Ocean Education – Let the Games Begin
Co-authored by Stephanie Roach, Waitt Institute Program Manager
The Waitt Institute team is made up of people who spent their childhoods playing at the beach, swimming in the calm turquoise Caribbean Sea, and learning about the amazing, diverse creatures that live beneath the surface. Each of us fell in love with the ocean at a young age, and we’ve been thrilled to be able to share that love, excitement, and wonder with the children of Barbuda over the last two summers.
Two years ago, Ayana started a kids ocean summer camp on Barbuda, as part of the Blue Halo Initiative, with the support of local teachers. It was a week of art projects, games, singing, films, and interpretive dance. Last summer, Stephanie took the reins and added snorkeling, a field trip to the mangroves, a boat trip through the Codrington lagoon, a beach cleanup, and other activities explaining how our actions on land affect the sea.
For many of the kids, Blue Halo‘s summer camp is their first time snorkeling along the coast and visiting the mangroves. This critical step in ocean conservation — building a deeper connection between young people and their waters, and building deeper knowledge of how it’s all connected — is key to ensuring a brighter ocean future. It’s a thrill to watch young eyes light up as kids connect the dots between parrotfish pooping sand and sandy beaches, and between the plastic bags strewn on the sand and the sea turtles they love eating mistaking them for jellyfish.