2016 - 2018
The Reef Guardians Schools Pilot Project (Reef Guardian) will be implemented in the South Coast Marine Conservation Area. Funding for this work has been provided by the Direct Aid Program via the Australian High Commission, Australian Aid Program.
The Reef Guardian Schools Pilot Project, Under the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (GoSVG) and the Caribbean Challenge Initiative (CCI), is aimed to protect 20% of marine and near-shore biological resources by 2020. By the end of 2016 the GoSVG is hoping to declare, designate, and operationalize the South Coast Marine Park (SCMP), encompassing 4 major beaches on the south side of St. Vincent. The communities of Blue Lagoon/Canash, Calliaqua, Indian Bay, Ratho Mill and Villa all depend on the marine and coastal resources located within the proposed SCMP.
The marine ecosystems within this area are considered ideal for marine and coastal ecosystem health and resilience, and thus create the main tourist hub on mainland St. Vincent due to the abundant picturesque bays, white sand beaches, and coral reefs. Unfortunately, these marine and coastal resources are under immense threats from a diverse range of drivers and stressors. There has been severe degradation in the proposed SCMP due to unsustainable fishing practices, anchor damage, solid waste deposition, sedimentation, and unplanned development within the area. The degradation is compounded low levels of awareness, appreciation, stewardship and pride by members of the local communities and nationals.
Until recently, public education and outreach programs have been very limited, ad hoc, and sporadic with no mechanism to assess the effectiveness of said programs. The Reef Guardian Schools Pilot Project is expected to address these educational challenges.
The project aims to enhance the effective management of the proposed SCMP and eventually scale up to other areas across SVG, while providing opportunities for students and adult education, outreach, and citizen science.
The objective of this project is to foster a new generation of environmentally-minded students who will actively engage in hands-on activities both in the classroom and in the field. By providing nature-based environmental education experiences that are firmly rooted in local coastal environments, it is hoped that students will gain a greater degree of awareness, understanding, appreciation, and stewardship for the protection and sustainable management of the local marine and coastal resources.
This project was officially launched in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College on the 9th of December, 2016.
For More information on the Australian High Commission and the Direct Aid Program, click the link: http://trinidadandtobago.embassy.gov.au/ptsp/cooperation.html
The Reef Guardian School Pilot Program did a presentation at the Calliaqua Anglican School on Tuesday 9th January, 2018. The Presentation focused mainly on Pollution - types, effects and means of prevention. A presentation was also done at the Sugar Mill Academy on Wednesday 10th January, 2018, focusing on Protected Areas in SVG. The presentations forms part of the public awareness and education component of the Program.
The (SCMCA) Reef Guardian School Pilot Programme held a “Ridge to Reef” Field Trip with the Calliaqua Anglican School on the 27th April, 2018. The “Ridge to Reef” field trip started from Fansomby Hill Look-Out Point and ended at the Calliaqua Bridge. The objective of the field trip is to allow students to make connection between what they have learnt in the classroom and the actual field. Also to witness firsthand the impact of climate change and other natural and anthropogenic drivers and stressors that affect the South Coast Marine Conservation Area.
The South Coast Marine Conservation Area (SCMCA) Reef Guardian Farmers Pilot program in collaboration with Agriculture Extension Unit held a “Ridge to Reef” Field Trip on Tuesday 26th June, 2018. The “Ridge to Reef” field trip activities included; a land and a sea tour of the SCMCA. The objectives of the field trip were to build awareness among farmers on the use of “Good Agricultural Practices” that contributes to Marine Ecosystem (Reef) health, and to transfer best farming practice among farmers.