Record amount of Trash collected during Nature Foundation’s and Corona’s International Coastal Cleanup Day!

The Nature Foundation St Maarten partnered with Corona to clean up Mullet Bay Beach for International Coastal Clean-up day. About 100 volunteers showed up last Saturday evening to collect a record amount of 1280 pounds of trash! The Trash Tracker method developed by Ocean Cleanup Organization 4ocean has been used to weigh all the collected trash. Corona thanked all participants with a cold beer, prices and goodies were won by the largest trash collectors; the French ladies group ‘Police’, family ‘Sweetman’ and ‘JCI St. Maarten’.

4ocean
Int’l Cleanup Day 2018 kick-off

“The highest amount of trash has been collected since we started the Trash Tracker method beginning this year. We did not expect such a large turnout, the weighing station was much occupied and some people therefore skipped weighing their collected trash, definitely even more trash has been collected than weighted. At least 9 million tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans each year, a rate that has increased 100 times in the past 40 years. If current trends continue there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. On Saturday we prevented more than 1000 pounds of trash to enter our oceans, all little bits are helping in the fight against ocean pollution” stated Nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

Volunteers from CC1, Rotary club, Rotaract, Les Fruits de Mer, JCI St Maarten and Nature Foundation St Maarten were all active trash collectors during the International Coastal Cleanup event. St Maarten is a beautiful island that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. The Nature Foundation and Corona want to keep it that way. The community’s help in cleaning up and reducing plastic waste will go a long way in ensuring the preservation of the beauty Sint Maarten is known for.

cleanup volunteers
Int’l Cleanup Day 2018

“Everyone deserves to have a beer on a clean beach at sunset. As we are all part of the pollution problem, we can be part of the solution which means we are also capable of changing things for good – it starts with a simple beach cleanup and hopefully will be part of our everyday concerns. This is why the success of this event matters a lot” expressed Jade Ladal, Trade Marketing Coordinator for Corona St. Maarten.

The International Coastal Cleanup Event was part of the Reduce & Reuse St Maarten’ project, through this project the Foundation fights plastic pollution and is teaching and encouraging residents, children and businesses to reduce their plastic waste output and clean-up the environment. Part of the project is to lobby for a Single-use plastic ban, as awareness on its own will not reduce the massive amounts of waste created and left behind on beaches and in the environment. In order to protect our environment for the generations to come, to reduce our landfill and to changes St Maarten’s image of a garbage island into an eco-friendly destination, a ban on single-use plastics is needed.

volunteers on the beach
Int’l Cleanup Day 2018

Great Turnout for the Shark Week Rum Tasting Event at Buccaneer Beach Bar

The Nature Foundation organized an excellent Shark Week Rum Tasting Event at Buccaneer Beach Bar last week with about a hundred people joined the Shark Week event. The Shark Week Rum Tasting was sponsored by Buccaneer Beach Bar and Bacardi Rum and glasses were distributed by CC1 St. Maarten. The Rum Tasting was the closing party of St Maarten’s Shark Week, which was held by the St Maarten Nature Foundation staff from the 8th until the 16th of June.

“It is time we change our image about sharks, they are not out there to attack and scare people; sharks are swimming in our oceans for more than 400 million years. Healthy oceans need sharks, we depend on our oceans therefore we need our sharks. On average less than ten people die due to a shark bite per year in the entire world, sharks are not a threat to humans, we are a threat to them as we kill 100 million a year” commented Nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

The Rum Tasting was a great success, with over eighty people tasting the differ-ent Bacardi Rums and Cocktails poured by the excellent bar tenders. During the event, a beautiful shark painting has been auctioned by Soc from Island 92; the anonymous buyer will receive eternal fame for its support to the Nature Founda-tion. Several donations also came in through the possibility to adopt your own shark or to purchase 4Ocean bracelets, t-shirts, hats and reusable shopping bags. A total amount of $1,800 was collected during the event in support of the Nature Foundation St. Maarten and will be used to continue their shark research and tagging activities. St Maarten Shark Week is part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Sharks’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

Nature Foundation Organizes Shark Week Rum Tasting at Buccaneer Beach Bar on Saturday

The Nature Foundation is organizing an awesome adult event for St Maarten Shark Week; a Rum Tasting at Buccaneer Beach Bar on Saturday the 16th of June 2018 from 4pm until 9pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to taste different Bacardi rums. The Rum Tasting will be the closing party for this year’s St Maarten Shark Week which is held from 8th until the 16th of June.

