Dominica after Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Relief for Dominica

Our co-workers and associates in Dominica were devastated by Hurricane Maria September 20.

Hurricane Maria intensified to a vicious Category 5 storm just as it slammed in the picturesque island of Dominica.

The lush green landscape is now brown. The rainforest trees and all trees are now stripped bare. Landslides and flooding have collapsed roads and villages.

We have friends and colleagues from all parts of Dominica who are now homeless. Our Rotary friends, our friends who are scientists, educators, farmers, government workers, including those who provide water and electricity, are also homeless. Many churches are gone. Schools won’t reopen until January at the earliest.

Funds collected will go directly to the rebuilding effort of those friends and colleagues coordinated through our St Lucia office. Most of us have never experienced the fury of Category 5 hurricanes, but we all can help those who have.

Please consider donating to help them get back on their feet and back to protecting the delicate ecosystem.

 

Celebrate Stringers Branch

Celebrate Stringers Branch

Come join us in the second special event of our new watershed group, Friends of Red Bank Streams!  Learn about the life of the creek as well as why it is posted “do not touch”….and why the critters ignore that!  Join our watershed group in finding ways to continue to improve and restore Stringers Branch.

 

Saturday, June 3, from 9 am – 12 pm

3108 Elmore Avenue in Red Bank

Celebrate Stringers Branch

Celebrate Stringers Branch

 

 

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!

 

Save Water, Drink Wine 2017 was FABULOUS!

Thanks for the great welcome back!  Save Water, Drink Wine was so fabulous this year!!! Many thanks to our SPONSORS and VOLUNTEERS and EVERYONE WHO CAME for making this our best year yet! Our organizing committee went above and beyond to make it a smashing success.  Cindy Webster, Patrick Emmanuel and Matt Ryan started things […]

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.

Sapelo Island Teacher’s Workshop has been funded by VW!

Thanks to VW Chattanooga, the Sapelo Island Teacher’s Workshop run by our wonderful Jim Watson is happening once again! Dates this year are June 8-12 and applications will be available soon. You must attend a meeting with Jim to be eligible to apply. We will let you know when the application meetings are as soon as we set them up!

Cuba protects life in the Caribbean at Jardines de la Reina

 

https://nyti.ms/1JfyaTZ

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.

Save Water Drink Wine Caribbean SEA Chattanooga February 11

Save Water Drink Wine

Come join us in our annual event to protect the water by enjoying wine and tapas at The Barn Nursery!  Silent and live auction items this year from each of our Chattanooga area and Caribbean watersheds!  Wine provided by Panoram Imports, local wine distributors, and some of our wonderful regional vineyards.  Tapas provided by local restaurants which in the past have included Mrs. B’s Reggae Cafe, 212 Market, Terra Nostra, Niedlov’s , Conga Latina, Pruetts Signal Mountain Market and Publix.

Tickets are $45 in Advance and $50 dollars the day of the Event.

2016 End of Year Appeal

It’s time to think about water. Our Southeastern streams dried up during this drought and many communities were on severe water restrictions. Our mountains burned. We are so thankful for these first rainy days in months, but our need to protect our water will never end. Will you help?

From elementary school students and cub scouts to Master’s Students, SEA invests much time, energy and enthusiasm to engage them to be better stewards of our water. Forest Kindergartners at Red Bank Elementary investigate “their” creek every day they are outside. When we first started working with this school, the students did not know the creek existed right in their own backyard. Now, they say it is “their” creek.   They were happy for the recent rain, but really wished the creek didn’t transform into a raging muddy river. As the kindergartners said, we need clean water so “more animals can live and drink water so they won’t die” and so we can “Save the crawdads!”


In San Mateo, Belize, there REALLY is NO away.  When they flush the toilet or sit in the outhouse, the waste drops directly under their home. The neighboring wealthy community of San Pedro uses San Mateo as their dump.  Want to guess what’s in their water?  We train San Mateo kids, like Myrna and her brother, Dixon, as citizen scientists at our Kids 4 Clean Water camp.  When we first met Myrna, she was a quiet 9 year old girl taking care of lots of siblings, particularly her youngest brother, whose body was covered with sores and ringworm. Now Myrna is 14 and one of our student leaders in San Mateo. This year, they got the attention of the Water Company and Red Cross when they presented their map of HOMES whose tap water was contaminated. Health concerns from dirty water are REAL in San Mateo, Belize.

From Belize to Chattanooga, water should be clean and available to all. That’s what our goal is and you can help us achieve it. Can you help Myrna and the Kindergarteners at Red Bank Elementary take care of our water? Please consider a donation this holiday season to help us provide clean water for others.

Thank you so much!
With best regards,
Mary Beth H. Sutton
Executive Director

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.