SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) – The Nature Foundation St Maarten selected four youth environmental exchange participants after a tough selection procedure with many suitable applicants. The Foundation congratulates Marshall Leone from the Learning Unlimited school, Maya Speetjens from Milton Peters College, Nubia Stomp from St Dominic High school and Valerie Halley from the Caribbean International Academy for being selected to participate in the Junior ranger exchange on Bonaire from the 25th until the 28th of October this year.
“We had a very difficult job to select the candidates due to the high level of knowledge, motivation and large number of applications which came in after our announcements for the program. I am impressed by the number of 12 and 13 year old students interested in this program and their familiarity and creative answers on our environmental quiz. We do keep all applicants in mind for another possible project in the future, as we were surprised about the knowledge and motivation from many” stated Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern, Nature Foundations Projects and Research Officer.
The four participating students will have an active learning experience, sharing and learning with and from each other, like an activity filled conference. They will return home as nature conservation ambassadors to share and apply this knowledge and experience with their school, the other youths and the community at large. The overall theme of the Junior Ranger Exchange will be Coastal and Marine Conservation. Different topics that will be incorporated, such as (plastic) pollution, coral reefs, shorebirds and the vast biodiversity of our islands.
The four students are also invited for a preparational day at the Nature Foundation Sint Maarten on the 19th of October in order to learn and discuss environmental issues, marine conservation and biodiversity on Sint Maarten. The groups will also visit the mangroves in Mullet Pond, the lagoon and inspect St maarten waters during the introduction day.
“We will learn our students about the projects and activities of the Nature Foundation, the importance of coral reefs, ecosystems, sea turtles, sharks and many more subjects during an interactive and fun day at the Nature Foundation. We will make sure the students are prepared to share their ideas and knowledge during the exchange event on Bonaire and that they will be the future advocates for environment and nature on St Maarten” explained Guillaume Lacome leader of the St Maarten Youth Environmental Exchange student group.
This event is made possible by the project sponsors Rabobank, World Wildlife Fund (WWF-NL), STINAPA Bonaire and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) together with a great and enthusiastic project team comprised of members from DCNA, STINAPA and Fundacion Parke Nacional Aruba (FPNA).