edible produce, strawberries, mint, basil, romaine, red leaf romaine, red leaf and green leaf lettuce, green onion and watermelon among others in the water based system.”

Wayne Hall added, “The Aquaponics facility at The Garden of The Groves, when completed, will encompass a total of 10,000+ sq. ft. and will be the largest commercial aquaponics facility in the Bahamas, specifically designed to be a public demonstration system. It may also be the largest and only public demonstration system in the Caribbean.  At the Garden of the Groves the Aquaponics farm is a working model of sustainable food production wherein plant and animal agriculture are integrated and recycling of nutrients and water filtration are linked. The waste products of one biological system serve as nutrients for a second biological system. The fish waste products are used to create the nutrients that grow the plants.  The integration of fish and plants result in a poly-culture that increases diversity and yields multiple products requiring no fertilizers or pesticides. By using renewable energy solutions you reduce the environmental footprint and its impact, lowering costs and thereby providing less expensive, fresh produce for the local consumer marketplace.”

Shannie Braynen asks questions about the Aquaponics Tour

Requal Davis, EARTHCARE Eco Kids Facilitator added, “I think that the work that we do with EARTHCARE Eco Kids is extremely important, in that it teaches our kids to love and value our environment. When we take care of the earth, she in turn cares for and provides for us. The opportunity the kids had to plant mangroves, I know was a memorable experience. We, as adults, often complain that the youth don't get outside enough, well on this day they did! They were deep in it.  And the aquaponics facility is the ideal example of the conservation message – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Wayne showed us how to reduce the amount of both water and space compared to traditional farming. They recycled the waste from the fishes to grow produce. There are even future plans to recycle the by-products of the fileted fish, to make food to feed the fishes that help operate the system. I am greatly impressed.”

"Love means sacrifice has a whole new meaning. You love the Earth but you have to sacrifice your shoes!", is a direct quote from Nathanael, son of Requal Davis after the EARTHCARE Eco Kids planted mangroves at Dover Sound in really squishy, deep mud.  Both he and Candice Woon sacrificed their shoes during the exercise.

The activities were made possible with the help of our faithful driver, Lakecia Rolle from Queenie Elite Taxi Co., Candice Woon, Requal Davis, & Matthew Smith, EARTHCARE Facilitators, Havana & Savanna Gibson, EARTHCARE Eco Kids Team Leaders, Erika Gates, Kevin Tomlinson of Kevin Tomlinson Academy, and of course, Wayne Hall, Aquaponics Manager.

Copyright EARTHCARE 2018

EARTHCARE Eco Kids Facilitator, Requal Davis in the mangroves

L-R Matthew Smith, Requal Davis, Nathanael Smith, Shannie Braynen, Gail Woon, Candice Woon, EARTHCARE members ready to plant mangroves

Love means sacrifice has a whole new meaning. You love the Earth but you have to sacrifice your shoes! Direct quote from Nathanael Smith

Healthy Mangroves with propagules dangling in Queens Cove

EARTHCARE Founder, Gail Woon calfdeep in the mud as we plant mongroves!

When preparing for a mangrove planting exercise for the EARTHCARE Eco Kids, we found a mangrove propagule that was growing into plastic

Wayne Hall Aquaponics Manager explaining about the tilapia to the EARTHCARE Eco Kids

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