World Water Day salute!

Water.  We all require it for life.  We all need CLEAN water and LOTS of it!  Caribbean SEA and TenneSEA work at the grassroots level to empower kids and their communities to get clean water.  The Flint, Michigan water disaster was a wake up call for many to realize that you cannot take your water for granted.  The changing precipitation patterns throughout the Caribbean have led to water scarcity or tremendous flooding events.  Atlanta, Georgia faces water shortages not just because of increases in water use, but also because of changing precipitation patterns.  We CANNOT take our water for granted.

Today, we salute three water champions : Valerie Constantin-Regis, Naomi Abraham Moon, and Randal Hale.

Valerie is a teacher of arts, theater, and Science to kids at Dennery Primary School in St. Lucia.  Her LORAX Club knows all about protecting their water in Dennery and where they should and should NOT get into the rivers or ocean.  She is an amazing, energetic, indomitable spirit who loves her community and all of her kids!  We need more Valerie’s in our world! Thank you for being our community Water Champion!

Randal and Naomi work behind the scenes with SEA to upgrade the website, map our data, create a watershed/ ocean monitoring mobile App, and push me to do important web based stuff I would rather ignore!  Randal is editing our WaterWatch mobile App through Fulcrum.  For his full time job, he does all sorts of GIS work, so he maps our water quality data as well.   Naomi’s work on our website is nothing short of spectacular.  Her vision, creativity and mad tech skills have changed the way the world sees us and it’s incredibly positive!  Even better,  they are the techies that make you laugh and teach you so much along the way. We are so much stronger because of their work and their influence.  Thank you for being our water champions through technology!

Valerie and her boys!

Randy leads a fossil hunt!

Naomi escaped her computer!

 

A day in Dominica….

Being in the Caribbean in February is usually a reason for envy, but this time the temperatures in Tennessee felt so springlike, it was actually difficult to leave the States!  These first pictures are from Dominica, the Nature Island, where rainforests cover much of the interior and the rainforests of the sea are vibrant and alive….except when they aren’t..  Nearly two years ago, Tropical Storm Erika dumped something like 27 inches of rain on the island in ten hours causing massive flooding and river erosion.  That sediment from the rivers is still heading out to the reefs near Coulibistrie, where my friend Izzy showed me the new deltas that have formed and the small, winding, tree covered streams which are now wide river beds devoid of trees.  Our plan is to evaluate the reefs and work on stream bank stabilization so maybe, just maybe, we can save these reefs.  We will need lots of help.

We also are working with the Dominica Water and Sewerage Authority on reduction of sewage from communal septic tanks which flows into the rivers, potentially impacting human health. Dowasco officials are very keen on implementing pilot projects so communities will know how to address these issues.  Can you see the wastewater draining directly into this street drain?  The river is just across the road.  When we work together with our local partners, real solutions can happen and be sustained so Dominica remains the beautiful Nature Island we all love.

Cuba protects life in the Caribbean at Jardines de la Reina

 

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I watched this video again today. I haven’t seen Goliath Grouper since I swam with them in the Bahamas when I was a kid. I am so impressed with Cuba’s protection of the mangrove and reefs. They are intimately connected. Without the mangrove nursery AND the coral reef, life in the Caribbean Sea will not flourish.

Working in Belize

This started out as an article for the website and was lost in the great digital shuffle – but we found it and it’s making in appearance. This happened about a year ago and was written by Berry Shultz. There have been more trips since – but this captures what we are doing in Belize:

I went to Belize this summer to fill in for Mary Beth at her Kids 4 Clean Water camp in San Mateo. I anticipated an eye opening experience having traveled in developing countries in the recent past. However nothing could have prepared me for this “eye opening” experience. The golf cart bumped over the pitted “road” into San Mateo and the panorama that is life there spread in front of me and unbidden tears began streaming down my face. My skin felt too sensitive to touch, my scalp was tingling uncomfortably and I could not form words.

Children raced barefooted over the sharp chert streets, through the puddles of sewage and stagnant water, they darted on wooden slabs through sodden mounds of plastic and glass bottles, discarded TV’s, broken bicycles, and hulking carcasses of refrigerators reclining in the poison that was once a thriving mangrove swamp. The children’s laughter floated on the breeze along with tattered and torn plastic bags. The games they played were recognizable, their smiles shared by children the world over but the backdrop for their games was unimaginable.

Imagine human beings conducting life: going to school and work, hanging clothes on a line to dry, frying plantains, going to visit a neighbor, walking to the store all in a cesspool of sewage and garbage and struggling mangrove trees. Despite it all life moves on…birds fly by, huge iguanas lumber across sun-warmed roads and dogs lie under almost every house usually on a board or plank to keep them out of the fetid water. The children tell me that these neighborhood dogs often disappear with only a bit of rope left behind, presumably eaten by a crocodile living in the polluted lagoons or under the houses.

