DEMA Mangrove Planting in Wheeland Pond, Blue Hills
On November 20th, 2015, five children from the International School of the Turks and Caicos Islands participated in a mangrove planting activity at Wheeland Pond in Blue Hills, together with 3 other schools.
More about the Primary Schools participating in the DEMA Mangrove Planting.
Planting the mangoves together
It was a partnership between the Turks and Caicos National Trust and the Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) to promote bird and habitat conservation education and advocacy for good habitat management in the TCI.
In total 20 children along with representatives from the National Trust and DEMA planted mangrove and mahogany seedlings. They also participated in a bird watching exercise.
Among the schools involved were Oseta Jolly Primary School, BEST Institute, Provo Primary School and the International School of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Prior to the planting outreach coordinator for DEMA, Amy Avenant, explained to the children the importance of the habitat and the mangroves.
Taking care of the mangrove seedlings at the water’s edge
As you can see from the pictures, the children enjoyed the activity and participated with enthusiasm. Well done Brooke (grade 6), Sam (grade 5), Grace (grade 4), Emma and Shaurya (grade 3).
Jonathan Sayao, the trust’s public awareness education programme manager, on Tuesday (November 24) said that their primary objective was to get the community involved with the children in planting the seedlings of the red mangroves along the banks.
Sayao also said that the day was celebrated under this theme because they recognised that the Wheeland Pond in that area is a very important habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Sayao concluded by stating that mangroves are a very important part of the ecology because they protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods.
They also helped prevent erosion by stabilising sediments with their tangled root systems. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.
Likewise, they slow down tidal water enough so its sediment is deposited as the tide comes in, leaving all except fine particles when the tide ebbs. In this way, mangroves build their own environments.
Because of the uniqueness of mangrove ecosystems and the protection against erosion they provide, they are often the object of conservation programs, including national biodiversity action plans.
The unique ecosystem found in the mesh of mangrove roots offers a quiet marine region for young marine organisms and forms a pretty good nursery.