Congratulations to the 2020-2021 Nature Foundation Junior Rangers

Educational Outreach Officer, Leslie Hickerson, with the 5 Nature Foundation Junior Rangers.

The Nature Foundation St. Maarten has selected five local students to participate in their first Junior Ranger Year Program with support of the ‘Prins Bernard Cultuurfonds Caribisch gebied’, Yacht Club Port de Plaisance, the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) and Ocean Explorers. On Saturday, August 15th the Nature Foundation held its first meeting with the new Junior Ranger Participants for the 2020-2021 program.

The selected 2020-2021 Nature Foundation Junior Rangers are; Florianthe Boasman (K-12 International Academy), Stéfanie Frederiks (CIA), Seybian Ortega (LU), Jai Shahani (St. Dominic High), and Nubia Stomp (St. Dominic High). Local students ages 12 to 14 applied to join the program over the summer by submitting essays about what we can do to help the island’s natural resources. In the student’s essays they highlighted local issues like the use of the landfill, plastic pollution, and lack of recycling.

The goal of the Junior Ranger Program is to educate and motivate St. Maarten’s youth to learn more about their natural environment and what they can do to help protect it. Thanks to the generous contributions of both the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Ocean Explorers Dive Center these members will also be able to earn their PADI Junior Open Water Diver Certification. The course which consists of theory, skills, and open water diving will give members the chance to see St. Maarten’s coral reefs firsthand. Yacht Club Port de Plaisance funded the position of Educational Outreach Officer at the Nature Foundation, the AUC supported toward the Save St. Maarten Corals projects which will be a leading part in the Junior Ranger Program.

Ranger Stéfanie Frederiks said, “The environment of Sint Maarten (and actually the environment of the planet) is something we really must protect, as if it is a golden nugget. Because if you own a golden nugget, you will take very good care of it, you would not want it to become dirty and you would not want it to break. This is how we must treat this planet and our island. If we protect the environment, we are ensuring that we can breathe clean air. Also, it is important that our island remains clean and that it stays like that. A messy island is not a nice island. Not for the people living here but also not for the tourists.”

Those selected for the program will learn information about several topics including conservation, local flora and fauna, public speaking and presentation skills during monthly activities planned by the foundation. Aside from being introduced to valuable information about our island these students will also learn skills that will help them in further education and job placement in the future.

Some of the activities planned include:

  • Reef Fish Identification Course with snorkel trip for practical application.
  • Discussion about the effects of plastic pollution on our environment and Beach Clean-Up.
  • The opportunity to contribute to local publications or the Nature Foundation Website.
  • Local hike with introduction to native St. Maarten plant life.
  • And Much More!

To support this program contact info@naturefoundationsxm.org