All of our projects begin with education, since through awareness, you can generate action. Our goal is to get the students and teachers to discover and solve local environmental problems. They will then be a force of change for their country. Our long term vision is that the students and teachers actually witness environmental improvement from their actions and then lead others to sustainable living practices. In small island ecosystems, relatively minor actions can have an incredible impact so these students and their teachers can lead their countries to better environmental health which improves their economic health as well!
This past year has been a rough one for our host country. Hurricane Tomas and the landslides that followed it killed several people on the island, and covered the streets in mud, debris and sewage. Luckily, Mary Beth was able to take some Pur water tablets to the island so that everyone could have access to clean drinking water. We also hosted a Rainforest Camp for about 50 children again this year. The camp, which is free for St. Lucians, takes kids from different communities all over the island and teaches them about the ecology and beauty of their own island, and we brainstorm with the children to think of ways that we can protect the environment. We are very proud to say that the various community groups have now formed environmental groups that make significant changes in their areas and educate their peers. One group, the Dennery Cleaners in Action (C. I. A.), performed litter cleanups and water testing in the area and they are planning a fundraiser to pay for recycling cans (that they want to make) for the city. The Marigot group is working on an environmental play to entertain and educate children and adults alike. Another initiative that we are working on is to provide scholarships for some of our student leaders who can’t afford to go to school on their own. We have clearly seen the potential in our leaders and the children that we have been teaching in camp for years are now growing up. Unfortunately, part of that growing up often includes dropping out of school and going to work odd jobs instead. We hope to provide scholarships for several of our leaders this year.
- St Lucia Watershed Protection
- Environmental Education Training for Educators
- Reducing Sewage Discharge in the Bay
- Rainforest Camp
- Biogas Digester
- Community Groups
We operate in the USA under the name TenneSEA! Currently, we are working mostly out of Chattanooga, TN, but we are starting to expand beyond our namesake state! Our projects involve educating local schoolkids about their watershed and getting them involved in its protection. We are also coordinating a sustainable re-design of the parking lot and stormwater management of a local business center.
Our involvement in Dominica is extremely community driven! This past year, our main focus was on the Mero Beach community, where we partnered with the Rotary Club to restore a public bath house on the beach. The bathhouse, which used to drain directly into the ocean, now has its own wetland system that filters and cleans the water naturally. With the help of Liz and Izzy Madisetti and intern Brendan Morris, we also ran a camp in the Mero community for the children!
For 6 years we have partnered with Lee’s Reef Project, a local NGO in Curaçao, to bring environmental education training to teachers in the rural area and field classes for their children. Project Learning Tree has been a big focus of our educational efforts, with Al Stenstrup, Education Director for PLT often assisting with teacher training. At this point, we have a small group of teachers who have graduated into facilitators or trainers themselves and they lead the training for the rest of the teachers. They are the focus of our attention now, since they are at every school in the Band Abou region of Curaçao. This work is supported by the Catholic School Board, Aqualectra, and several grant funds in Curaçao. We also constructed our first wastewater garden in Curaçao for Sunset Waters Beach Resort and within six months after it started operating, the interns saw new growth in the reef that had been killed by the sewage.
We have recently started working in conjunction with electricity provider, EGE Haina, on sustainable community development work in the southwest region of the D.R. Our first tasks are to provide awareness raising workshops and activities in the schools in Enriquillo and engage them in activities to protect their local environment. In honor of World Water Day, Haina is sponsoring a community Beach Clean Up day to not only beautify their area, but raise awareness of the marine debris and what can be done about it.
- Reef Check
- Community Development
Our project lead, Sheila Carman, was a Peace Corps volunteer in Port Antonio, Jamaica and fell in love with the people and the region. The little community of Naylor’s Hill is our first focal point in Jamaica and not only will that include watershed protection and improvement, but it began with a collaboration with Engineers Without Borders to build part of a road to connect the community to services. When the monsoon like rains hit, the path they call a road is a river and washes out completely so no one can reach school or work. This is an essential first step for Naylor’s Hill Community.