Organisers are putting the final touches on the eleventh issue of month-long Sea and Learn season of nature conservation lectures and activities in Saba, writes The Daily Herald. The vibrant lecture series brings nature researchers from across the world to Saba, as well as scientists interested in the island’s rich bio-diversity its marine and terrestrial nature parks provide. The nature experts return the hospitality through awareness-raising school presentations, afterschool activities, lectures, field projects and guided trips for residents and tourists.
This joint public-private endeavour enjoys a very long list of community-based and international sponsors. Main financial sponsors are KulturA and Mondriaan Foundation, Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and William Froelich Foundation. This year, Sea and Learn received additional funding from Prince Bernhard Fund for a youth environmental leadership programme. Project leader Scott Kinyon said that every year, the fund covers transportation expenses for guest lecturers. This year, additional funding allows for local youths to take centrestage in all activities. Saba Conservation Foundation’s snorkel club finished the open water pool training for youths participating in the upcoming field trips, on Wednesday. Local youth leader Shadan Lavia (15) will be involved as mentor liaison between the young participants and visiting conservation researchers. In addition to teaching youngsters how to dive, the organisers will be teaching scientific research and conservation monitoring skills. This will allow them to act as assistants to the guest scientists broadening the youths’ career perspectives.
Organisers also received financial support for a multimedia project. Last year, they developed video material for the local television station and received “tremendous positive” feedback, said co-owner of Sea Saba Dive Center and Sea and Learn founder Lynn Costenaro. Together with her team, she hopes to repeat the community outreach success while also developing a DVD of the month-long series of activities.
The 11th Sea and Learn season will be opened with a feature presentation by Adrian del Nevo titled “Saba’s Tropicbirds,” at Bread-Breadline Plaza in Windwardside at 5:30pm on October 1. Del Nevo holds multiple academic positions and a doctorate in seabird population ecology. For a year, he has led ecological scientific expeditions, taking a leading role in the conservation science of one of Europe’s most endangered seabirds, the roseate tern. A member of many conservation organisations on both sides of the Atlantic and in the Caribbean, he is currently working on a book to be titled The Birds of the Dutch Caribbean and seeks to “re-discover” the Antillean Euphonia in Saba.