By Nonna Stutzman
From May 16, 2018
Today, we went to Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School to give a short presentation about marine pollutants and how they affect marine life. We tried to focus our presentation on the Saint Lucia community to relate what we were talking about to their everyday lives. We took a short walk from where we are staying to the school with Nadia, the director of a local non-profit CSEA (Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance). When we arrived, we were quickly greeted with smiles as we met the vice principal. Quickly, we ran through our PowerPoint in the biology lab before 20 eager students came in and took a seat. We introduced ourselves with our major and the year of schooling we were in, as well as the type of data we were collecting while in Soufriere. The students were very engaged, and it was very helpful of Nadia to chime in, relating the topic to situations presented to the students in their lives. An example of this includes how students can vote against the installation of an Astroturf field in Soufriere, which is made from plastics that will end up in their watershed. When our presentation was finished, the students had a lot of questions about going to a university in America, such as the requirements to get in, scholarships available, and the types of degrees they can attain. At the end of all the questions, one student came up to the front of the class and thanked us all for coming in to teach us today. The teacher came up and thanked us for being there as well, saying that our presentation went along with his lesson plan. Before we left, we, of course, had to take a group picture with the students. Later in the evening, while walking to the SMMA, we saw a couple girls from the class we taught, and they were excited to see us. I believe we helped teach young minds about the importance of marine pollutants and how easy it is to make a change in one’s life to reduce waste in our oceans.
The authors of this blog are students enrolled in Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation, field courses run in the Caribbean by the University of South Florida. In 2019 and 2021, the course went to the Carmabi research station in Curaçao and dived around the island over a 10-day period, for training and to carry out research projects. In 2018, the group went to Soufriere, Saint Lucia, and took part in various projects in partnership with the Soufriere Marine Management Association. In this blog, students will document their activities and how they relate to course material.