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. Read more
YAY! We survived!! Call me crazy, but I love Rainforest Camp!
This was my second time at the camp near the Des Cartier trail in St. Lucia (and Caribbean SEA’s 5th year of camp!) and even though by the end I was sleep deprived, covered in mosquito bites and extremely dirty, I would go back right now! You know, I am not a big fan of teenagers (and this year, camp was for 11-15 year olds) because they never really want to actually DO anything… They lose that enthusiasm that younger kids have. I think that they (think they) would much rather prefer just sitting around the camp talking to the other kids or better yet, eating, but once you get them to participate, it is amazing! For example, on Wednesday night, our favorite entomologist and counselor, Brendan, hooked up a light trap to attract bugs and I’m sure you can imagine the moans and groans we heard when the kids heard that they would have to look for bugs instead of planning their mushing attack plans, but once we gave them their containers and put them in front of that light, they didn’t want to stop! They wanted to know what every bug was and kept asking for bug containers during the rest of the camp so that they could look at the bugs they would find!
Our focus this year was Reforestation – the campsite was actually affected by multiple landslides after the hurricane and so it was a perfect area to plant trees that we gathered from another nearby trail. We also took the kids to snorkel at beautiful Anse Chastanet where we could show what a healthy reef looks like compared to those that have been smothered in sediment that flows from the rivers everytime it rains. And trust me, we had plenty of rain while we were there! The sad thing, although it made for a great teaching tool, the rivers surrounding our camp (and therefore our water, although our source is higher up on the mountain) were running orange because of all the sedimentation… but you know, that’s why we planted trees! and the Forestry Department of Saint Lucia has been preparing for a major islandwide reforestation day!
For even more fun, as part of our 5 year celebration, we got to go ziplining in Dennery! It was so much fun! We had some kids who were reluctant but once you got them on the line – WEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
I have pictures loaded and on Facebook, and as soon as I get to a steady enough internet signal I can add them on here… (We’ll talk about what MaryBeth and I are doing right now on another post I think!). Until then, ciao mis amigos!
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