SABA–The tenth Sea and Learn season, which marked the 25th anniversary of the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF), ended last week Saturday evening, October 27, with several presentations held at Shearwater Resort.
Sea and Learn organizer, Lynn Costenaro thanked the volunteers, the scientists, researchers, the sponsors and organizations that worked together to make
this programme a reality, particularly Prince Bernhard Culture Fund, KulturA and William Froelich Foundation. The Sea and Learn volunteers, Luann Andrew, Fred Bower, Scott Kinyon, Judith Westveer and Jerry Williams received acclaims for their efforts and a special thanks was given to Susan Hurrell, SCF youth programmes coordinator.
Instead of talking about her work and dedication to Saba’s youth, the evening’s surprise presenter was 14-year-old Shadan Lavia. Having been a part of
Saba Conservation Foundation’s youth programmes for the last six years, he talked about the various activities and the difference this had made in his and others’ lives.
The presentation was followed by Sea and Learn Teen Club organized by Micheline Hinse, who with the support of Elka Charles brought the youth in greater
numbers this year to the public presentations, also coordinating all the school activities that each of the visiting scientists held with the youth.
Artists Joan Burke and Stacey Simmons also presented about the ambitious “symbiosis” art mural project they started in Fort Bay Harbour during the Sea and Learn season. They talked abouttheir work with Saba’s youth in developing the theme and composition exemplifying symbiosis relationships in nature, and taking it as a metaphor for people working together within the community to help “support the earth.” With phase one completed during this month, the mural will be Saba’s largest. The final phase of completion is expected by next spring.
The evening’s feature presentations were by Julian LeQuellec, chief ranger at Reserve Naturelle Saint Barthelemy and herpetologist Professor Michel Breuil, a board member of the French Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. LeQuellec spoke about the efforts to save Iguana delicatissima in the neighbouring island, while Breuil gave a broader genetic differentiation and geographic Caribbean distribution of the various iguana species.
The presentations covered over 25 years of research and measures taken in the French West Indies, the hybridization dynamics and the invasion of a South
American iguana threatening unique local species. He presented the distinguishing features of the “Black Iguana of Saba”. Saba’s black iguana was described as endemic with close ties to similar iguanas in Montserrat.
Among the highlights throughout the final week of the Sea and Learn season was the Sunday presentation at Queen’s Gardens Resort by Aschwin Engelen on Sargassum brown seaweed’s distribution, its role as habitat in the geographic distribution of various marine species and its potential uses as it reaches Saba’s shores. Tuesday at Scout’s Place, Martin de Graaf presented on “Fish and Fisheries around Saba.” It is hoped that his research, currently conducted in Saba’s waters, will highlight trends with direct policy implications on the sustainability of local fisheries.
Paul Sikkel presented Thursday outside Eden Restaurant on fish parasites, a species of gnathiidispod, which he collected in a previous visit to Saba, and which turned out not to have been previously described scientifically. He and his South African colleagues named the new parasite Caribbean species Gnathia Marleyi, in honour of Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley.
Source: The Daily Herald, October 29, 2012