WASHINGTON, DC – The Waitt Institute sponsored the third annual Blue Halo Kids Ocean Camp last week on Barbuda as part of Blue Halo Barbuda. Thirty-six students, ages 7-13, participated in ocean and conservation-themed activities, games, and field trips to build a stronger appreciation and understanding of the waters around their island.
The weeklong camp was led by Stephanie Roach, Waitt Institute Program Manager, and focused on ocean conservation topics and marine biology and ecosystems around Barbuda. The camp also included three snorkeling field trips to local beaches, a boat trip to learn about the Magnificent Frigatebird Sanctuary in the Codrington Lagoon, and a beach cleanup at Two Foot Bay.
“I strongly believe that the Blue Halo camp was effective and beneficial to the students as it helped to teach them how they can conserve and protect the natural resources found in and around Barbuda,” said Cynthia Yearwood, sixth grade science teacher at Holy Trinity School on Barbuda. “The kids were completely engaged while doing something educational.”
Since the start of the Blue Halo Initiative in 2012, the Waitt Institute has hosted a kids’ ocean summer camp every summer on Barbuda. These camps get students out of the classroom and encourage hands-on activities. After introducing ocean science topics in a morning session, students take field trips every afternoon to a different part of the island for activities such as snorkeling, beach cleanups, and playing ocean conservation-themed games about the ocean, in the ocean.
In addition to summer ocean camps, the Waitt Institute participates and contributes to marine science and ocean conservation lessons taught during the school year on all three Blue Halo Initiative sites: Barbuda, Montserrat, and Curaçao. The Waitt Institute’s education goal is to develop and enhance an understanding of the ocean, sustainable use of ocean resources, and to foster a generation of ocean leaders and stakeholders by building lasting relationships and collaborate with government officials and educators.
“It’s exciting to share my enthusiasm for the ocean with kids, and to teach them about the relationship between their island and the ocean,” said Roach. “The camps are designed to get kids excited about the ocean and share that excitement with their peers, and also with their parents.”
For more information on the Kids Ocean Camp in Barbuda, and other Blue Halo camps to take place this summer, see the National Geographic blog post, “Ocean Education – Let the Games Begin!”