The twelfth consecutive annual Sea and Learn was held in October. This year’s lecture series was considered one of the most successful in history. This writes The Daily Herald.
Every year, a group of scientists are invited to Saba to give a presentation on their field of expertise. Owner of Sea Saba dive centre and initiator and facilitator of Sea and Learn Lynn Costenaro said this was the busiest October month ever for her business. Also a record breaking number of tourists came to the island, which gave the entire tourism industry a boost.
Twenty-one-year old Serena Rivero arrived on Saba two months ago after graduating in Marine Biology in England. Together with Leslie Revel and Dahlia Hassell, she was one of three interns who organised Sea and Learn this year. Rivero was able to enjoy and explore the island through Sea and Learn, even though she was kept quite busy. “The most challenging and rewarding aspect was to motivate and inspire the children,” said Rivero, who is planning to work for Sea and Learn and at Sea Saba for at least another 18 months. She was amazed by the quantity and quality of experts coming to “such a small island.”
In total, 15 presentations were made by different experts at several locations on the island, such as Queen’s Garden resort and Bottom Bean café. Brent Winner opened the event October 1 at Breadline Plaza with a presentation on shark reproduction. Bob Powell, who is an expert on reptilian and amphibian life on Saba, gave a presentation at El Momo cottages on October 19 and Stephanie Bush closed the Sea and Learn programme on October 29 with a presentation on octopi and squid at Tropics café. In addition to the presentations, there were 14 field trips during which an expert accompanied locals and tourists to visit a specific location to turn theory into practice.
Another big hit this year was Youth Environmental Leadership Programme (YELP), which focuses on getting Saba’s youth involved in environmental sciences and conservation projects. YELP helps the children learn the value of teamwork, develop their leadership skills and build self-confidence. It’s YELP’s second year, and its goal remains to lead youths out of the classroom and into the “natural laboratory” of their home island. In September, local children were taught how to scuba dive by Leslie Revel of Sea and Learn and Sue Hurrell of Saba Conservation Foundation. From the initial e-learning and pool sessions until the actual dives, this programme was deemed a big success. In October, children went on field trips to Tent Reef, Ladder Bay and Wells Bay. Next year, there will be a new line-up of Sea and Learn experts and some more activities for children.