Scientists and organisations in Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) have voluntarily come together to celebrate the International Year of the Reef – T&T (IYORTT).
They aim to engage with partners – especially within the corporate sector, the Government, academia and civil society organisations – to increase awareness towards conservation, management strategies and sustainable use of coral reefs around the islands.
IYORTT events planned for the year include screenings of the documentary film “Chasing Coral” and subsequent discussions; guided tours to beaches and coral reef sites for children and the disadvantaged youth; and continuing interactions with Government and other agencies. They have an ambitious plan to ignite the interest and enthusiasm of a population that does not yet understand the relationship, or the value of the marine environment.
The official launch of IYORTT’s programme took place on World Oceans Day, 8th June. On this occasion, guests were invited to discover coral reefs through “virtual dives” using virtual reality (VR) goggles, to contribute through the purchase of unique coral reef art crafted in chocolate, and to begin to appreciate the complex connections between coral reefs, climate change and people.
Speakers included; John Agard, Tropical Island Ecologist from the University of the West Indies, and a lead author/ editor on the IPCC reports in his field and Dr Ahmad Khan, Director of the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) reflected on changes in the reefs of Tobago
The story would not be complete without paying tribute to the collaborative, supportive and cohesive effort of the group which planned and executed the launch; which drew volunteers to the cause; and which will continue to make inroads among the corporate, community and commercial sectors. Among the organisers are;
- Wild Tobago,
- Institute of Marine Affairs,
- The University of the West Indies,
- University of Trinidad & Tobago
- Buccoo Reef Trust and
- T&T Field Naturalists’ Club.
There are hundreds of ways that individuals and organisations can contribute to this initiative, and IYORTT hopes that the experiences shared on World Oceans Day are the beginning of greater appreciation for coral reefs.
IYORTT Launch event in the news: