PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Last week the Nature Foundation visited the second form of Milton Peters College to teach the students about the importance of our coral reefs and about the Foundation’s Coral Restoration Project. Worldwide coral reefs are declining due to global warming, pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction, St Maarten’s coral reefs are also facing several threats and Hurricane Irma left a large impact as well.
The Coral Restoration Project is aimed to restore St Maarten reefs with Staghorn and Elkhorn coral species by establishing a coral nursery to grow coral and transplant them back to selected sites. “The students were amazed by the corals and their beauty; hopefully we inspired them to help protect our coral reefs!” says Nature Foundations Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.
Additionally, the first form of Milton Peters Collage students visited Mullet Pond and learned about the importance of mangroves and wetlands, and how they protect us from storm surge. “Mullet pond is listed and protected as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Treaty. Wetlands, including Mullet Pond, are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival. They also provide countless benefits or “ecosystem services” ranging from biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation. With the visit of Mullet Pond we created the opportunity for these students to see and learn about this important wetland habitat themselves” continued the manager Tadzio Bervoets.
The students also learned about the impact of trash on marine life and therefore performed a cleanup at Mullet Bay Beach as part of the Reduce and Reuse St. Maarten project. About 25 students collected 370.95 pounds of trash in just half an hour, by using the Trash Tracker method developed by Ocean Cleanup Organization 4Oceans by weighing all the collected trash and using reusable bags and gloves. “We are proud on these students because of their hard work this day, achievements and willingness to help the environment of St Maarten. These students maybe the future generation to protect our natural environment and that is very much needed on St Maarten!” concluded a Nature Foundation statement.