SINT MAARTEN (SIMPSON BAY) – Four selected Nature Foundation junior rangers will represent St Maarten and our environmental issues during the DCNA’s youth environmental exchange to Bonaire on Friday the 25th of October, in collaboration with STINAPA Bonaire and World Wildlife Fund.
Last Saturday the junior rangers; 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, attended an informative and fun event at the Nature Foundation St. Maarten to learn about recent environmental issues, marine conservation and the importance of our natural habitats.
The Nature Foundation’s Junior Rangers learned about reducing single-use plastics and the threats sea turtles are facing including nesting of sea turtles on our beaches. The rangers enjoyed learning about mangroves, coral reefs and how you can help to protect these important ecosystems. After all the learning, the mangroves at Mullet Pond where visited and the waters were inspected while enjoy the ride through the Simpson bay lagoon onboard of the Marine Park Patrol boat ‘yellowtail.
The youth are our future and the junior rangers are very aware of the treats Sint Maarten is facing regarding environmental degradation; junior ranger Valerie Halley mentioned “We need to focus on climate change” and Marshall Leone stressed out the urgency of banning the use of single use plastics and providing more alternative for these harmful items. The junior rangers of the St. Maarten are also prepared to change their behavior to make an environmental difference. Maya Speetjens stated “If you go to the beach or anywhere and see some trash, just pick it up” and Nubia Stomp really would like to have the residents of St Maarten to be more education about recycling options and the need of it.
“I am glad to see that the next generation is ready to change in order to minimize the human impact on our nature. Our students feel really concerned and they know that we need to act all together if we want a bright future with natural habitats. An environmental exchange, such as this event, is really important for our youth and the future, we need to involve and guide our young people to the right direction, as it is their future”, explained Guillaume Lacome leader of the St Maarten Youth Environmental Exchange student group.
During the environmental exchange the junior rangers 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 youth environmental exchange 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).