Grenada’s coral reefs were the focus in the Grenville Bay Area (GBA) from 26 March through 1 April, as The Nature Conservancy, Grenada Fund for Conservation, Grenada Red Cross, local communities and the Government of Grenada hosted Reef Week.
As part of the At the Water’s Edge (AWE) project, Reef Week’s educational and entertaining activities built awareness about the importance of Grenada’s natural ecosystems.
The week kicked-off with two beach clean-ups in Telescope and Soubise, and a launch ceremony, featuring remarks from the Environment Division and project partners. On 28 and 29 March, 19 schools from throughout Grenada visited the project site on Telescope beach to understand the effects of coastal erosion and learn about the important role coral reefs and mangroves play in protecting Grenada’s coasts and enhancing food security. Students gained hands-on experience in conservation practices through planting mangroves, using drones, measuring beach erosion and testing water quality. They also learned about sea turtles from experts at Ocean Spirit.
Over 800 students from the following primary and secondary schools attended the school visits:
Anglican High School
St Michael’s RC School
Telescope Primary School
St Patrick’s Anglican
Tivoli RC School
St Giles Anglican School
Paraclete Government School
Holy Innocents Anglican School
Alpha Junior School
St Andrew’s Methodist
Holy Cross RC School
St George’s SDA Primary
St David’s Catholic Secondary School
Grenada Montessori School
Belair Government School
St Joseph’s Convent Grenville
St Andrew’s RC School
“The 800+ students who visited are our future environmental stewards. The ripple effect when messages are communicated back to their classmates, families and communities will continue to drive home the message that by conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends, we can create a future in which people and nature thrive,” says Nealla Frederick, Conservation Planner with The Nature Conservancy.
Other activities included an outdoor movie night for families featuring Disney’s Moana, about a young girl’s journey to restore biodiversity in the sea. On Saturday 1 April, Reef Week culminated with an environmental extravaganza held in Grenville, where attendees enjoyed educational games and cultural performances by Tivoli Drummers, Mad Kastle and the Rainbow City Charm Dancers. The extravaganza included informational booths from the Environment Division, the ICCAS Project-GIZ, UNDP, and the Fisheries Division. The winners of the student art contest, Dayaneara George (Grenada SDA Comprehensive School), Shelisha Pascal and Sherisa Williams (Beulieu RC School) and Emma Scott (Chantimelle RC School), were also presented with their awards.
The At the Water’s Edge (AWE) project has been working with communities since 2013 to build resilience against the impacts of climate change, such as coastal erosion and severe flooding, with the use nature-based solutions. In addition to Reef Week, the project also includes ongoing educational outreach, capacity building, mangrove restoration, and reef re-engineering. In 2015, pilot hybrid reef structures were installed within Grenville Bay. These structures mimic the functions of naturally occurring reefs, and are currently monitored to inform the design and placement of additional structures. With the full build-out, these structures have the potential to reduce the wave energy which causes significant erosion to Telescope beach, while also providing habitat for fish, coral, and other biodiversity within the Bay.