Students in several schools throughout the Caribbean will soon be able to benefit from an intensive marine curriculum as part of a partnership between the Sandals Foundation, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and CARIBSAVE (INTASAVE Caribbean). Dubbed the “Save Our Seas Program,” the initiative was launched recently in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. The program will be implemented in 40 schools across the region with an emphasis on developing marine awareness and environmental stewardship.
According to Sandals Foundation Director of Programs, Heidi Clarke, the initiative represents the framework for a culture shift in environmental awareness. "The people of the Caribbean have relied upon the ocean for centuries but have not necessarily grasped the impact they have on its well-being. By teaching the next generation to understand how their actions affect the marine ecosystem and giving them ownership of its health, we can hopefully make a much needed change."
Features of the year-long program include: marine awareness videos, posters, activity books and competitions. Lesson plans will also target students in grades 6-8 and have been designed to be interactive as well as informative with topics covering Coral Reefs and Protecting Our Oceans, Creatures of the Sea- Marine Mammals and Sharks, Sea Turtles and Coastal Ecosystems and Climate Change.
Jamaican marine wildlife artist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey is patron of the program. His illustrations of sea life have been reproduced in prints, posters and clothing worldwide. Guy Harvey's Portraits from the Deep is a syndicated television series that combines the showcasing of sport fishing destinations with educational information from marine scientists. He has championed ocean conservation for many years and is a recognized authority on the discourse both regionally and globally. Dr. Harvey's esteemed endorsement of the program is not lost on the other organizers.
“Guy Harvey is an acclaimed conservationist and a true son of the Caribbean" says Clarke, “...having him onboard with this program really injects a degree of creativity and innovation the children are sure to be attracted to and they'll certainly be kept engaged throughout its entirety.”