The multiple events of the 2022 Sea and Learn Saba drew good crowds and involved a large part of the island’s population, from young to old.
This year’s month-long program counted on the presence of 14 scientists and experts from the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Canada and the Netherlands. The expertise of the invited scientists and specialists ranged from sargassum, coral health and disease, land crabs, volcanoes and sea urchins to snails, animal pupils, spiders, anoles and the ciguatera disease.
Aside from the well-attended evening-time presentations and field trips, Sea and Learn this year broadened its outreach by involving even more local children and senior citizens, explained Emily Malsack of Sea and Learn.
All 14 scientists and experts went to the two schools, Child Focus, some of the afterschool clubs of the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS) and to the Life Center for the elderly to share their knowledge and to interact with the children and senior citizens.
The presentations at the Life Center counted on the participation of close to 300. The participation of children reached more than 500 during the daily interaction of the scientists and experts in fun, hands-on educational sessions.
“Every child, kindergarten and up, was exposed to Sea and Learn. We make science fun for children and senior citizens. Sea and Learn connects the invited scientists with the community, giving everyone a reason to look forward to October,” said Lynn Costenaro of Sea and Learn. Including those persons who followed the livestreams, the program reached thousands of people.
One of the goals of Sea and Learn is to create connections between the visiting scientists/experts and local organizations and initiatives. For example, coral health and disease expert Erinn Muller and the Saba Conservation Foundation (SCF) will continue to work together. Snail expert Tello Neckheim visited the Garden at The Level to explain what good and bad snails are and how to deal with them at an organic farm. Saba sea urchin scientist Alwin Hylkema and sea urchin expert Julia Notar. “We hope to contribute to a stronger connection between the experts and the new Marine Lab on Saba,” said Costenaro.
A special addition to the Sea and Learn 2022 program was the Youth Environmental Leadership Program (YELP) of Sea and Learn. Three SCS students who did the six-weeks program during the summer at which time they obtained their junior advanced PADI certification and learned about underwater scientific methods, did specific dives with the visiting scientists to collect data. “The scientists were very impressed with the students’ level,” said Malsack.
This was the 19th edition of Sea and Learn since its inception 20 years ago. The only year, Sea and Learn had to be skipped was in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two major sponsors of Sea and Learn are the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund and the Public Entity Saba. The support of close to 60 sponsors is instrumental in accomplishing this yearly, highly successful event which has kept growing over the years.
Sea and Learn Saba.