Grand Bahama
EARTHCARE and the Sustainable EcoTourism Committee celebrate World Wetlands Day
By Gail Woon, Founder of EARTHCARE
Feb 4, 2019 - 2:17:24 PM

Brody Thompson, EARTHCARE Eco Kid cleaning the mangroves in West End
Freeport, Grand Bahama - World Wetlands Day was February 2nd.  EARTHCARE and the Sustainable/Eco-Tourism Committee in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism conducted a Mangrove Cleanup in West End, Grand Bahama Island in honour of World Wetlands Day.  Eco Heroes, students from West End Primary, Freeport Gospel Chapel School (Eco School) and LIS (Lucaya International School) (Eco School) gathered to clean mangroves in West End in honour of World Wetlands Day 2019. The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2019 is “Wetlands and climate change We are not powerless against climate change”.  Wetlands can be vulnerable to climate change, being impacted by changes in temperature, rainfall, sea level rise and extreme events.

Mangroves store 50 times carbon than tropical forests, Do Not Remove.  Coral reefs blunt tsunamis, Do Not Destroy.  Peatlands cover 3% of the earth’s land, yet store 30% of the world’s carbon, Do Not Drain.  Wetlands absorb carbon, Drained Wetlands release carbon.  Seagrasses absorb carbon 35 times faster than rain forests, Do Not Destroy.  Wetlands function like shock absorbers, they buffer our coastlines from extreme weather.  Wetlands are like sponges, they absorb flood waters during storms. 

Eco minded students hard at work cleaning Wetlands

Wetlands are the key to coping with Climate Change.  Wetlands play a significant role in stabilizing Green House Gas emissions and blunting the impacts of climate change.  We must conserve and restore our wetlands.

The industrious students cleared 145 lbs. of glass bottles, 98 lbs. of plastic and 3 lbs. of cans from the mangroves.  The plastics will be sent by EARTHCARE to New Providence to be a part of an environmental awareness project. 

Jeffrey Pinder, Sr. Executive, Product Development, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation informed the students of the importance of wetlands and mangroves to our country.  He impressed upon the youth the need to take care of our environment now so that in the future they will be able to make a living from our abundant natural resources.  He urged them to come away with an attitude after the day’s activities, an attitude that protects and nurtures our fragile natural environment.  He invited Mr. Keith Cooper of West End Ecology Tours to tell the students about his eco business and how the natural environment is so important to his livelihood.

Cleaning the mangroves is a Team effort on World Wetlands Day

Students were interviewed by ZNS News after the mangroves were cleaned and the refuse weighed.  The students were treated to a trip to Paradise Cove Beach Resort where Mr. Miller gave them even more information about our natural wetlands and beautiful coastal areas.  He told the children about the importance of the coral reefs, and the mangroves.  He also enlightened them about the Reef Ball installation and how the reef balls were manufactured and installed on site by Bahamians.  Mr. Miller also reiterated that their eco business is very dependent upon keeping our environment clean and pristine.

The students who participated in the Mangrove Cleaning for World Wetlands Day are:  West End Primary, Kayla Penn, Taylor Williams, Natalia Saunders, and Giarjanae Strachan; Freeport Gospel Chapel School, Savannah Horton, Jada Major, Shayla Taylor, Giano Major, Xaria Ingraham, Clarence Carter, Ryan Gibson and Saida Malcolm with Ms. Ray Fawcett, Teacher; LIS, Hannah Brand, Theo Massey, Brody Thompson, Gabby Thompson, Eliza Crutchfield, Angelina Pages, Lucy Gape, Harrison Gape, Rahim Fox, Gonzalo Espejo De Llano and Gaia Versolatto with Mr. John Massey, Teacher and EARTHCARE Eco Kids Team Leader, Tyler Riley of Sunland Baptist Academy and parent, Daphne Riley.

EARTHCARE Eco Kids from LIS with teacher, John Massey & Gail Woon, EARTHCARE

Gail Woon, representative from EARTHCARE said, “I am so pleased to see so many eco-minded students hard at work on their day off making our island a cleaner place to live.  I have hope in my heart that these young people will become great stewards of the environment.  The Bahamas is a signatory to the RAMSAR Convention which is devoted to protecting valuable wetland areas around the world.  Our country faces serious challenges in this regard when one looks at megadevelopments in Bimini and Guana Cay to name a few that have destroyed large swathes of wetlands.  I especially thank Jeffrey Pinder, the Sustainable Tourism Committee, Keith Cooper of West End Ecology Tours, Mr. Miller and the staff at Paradise Cove Beach Resort, Isabella Thompson, parent, teachers, parents and the students who made this day a success.”

Students from West End Primary, Freeport Gospel Chapel School and LIS on World Wetlands Day 2019

Students even retrieved the inside of a water heater that was thoughtlessly discarded

Freeport Gospel Chapel School student retrieving bottles from the wetland area

Freeport Gospel Chapel School students with their teacher, Ray Fawcett

Tyler Riley, EARTHCARE Eco Kids Team Leader cleans the mangroves on World Wetlands Day

The items taken off the mangroves can be unpleasant

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