2022-2023 B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. Teacher Spotlight

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Often, we share comments about our B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. programs from the students’ perspectives. This year I would like to highlight our remarkable teachers. Teachers are the backbone of our mangrove education and restoration programs, and their crucial role cannot be overstated. Over the years, we have come to realize that the success of these programs hinges on the teachers’ willingness to embrace and seamlessly integrate them into their classrooms. Their dedication and passion for teaching have enabled us to achieve our goals of educating students about the significance of mangroves and instilling a sense of conservation in them.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the teachers who have been part of our programs, both the veterans who have been with us since the beginning and the new members who have recently joined our educational family. It is their incredible commitment that empowers us to make a lasting impact on the lives of students and cultivate a future generation that will protect and preserve our precious mangroves. It’s time to meet and celebrate our dedicated B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. teachers who make a significant difference every day!

2023 B.A.M. Student Voices

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Previously, you heard the voice of the students in our J.A.M.I.N. program. Now it’s time to hear how the students in The Bahamas feel about our B.A.M. program.

“Though I do not want to pursue a career in science or conservation, I still appreciate and I’m thankful that I am a part of something so important like the B.A.M. program.”
– Kaley Scott, Forest Heights Academy

Shining the Spotlight on Our Partner, Trudy-Ann Campbell

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After a hiatus of over two years due to the unforeseen impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were eager to resume the Jamaica Awareness of Mangroves in Nature (J.A.M.I.N.) this past school year. With its return came several changes, and one of the most exciting additions this year was the arrival of Trudy-Ann Campbell, the new outreach officer at the UWI Discovery Bay Marine Lab —a valued partner in the J.A.M.I.N. initiative.

In her role as the outreach officer, Trudy takes charge of organizing educational activities for both primary and secondary school students. Her responsibilities extend beyond the classroom as she collaborates with organizations like ours to deliver educational programs that create environmental awareness among youth. Moreover, Trudy works closely with local communities, empowering them to actively participate in the preservation and conservation of their mangroves…

Together Again: The Return of B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N.

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The chilly winter season doesn’t seem so dreary now that I’m returning, not only to Jamaica to implement the second phase of our Jamaica Awareness of Mangroves in Nature (J.A.M.I.N.) program, but I’m also getting the Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (B.A.M.) program operational again …

Connecting Students to Nature

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The sun is blazing intensely in a cloudless sky, and the lack of a breeze makes the sulfur, rotten egg-like smell even more intense. It feels like 95°F (35°C) and I am sweating profusely as I trudge through the mangroves, one of my favorite marine ecosystems. It feels like home to me.

After two and a half years of putting the J.A.M.I.N. program on hold, I am quickly reminded how much I missed not only teaching and interacting with students face-to-face, but also being in the mangroves. The same feelings happen to me every time I venture into this amazing ecosystem: feelings of curiosity, awe, and respect, mixed with a sense of calm tranquility. And it is these same kinds of feelings we hope to foster in our students while they participate in our program…

Welcome, Saskia! KSLOF welcomes a master’s student to study our Mangrove Education & Restoration Program

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Six months ago, I was certain that I would be travelling to Indonesia to research mangrove crabs for my master’s thesis. The project was funded, and I was prepared to leave for Indonesia when suddenly, I received information that local fishermen could not catch enough crabs for me to conduct research. At such a late date, this was incredibly stressful news!

Around this time, I began to wonder if I could picture myself in the biological sciences or if I should make a step towards the field of social science. During my travels around the world, I was always interested (and often shocked) to observe the interaction between humans and nature. A few years ago, I travelled to southeast Asia to study whale shark populations. While studying these majestic creatures, I noticed the interactions occurring between tourists and the whale sharks. I had moments where I was frustrated, angry, and emotional, seeing whale sharks startle tourists who would fearfully kick and hit the whale sharks. Not only did I get angry at the tourists but at the local people working in this industry; however, after getting to know the locals and seeing their dismal economic situation, I began to think differently. I wanted to understand local people and their problems. I realized that in order to make a difference, you need to incorporate social sciences into environmental science, so that both can find a way to live in harmony.

J.A.M.I.N. Students’ Discovery a First for Port Antonio

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Despite an earthquake, our resilient J.A.M.I.N. students from Port Antonio and Titchfield High Schools were back in their classrooms and ready to investigate the presence of mangrove disease earlier this year. Our students were the first to research the occurrence of mangrove disease in Port Antonio, Jamaica. They were ready and eager to begin.

Mangrove Tannin: The Power of Healing

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Throughout human history, compounds found in plants and animals have been used to heal an array of medical conditions. Traditional medicine, sometimes referred to as “bush” or “folk” medicine, was used to treat ailments prior to the emergence of modern medicine. Many of these customs are still being practiced today. The healing properties of mangroves were first discovered by those practicing traditional medicine. Like with modern-day medicine, many of its uses were discovered through trial and error. When a cure worked, the knowledge and information was passed along from generation to generation.

Mangrove Tannin: What is it?

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In January, our second-year J.A.M.I.N. students were tasked with collecting a variety of growth measurements from the mangrove trees that they tagged and identified inside their quadrats. Before we started, I wanted to review the characteristics that are unique to each species of mangroves, a skill they learned previously during the first year of the program. I decided to quiz the students instead. “How can we identify the red mangrove?” I asked. The replies came quickly. “Prop and drop roots.” “Pointy, thick leaves.” “Green bean-like propagules.” All correct. But among the flurry of eager replies, one stood out as several students shouted in unison. “Red tannin!”