 

Life moves on… The sewage lines the government got a grant to install pass right by this village of ### people and proceed north to drain the resorts of their stinky and unsightly waste. All the while the people of San Mateo are left to fend for themselves. Many do not have power in their homes; some have water only from a cistern, a year ago the roads we bump along were not even here. The roads are another story entirely.

Despite the challenges of life on this small island and in this impoverished neighborhood the indomitable spirit of the children was invigorating for my bruised spirit. They exude a thirst for learning and for attention and for having fun. We played games about good hygiene, we made coral polyps from marshmallows and we washed and washed and washed our hands. We saw phosphorescent algae and caught crocodiles in the mangroves and talked about how trash and waste makes the lives of animals harder too. We made crafts and colored and talked about how to clean things up in their neighborhood. We tested water from under houses, from cisterns, from pipes traversing the putrid lagoons and bringing water into the houses.

We snorkeled with a giant black grouper and his family, a Green sea turtle and 100’s of nurse sharks at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve on the MesoAmerican Reef. We learned about the three different kinds of mangroves in the swamp and why they are important and need to be protected. We rode all over the community with golf carts over filled with children and more running behind. We met family members and even had a few join us for some camp days and on several excursions. The day I left Debra Gannon Milstead took two of our campers to Ecologic Divers where they will begin an internship. For me Belize, all the volunteers and the children of San Mateo provided me with an eye opening experience for sure.

Science Fair

Caribbean SEA’s Environmental Club wins Best Science Fair Project

Science Fair 1This is the second year that Caribbean SEA’s environmental clubs have participated in science fairs.

Four school clubs submitted a total of seven (7) projects to district science fairs. Three (3) were chosen to compete at the 2016 National Science & Technology Fair which was held 16-18 March and one won the top prize. Read more

St. Lucia Map-A-Thon

Map-A-Thon for St. Lucia – February 28 at the Gear Closet

Join us at The Gear Closet on February 28th from 12:00 pm on to participate in the OpenStreetMap Map-athon for St. Lucia.

What is the OpenStreetMap project?
OpenStreetMap is the project that creates and distributes free geographic data for the world. Many maps around the world are incomplete and/or proprietary. The OpenStreetMap project aims to provide free maps for anyone’s use. These can be for private citizens, government, and relief organizations. Read more

drinking wine

More about Save Water, Drink Wine

drinking wine

Read more about Save Water, Drink Wine and how it helps our streams in this Mountain Mirror article.

Mary Beth Sutton with some of her favorite people

TenneSEA’s Mary Beth Sutton featured in Get Out Chattanooga Magazine

Mary Beth Sutton with some of her favorite people

Mary Beth Sutton with some of her favorite people

Read this nice article about our own Mary Beth Sutton, published in the November 2015 issue of Get Out Chattanooga Magazine.

 

Get Out Chattangooga Article on Mary Beth Sutton

Dennery Caribbean SEA Maria Islands

Dennery Caribbean SEA Young Adults Helping with Whiptail Survey on Maria Islands

Dennery Caribbean SEA Maria IslandsDennery Caribbean SEA young adults helping with whiptail survey on Maria Islands with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the National Trust of St Lucia!

We attended the Media and Youth Workshop in Trinidad in 2014

What does the Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance do? Where do we go? Well – we were invited to speak and teach in Trinidad and Tobago!

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A description of the Workshop:

Scenes from the Global Water Partnership-Caribbean‘s (GWP-C’s) first ever Media and Youth Workshop on Water Security and Climate Resilience on December 18th and 19th, 2014.The workshop aimed to provide Caribbean media and communication practitioners and active members of environmental youth organisations such as the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) and Caribbean Student Environmental Alliance (SEA) with relevant information and training on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and Climate Resilience.GWP-C recognises the critical importance of the role of Caribbean media and communication practitioners in advocating and building awareness on key development issues such as water security and its relationship with climate resilience. Also important to the GWP-C is encouraging and supporting young people and youth organisations to be fully active and engaged in learning and sharing knowledge on water and climate change issues.A key objective of the workshop is to also increase dialogue and knowledge exchange between media and communication practitioners and youth groups working on climate and water issues in the Caribbean.Special thanks to our partner, the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project (FACRP) who collaborated with us to facilitate the field trip component of the workshop.

The workshop was executed under the GWP-C’s Water, Climate and Development Programme (WACDEP).

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