“The shark Week Rum Tasting is sponsored by Buccaneer Beach Bar and Bacardi rum distributed by CC1 St. Maarten. A ticket is $10 which allows you to taste 6 different rums, all proceedings will be donated to the Nature Foundation St Maarten. Come out to enjoy nice rums and help our nature and environment on St Maarten at the same time” stated Nature Foundations Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

During the event an amazing St Maarten made Shark Painting will be auctioned, proceeds of the auction will be totally donated to the Nature Foundation St Maarten to protect St Maarten’s natural environment.  Support the Nature Foundation by the willingness to bid high for this unique local Caribbean Reef Shark painting. Bidding is already open and starts at $500, you can send your bid to naturefoundationprojects@gmail.com including your name (or company) and contact details. At 8pm on the 16th of June 2018 the highest bidder will receive the painting and eternal fame for supporting the Nature Foundation.

Sharks are the most misunderstood species on the planet as they are repeatedly displayed as villains and being dangerous; however they are actually the victims of humans poaching, finning and overfishing. Worldwide over 100 million sharks are killed per year resulting in half of all shark species being threatened or endangered. It is important that we work together to ensure the survival of our shark populations, therefore the Nature Foundation is trying to bring this awareness to the public by organizing Shark Week.

During the Rum Tasting event, there will be the possibility to support the Nature Foundation by adopting a shark, or purchasing shark week t-shirts, shark hats, 4Ocean bracelets or reusable shopping bags. St Maarten Shark Week is part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Sharks’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

St Maarten Nature Foundation Organizes for the Third Time Kids Shark Day at Buccaneer Beach Bar on Saturday the 9th of June

From the 8th until the 16th of June there will be an entire week dedicated to sharks at the Nature Foundation in St. Maarten. As part of St Maarten Shark Week a day full of shark activities will be organized for the third time at Buccaneer Beach bar on Saturday the 9th of June from 1-5pm. 

During Kids Shark Day different activities will be organized to show the importance of sharks for our reefs, ocean, island and tourism. Sharks, as top predators, play a crucial role in maintaining balance and health within our aquatic ecosystem. Besides, they are important for tourism; many scuba divers love to see sharks, which makes a shark worth much more alive than dead. People often think that sharks eat people. This is a misunderstanding, we are not on the menu for sharks and sharks do not eat people. Occasionally shark bites do happen, however no unprovoked attack has been ever recorded on St. Maarten. It is more likely that you get killed by a coconut falling on your head than by a shark.

 “Kids can learn everything about sharks while having loads of fun during shark day. There will be shark related activities such as; beach games, quizzes, coloring, face painting, claying and a selfie with the shark suite. This year kids can also learn about shark science and our shark tagging research, they can learn the process to tag a shark and use the equipment. The general shark day activities are free of charge and for all ages, we will have goodies and prices to win” stated Nature Foundations Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

 Additional, this year we will have a special workshop during Shark Day to make beautiful Shark art together with the local artist Carla Templeton. During the Shark & Art Workshop kids can show their creativity on astonishing shark tiles under the supervision of Carla. Kids can sign up for the workshop at 1 pm or 3pm, there will be a little fee of $10,- per kid, the workshop will be about 1-1.5 hours, minimum age is 5 years. Send an email to naturefoundationprojects@gmail.com to reserve your spot.

During all Shark Week events, there will be the possibility to support the Nature Foundation by naming or adopting a tagged shark, purchasing 4Ocean bracelets or reusable shopping bags. St Maarten Shark Week is part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Sharks’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

 

Exceptional Shark and Ocean Themed Art Exhibition Will Kick Off Third Nature Foundation St Maarten Shark Week

shadow of shark from below

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation will be organizing its first Shark and Ocean themed Art Exhibition at the Axum Art Café on the 8th of June 2018 as part of St Maarten Shark Week. The Art Exhibition will be the kick off event for this year’s Shark Week, which will be held from the 8th until the 16th of June 2018.

Sharks are the most misunderstood animals on the planet and are repeatedly displayed as villains and being dangerous. However, the species are actually the victims of human impacts such as poaching, finning, overfishing and irresponsible coastal development pressure. Worldwide over 100 million sharks are killed per year resulting in half of all shark species being threatened or endangered with extinction.  It is important that the community work together to ensure the survival of local, regional and global shark populations. Therefore the Nature Foundation is trying to bring this awareness to the public by organizing the annual Shark Week activities.

“The Art Exhibition will showcase the beauty of our oceans and sharks in a very creative way with all the featured art work being made by local artists. The submitted art works are of high quality and very diverse, including a beautiful submission from a seven year old artist. The exhibition will start at 7pm and there will be plenty of time to adore the different art works and all arts works will be up for sale,” stated Ménélik Arnell Manager of the Axum Art Café.

