July 27, 2010

Tobago Scholars Receive EcoDiver Scholarships From Coral Cay and Reef Check

Submitted by Coral Cay Conservation’s Jan-Willem van Bochove


The Speyside Marine Park Rangers presenting their work at a community meeting in Tobago

Coral Cay Conservation (CCC) is delighted to report that three key community members from Speyside in Tobago have recently completed their EcoDiver Training at the CCC Project site in Charlotteville, Tobago.

The trainees make up part of a 5-man team, recently established as the ‘Speyside Eco-Marine Park Rangers’ who are helping to drive the establishment of a marine managed area in order to protect the stunning, but highly threatened coral reefs along Tobago’s north-eastern coastline. The Rangers received a free CCC Scholarship and joined international volunteers from Coral Cay to earn PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and Reef Check EcoDiver certifications.

The Rangers will be conducting ongoing scientific monitoring work around Speyside’s reefs as well as make other community members aware of its vital importance to the island of Tobago as a healthy biodiversity hotspot. The EcoDiver certification is of great value to Speyside community members as it empowers them to play an active role in the development and management of the Speyside marine area.

Rupert Mc Kenna, one of the scholars, said “It’s a pleasure to be part of this program. There [are] five persons willing to form a group to carry on the work of protecting the reef in Speyside. We are willing to be trained to carry out the work that Buccoo Reef Trust and Coral Cay have started.”

Coral Cay Conservation is providing all volunteers and local scholars participating in its projects with Reef Check EcoDiver training. The programme complements CCC’s existing ‘Science Development Training’ and will allow these citizen scientists to contribute to coral reef conservation across the globe! 

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 Speyside scholars studying their dive tables in Tobago CCC volunteers and scholars preparing for a scientific survey in Tobago