Based in Key Largo, Florida, MRDF’s MarineLab is a facility that supports access to hands-on coastal and marine ecology education for teachers and students.
MarineLab has hosted week-long teacher training workshops to educators from throughout the United States since the 1980’s, exposing thousands of educators to unique marine ecology opportunities. Through this new partnership, MRDF will provide several scholarships to educators from the Virgin Islands and Eastern Caribbean, supporting their participation in a week-long workshop focused on coastal and marine ecology at MarineLab’s Key Largo facility.
Founder and President of the Marine Resources Development Foundation, Ian Koblick said, “Getting teachers to excite students about our oceans may be our best chance to save our seas.”
Head of Marine and Maritime Studies at HLSCC, Susan Zaluski added, “The workshop provides a unique opportunity to encourage dialogue between educators from Caribbean islands. Teachers can play an important role in supporting climate resilience initiatives in the region through student education and involvement.”
Dean of Workforce Training at HLSCC, Marva Wheatley-Dawson said that while the ocean is what divides the islands of the Caribbean, it is also part of what we all have in common. Mrs Wheatley-Dawson added that she was excited that the Centre for Applied Marine Studies (CAMS) could play a pivotal role in uniting educators from the Virgin Islands and Eastern Caribbean as a result of the new partnership.
Jian Jeffers and Joseph Wells will be a part of the cohort of Caribbean teachers attending the July workshop in Key Largo, where they will represent HLSCC’s Mangrove Nursery. Ms Jeffers, who works part-time for the mangrove nursery project is also a science teacher at the Elmore Stoutt High School. She noted that she is looking forward to collaborating with other Caribbean educators and bringing back elements from the workshop that will enhance student learning at home in the VI. Mr Wells works full-time for HLSCC as the Department of Marine and Maritime Studies’ Workshop Manager.
According to Head of Marine & Maritime Studies, Susan Zaluski, Mr Wells has been responsible for implementing hands-on learning in the Centre’s Marine Technology courses and is also an integral part of the mangrove nursery. Jeffers and Wells have led numerous community-based educational activities as part of the CAMS mangrove nursery project.
Mr Wells said that they would make a presentation to the other attending educators about the HLSCC Mangrove Nursery Project at the July workshop. Jeffers added that she is excited to learn about coastal resilience activities happening in other Caribbean islands from teachers who will attend the workshop, in addition to sharing information about the role that the Mangrove Nursery plays in this field.
MRDF was first founded in the US Virgin Islands in 1970, where they worked closely with the governments of the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. MRDF’s Caribbean work portfolio has included establishing ocean policies, marine training programmes, undersea labs, and environmental management strategies.
HLSCC’s Centre for Applied Marine Studies (CAMS) launched its Mangrove Nursery and Climate Resilience Laboratory in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration with financial support from Unite BVI Foundation in 2020.
Teachers interested in attending the workshop should contact the Head of Marine & Maritime Studies, Ms Susan Zaluski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jian Jeffers and Joseph Wells, representatives of the HLSCC’s Mangrove Nursery who will be a part of the cohort of Caribbean teachers attending the July workshop in Key Largo, pictured inside the HLSCC Mangrove Nursery.
Official Flyer for the workshop in Key Largo, Florida. Design