MPC students learn about coral reefs and mangroves | THE DAILY HERALD

MPC students with Nature Foundation representatives at Mullet Bay beach.

SOUTH REWARD–The importance of the country’s coral reefs and how vital the Nature Foundation’s Coral Restoration Project is to the eco-health and economy were shared recently with second form students of Milton Peters College (MPC) by the Foundation. First formers visited Mullet Pond to learn about the importance of mangroves and wetlands, and how these protect us from storm surge.

Worldwide coral reefs are declining due to global warming, pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction. St. Maarten’s coral reefs are also facing several threats and Hurricane Irma left a large impact. The Coral Restoration Project is aimed at restoring St. Maarten reefs with Staghorn and Elkhorn coral species by establishing a coral nursery to grow coral and transplant them back to selected sites.

“The students were amazed by the corals and their beauty. Hopefully, we inspired them to help protect our coral reefs,” said Foundation Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

Mullet Pond is listed and protected as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Treaty. Wetlands, including Mullet Pond, are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity on which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival.

Coral reefs also provide countless benefits or “ecosystem services” ranging from biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge and climate change mitigation. With the visit of Mullet Pond we created the opportunity for these students to see and learn about this important wetland habitat themselves, said Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets.

Students also learned about the impact of trash on marine life and therefore performed a cleanup at Mullet Bay beach as part of the Reduce and Reuse St. Maarten project. About 25 students collected 370.95 pounds of trash in just half an hour, by using the Trash Tracker method developed by Ocean Cleanup Organisation 4Oceans by weighing all the collected trash and using reusable bags and gloves.

“We are proud of these students because of their hard work this day, achievements and willingness to help the environment of St. Maarten. These students may be the future generation to protect our natural environment and that is very much needed on St. Maarten,” according to Nature Foundation.

Source: The Daily Herald