The learning center will be used as an outdoor science lab, and it will be incorporated into regular curriculum. Students will learn how to test water and understand the results, the environmental impact of current practices in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the importance of clean water and its role in everything from food production to human consumption to local ecological systems.
“The USVI has very little groundwater due to the topography of the islands. Most people collect rainwater from rooftops in cisterns. The other main source is reverse osmosis water drawn from the ocean. Streams run intermittently and are heavily impacted by erosion from construction and storm runoff. Our young people need to be educated about how to deal with these issues in the future,” said Christina Chanes, UVICES – Water Ambassador Program principal investigator.
“We have taken the Water Ambassadors Program territory-wide. We are teaching kids at all levels about water safety, water testing, and we are teaching kids how to set up weather stations to collect weather and climate data and how to read and interpret that data.
Our islands are incredibly fragile, and we need to teach our children to understand, appreciate and become passionate conservators of their ecology. The partnership with IGY Marinas St. Thomas enables us to expand our program in St. Thomas. The Outdoor Hydrologic Environmental Learning Center is not only integrated into the science curriculum, but it also dovetails into the Farm to Table program being driven by the school principal, Dr. Lisa. Forde. Together we are teaching the children of St. Thomas about their environment, climate, agriculture and food production, science, and entrepreneurialism. This is such a win for the island!”
The many who helped to make this all a reality include: American Yacht Harbor, My Brother’s Workshop, the Department of Public Works, the Department of Agriculture, UVI/CES, Yacht Haven Grande, Island Time Pizza in Red Hook, My Brother’s Workshop Bakery, Volunteers from C.O.R.E and CZM, children and teachers from Addelita Cancryn Jr. High, the Communications Department of UVI, Sen. Jean Forde, the UVI/CES – IGY Marinas St. Thomas joint project. Christina Chanes of UVI/CES. and the IGY Marinas “Inspire Giving Through You” team.
“Throughout my career I have seen the positive impact that public/private partnerships have on our community. What’s even more invaluable is when our children are the beneficiaries,” said Sen. Forde.
IGY Marinas, the largest international marina network in the world, rolled out its “Inspire Giving Through You” community outreach initiative in October, 2015. Spanning two hemispheres, the initiative focuses on community-based initiatives within the communities in which its marinas are located. Each marina in the network selects a recipient organization and collaborates on developing projects that will serve not only that organization, but also have a positive impact on the greater community. Marinas adopt their respective organizations and projects, donating time, energy, and resources throughout the year – not just on one day.
For more information or to make the commitment to serve alongside IGY Marinas, visit http://www.igymarinas.com/igy-community-service/ and click on Contact Us.