My Island Community Action Campaigns
St. Lucia – Local Soca Musicians create hype around Climate Change!
Secondary school students were screaming with excitement when popular recording musicians from St. Lucia performed at their schools. The musicians performed their popular songs in an outdoor concert with the themes in the music addressing climate change and biodiversity.
Engaging the musicians as climate change and environmental role models is an incredibly powerful way to shift the attitudes of teenage students. The immediate response from the school students was astounding. The performances were coupled with discussions on climate change, biodiversity conservation and the role of mangroves in ecosystem function, with professionals from the coalition, as well as with the visiting local musicians. Students were also treated to various memorabilia and promotional material on climate change.
The school visits culminated in a community cleanup of the Mankòtè Mangrove later in the year. This activity will bring students, friends, and family together to take action to protect this precious natural resources. The cleanup will also include a number of local musicians, the mascots and promote behavior change towards climate change and biodiversity conservation.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines – “Mangrove protect all ah we!”
“Mangrove protect all ah we! Let us protect them too!” was the motto heard across St. Vincent and the Grenadines as part of a series of entertaining activities focused on mobilizing communities to take action to protect and rehabilitate mangroves. The campaign activities included:
- Interactive activities led by the beloved mascot “Cuckoo” and friends raising awareness on his mangrove home with students of 5 primary schools.
- Discussions with more than 200 secondary school students – “I learnt that mangroves help to buffer the effects of waves and prevent them from destroying our beaches” Female Student.
- Two community street theater performances and video productions of the performance.
- Participation of 70 students and teachers who collected more than 30 bags of rubbish from two local mangrove areas.
Tobago – Kids experience nature first hand!
The Coral Reef and Wetlands Education Campaign (CRWEC) is an adventurous, educational program, designed for secondary schools throughout Tobago. The campaign resulted in engagement of more than 500 secondary school students in an adventurous, unforgettable, Experiential Learning Journey on one of the Caribbean’s largest Coral Reef/Wetland ecosystems – The Buccoo Reef Marine Park.
The CRWEC is focused on nurturing connectedness with nature in youth. The visits to the local Buccoo Reef Marine Park provide the experiential journey that is required to instill healthy relationships with nature as well as to take pride in one’s local environment. Both of these factors support the attitudinal shift to caring about nature and taking action to protect the environment. In addition to the experiential learning, the CRWEC resulted in development of curriculum-relevant content on the value of Wetlands and Coral Reefs of Tobago to senior students (third to sixth forms) of all secondary schools in Tobago as well as empowered teachers who are responsible for imparting knowledge of the Wetlands and Coral Reef aspects of the senior school syllabi, with methods, information and resource options. The CRWEC approach has been an incredibly successful pilot project that can be expanded, replicated, and may even become self-sustaining eventually.
The Bahamas – Get Smart!
In the Bahamas, more than 230 students and 150 fishermen were engaged in activities to raise awareness of the importance of local mangrove areas. The campaign was creative, entertaining and engaging. In October 2013, the campaign song written and produced by Stilleet was officially launched on Cool 96 FM, a local radio station that reaches more than 10,000 listeners daily and is made available on the local nature smart phone app “Click 242 Nature.” In addition, meetings were held with the campaign manager and local government officials to make key decision makers in the community aware of the campaign activities as well as the importance of mangrove areas. The local council gave their full support.
During the month of April and in partnership with local partners, community coastal cleanups were successfully completed which allowed local school groups and volunteers to participate. These cleanups were designed to move participants to action and to get them to adopt some of the key messages of the campaign, mainly that their responsibility and volunteering to clean up in the community would help safeguard local mangrove populations and keep our coasts clean. A total of 200 volunteers participated.
In partnership with the Bahamas National Trust and Friends of the Environment students, teachers and parents in South Abaco participated in a field trip to a mangrove ecosystem being proposed as a national park. Students learned about the importance of mangroves as nursery areas for juvenile marine life, their value to healthy fisheries and the role they play as a spawning site for bone fish. They were also taught the importance of keeping areas like these clean and learned of ways in which humans can impact these ecosystems and restore them back to their natural state.
In partnership with the Bahamas National Trust, approximately 150 fishermen were reached through community meetings regarding the protection of local mangroves. The Bahamas National Trust is proposing the protection of near shore habitats in East End, Grand Bahama to include mangroves as this type of ecosystem is underrepresented in the current inventory of national parks on Grand Bahama. Information on the campaign was presented during these meetings to educate fishermen on the importance of mangroves and the role they play in mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Grenada – New life for Mangrove Area!
One of the main featured activities of the Grenada campaign was a replanting effort at the Woburn Mangrove Restoration site. Previous attempts had been made on this site to rehabilitate the area but were hampered when the run-off from a local rum distillery killed the mangrove propagules (seedpods). Learning from this, a new approach was used, where the young mangroves were planted in raised boxes. In April, more than 200 persons aged from 5 to 50 assisted in the planting of the mangrove area.
We are very pleased to report that the mangroves are now growing strong and the area is on the road to rehabilitation. In addition to the rehabilitation at Woburn, the coalition members also did a major clean up of the Calivigny Mangrove area. Calivigny residents collected and removed dumped and transported items, such as plastic and glass drink bottles, vehicular oil and lubricant bottles, food containers and other items, from three mangrove stands in the community.
The My Island Community Action Campaigns have increased appreciation of the value of the islands’ mangroves, specifically the Mankòtè Mangrove, and built a well informed, engaged community who will take action to protect valuable ecosystems such as clean up and rehabilitation actions around mangrove sites.
These campaigns have resulted in more than 3,400 primary and secondary school students engaging in entertaining activities that strengthened their knowledge and shifted their attitudes towards nature and climate change. Additionally, more than 600 volunteers of all ages participated in the clean up and rehabilitation of local mangrove ecosystems, and more than 150 fishermen, who have a key role in the preservation of mangroves, were involved in community dialogues around the importance of mangrove ecosystems.
As articulated by a Teacher at Fair Hall Primary School in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,
For the last four year I have been hoping for something like this where students would have real life experiences of seeing mangroves… It’s just not telling them, but showing them what are mangroves. This is just a STEPPING STONE!
Indeed, as these activities continue, community members are participating in discussions and activities centered around environmental protection and a coalition of informed, next generation leaders are learning what’s necessary to protect the environment and preserve biodiversity for the future.
PCI Media Impact and WildlifeDirect have launched a global, anti-poaching themed "Ndovu" ("Elephant" in Swahili) Music Contest in East Africa. We are leveraging the support of Kenya’s famous Hip-Hop singer, Juliani, to promote this program throughout his large fan base and have launched a global call for songs across musical artists to submit their own songs addressing elephant conservation.