MPC High School students learn about Coral Restoration and clean up Mullet Bay Beach with the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation

Photo: 1. MPC students with Nature Foundation staff after a successful cleanup at Mullet BayG, Photo: 1. MPC students with Nature Foundation staff after a successful cleanup at Mullet BayG,

PHILISBURG, St. Maarten - Last Friday the Nature Foundation visited fourth form students of the Milton Peters College in order to provide information about the Sint Maarten Coral Restoration Project and to teach students about the impact of solid waste pollution on the environment, marine and wild life.

The coral restoration project (RESCQ) from the Nature Foundation is centred on restoring Elkhorn (Acropora palmata) and Staghorn (A.  cervicornis) coral by growing coral fragments in coral nurseries. After a period of time coral will be transplanted at selected restoration sites. “The students learned about the importance of our coral reefs, threats to corals and how we restore corals in St Maarten.

They were fascinated about this interesting subject as none of them knew much about corals and our reefs” said Nature Foundation Projects Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

The MPC students also learned about the negative impacts of trash and garbage on nature and the environment. “As an island, our trash and garbage will wash down to the beach straight into our oceans. Birds, marine life and wild life are often found dead with stomachs full of plastic. Research from 2015 shows that 48% of fish tested had plastic in their stomach, by 2050 it is expected to have more plastic in the ocean than fish! This was enough motivation for the students to clean up our beaches, which they also did thoroughly at Mullet Bay after the presentation. About sixty students removed thirty bags of garbage from Mullet Bay Beach, most of them were surprised of the high amounts of straws, cigarette buds and plastic bottles which were found during the cleanup,” continued Meijer zu Schlochtern.

The Foundation and teachers were impressed at the motivation of the students and hope that future generations continue to not litter and to protect St Maarten’s environment. Nature is our Future; let’s keep our island clean together.

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