University of the Virgin Islands reps visit college mangrove nursery

The content originally appeared on: The BVI Beacon

The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College recently hosted a 16-person delegation from the University of the Virgin Islands, who toured the Mangrove Nursery Project in Paraquita Bay as part of a marine sciences knowledge exchange.

The Feb. 24 visit was supported by the Judith A. Towle Environment Award, which is administered by the St. Thomas-based Community Foundation of the VI, according to HLSCC President Dr. Richard Georges.

Both colleges, he added, have been working on research related to the restoration of mangrove ecosystems. Susan Zaluski, the director of marine and maritime studies at HLSCC, said the main purpose of the visit was to exchange ideas about the methods used to grow and restore mangroves in each territory.

The visitors included Dr. Kristen Grimes, a research assistant professor of watershed ecology at UVI.

“This sort of exchange is so beneficial in terms of learning what has worked and what hasn’t for mangrove restoration in different places,” Dr. Grimes said.

UVI study

Dr. Arlene Smith-Thompson, HLSCC vice president for academic affairs, said the colleges have an articulation agreement that facilitates such study visits.

The exchanges can also assist HLSCC students who wish to further their studies at UVI, according to HLSCC.

Nandi Christopher, an aspiring marine biologist who recently graduated from HLSCC with an associate’s degree, might become one of those students. Ms. Christopher, an intern in the HLSCC Mangrove Nursery, took part in the recent tour and said she is considering transferring her HLSCC credits towards the completion of a bachelor’s degree at UVI.

The tour also included a visit to the Roger Downing Mangrove Boardwalk; a tour of the Centre for Applied Marine Studies; visits to three mangrove restoration sites; and short presentations on mangrove restoration and research from HLSCC, the National Parks Trust, and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration.

For more information on the mangrove programmes, contact Ms. Zaluski at 852-7166 or [email protected].