For the past 5 years, the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation has worked with students in Jamaica to teach them about mangroves and help them restore local mangrove forests through the Jamaican Awareness of Mangrove in Nature (J.A.M.I.N.) program. This year, the Foundation partnered with the Alligator Head Foundation to bring the J.A.M.I.N. Mangrove Education and Restoration Program to more students than ever before. This partnership brings together two organizations that share similar goals to provide educational opportunities for children.
With the project’s celebration of their 5-year anniversary, Amy Heemsoth, the Director of Education for the Living Oceans Foundation, and Denise Henry, Research Programme Manager for Alligator Head Foundation, replanted the J.A.M.I.N. seed and invigorated teachers, students, and community members in the Portland area of Jamaica to get involved. Their team of researchers and educators led high school students and facilitators through the Alligator Head Foundation’s mangrove forests and nursery out-planting, taught the basics of mangrove biology through a series of captivating lectures, and completed a mangrove planting experiment for students to employ their newfound research techniques.
This week, students from Titchfield and Port Antonio High Schools helped to restore the Alligator Head Foundation’s mangrove forest by planting trees and cleaning up the forest. For the students, it was the culmination of the mangrove education and restoration program they participated in throughout the school year, and a chance for them to put the environmental conservation they learned into action.
Students participating in the J.A.M.I.N. program learn how ecologically important mangroves are to islands and coastal areas. They stabilize shorelines and protect the coasts from waves, they recycle nutrients, naturally filter sewage and runoff, and provide a nursery for marine fisheries. For the Caribbean, an area subject to tropical storms and hurricanes, mangroves play their part to mitigate destruction caused by severe weather. As tropical storms are projected to increase in severity due to climate change, the future of Jamaica’s coastlines depends on the efforts of international and regional organizations, like the Living Oceans Foundation and Alligator Head Foundation, in order to combat these impending consequences.