Today was our “Coral Avengers” team’s first full day in Grand Case; joining me on this trip are my colleagues from Fishlife Aquariums and GE research scientist Dr. Michael Gerdes. Every trip to St. Martin is a whirlwind of meetings and activities as we develop our reef restoration and education project on the island. Our day started with a strategy meeting over croissants with Mark Yokoyama of the environmental education non-profit Les Fruit De Mer, located in Grand Case.
The group currently provides educational programs to local students, informational booths at local festivals, and snorkeling events for public exposure to the regions marine wildlife, and has published an extensive field guide to the terrestrial animals on St. Martin. Written by Les Fruits De Mer co-founder Mark Yokoyama, “Wildlife of St. Martin” is a used by local schools for educating students on their island home, and is sold in stores and at events.
We will be working with Mark and Les Fruits De Mer to produce a “Marinelife of St. Martin” book to be used as an educational guide in schools in St Martin, and in New York and Connecticut schools for our the Reef Ecology and the Coral Genetics courses we are developing with our partners at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the high schools in our network.
In addition to the Marinelife guide, we will be coordinating with the organization to develop additional programs for local students, study abroad students from the US, and outreach programs and videos for the general public. We are all very excited to further develop our relationship with Mark and his organization.