“The Axum Art Café in Phillipsburg is a perfect place for this exceptional exhibition and we are hoping that many people will come out to enjoy the event in order to support our local artists. We also hope that attendees will purchase the beautiful art works and several artists also decided to donate their profits to the Nature Foundation,” stated nature Foundation’s Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

During all Shark Week events people will have the oppertunity to support Nature Foundation’s shark research by naming a tagged shark or by adopting their own shark! Also during the events 4Ocean bracelets and reusable bags can be purchased to help protect St Maarten’s environment and nature. St Maarten Shark Week is part of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance ‘Save our Sharks’ project funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.

Photo caption: One of the submitted Art Work for the ‘Shark and Ocean’ themed Art Exhibition

Nature Foundation Cleans Up Mullet Bay Beach With Passengers of Princess Cruise Lines and Fathom Travel

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation teamed up with Passengers from Princess Cruise Lines, Fathom Travel and Carib Resorts in cleaning trash, single-use plastics and even hurricane debris from Mullet Bay Beach on Wednesday morning. Some 35 passengers removed 728.13 pounds of trash from the beach, using the Trash Tracker method developed by Ocean Cleanup Organization 4Oceans by weighing all the collected trash and using reusable bags and gloves.

The activity was a part of the Fathom and Princess Cruises Cruise for the Caribbean and it is the third time passengers from a cruise ship to Sint Maarten have participated in an impactful environmental activity with the Nature Foundation. During the cleanup the passengers also learned about several Nature Foundation projects, such as the ‘Reduce & Reuse St Maarten’ project which is designed to decrease the amount of single-use plastics on St Maarten. Single-use plastics impact our environment tremendously, never biodegrade and are easily substituted by biodegradable and reusable products.

“We were very pleased to have these environmental conscience guests to take time out of their holiday to clean our beaches. We are grateful for their positive attitude about decreasing single-use plastics and their pledge to assist in keeping our natural environments clean. We are looking forward into more sustainable tourism, a single-use plastic ban on St Maarten could really facilitate St Maarten as an eco-touristic destination and will help to protect our natural environment for the future generations,” read a Nature Foundation statement.

Nature Foundation Teaches Milton Peters College Students About Coral Reefs, Mangroves and Littering

Last week the Nature Foundation visited the second form of Milton Peters College to teach the students about the importance of our coral reefs and about the Foundation’s Coral Restoration Project. Worldwide coral reefs are declining due to global warming, pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction, St Maarten’s coral reefs are also facing several threats and Hurricane Irma left a large impact as well. The Coral Restoration Project is aimed to restore St Maarten reefs with Staghorn and Elkhorn coral species by establishing a coral nursery to grow coral and transplant them back to selected sites. “The students were amazed by the corals and their beauty; hopefully we inspired them to help protect our coral reefs!” says Nature Foundations Project Officer Melanie Meijer zu Schlochtern.

Additionally, the first form of Milton Peters Collage students visited Mullet Pond and learned about the importance of mangroves and wetlands, and how they protect us from storm surge. “Mullet pond is listed and protected as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Treaty. Wetlands, including Mullet Pond, are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival. They also provide countless benefits or “ecosystem services” ranging from biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation. With the visit of Mullet Pond we created the opportunity for these students to see and learn about this important wetland habitat themselves” continued the manager Tadzio Bervoets.

The students also learned about the impact of trash on marine life and therefore performed a cleanup at Mullet Bay Beach as part of the Reduce and Reuse St. Maarten project. About 25 students collected 370.95 pounds of trash in just half an hour, by using the Trash Tracker method developed by Ocean Cleanup Organization 4Oceans by weighing all the collected trash and using reusable bags and gloves. “We are proud on these students because of their hard work this day, achievements and willingness to help the environment of St Maarten. These students maybe the future generation to protect our natural environment and that is very much needed on St Maarten!” concluded a Nature Foundation statement.

Sint Maarten Nature Foundation Launches Reduce and Reuse Sint Maarten Project Aiming to Reduce the Island’s Single-Use Plastic Consumption

The Nature Foundation organized a beach cleanup at Mullet Bay Beach on the 18th of April in order to kick off their new project to encourage residents and visitors to ‘Reduce and Reuse’ their plastic output. About 15 volunteers removed 294 pounds of trash from the beach, using the Trash Tracker method developed by Ocean Cleanup Organization 4Oceans by weighing all the collected trash and using reusable bags and gloves. Waste collected during the cleanup has been documented and will be used as research information to encourage local restaurants, residents and visitors to go plastic-free.

St Maarten has major waste problems due to poor waste management, frequent toxic landfill fires, no waste separation and no recycling. The ineffective disposal of waste causes grave concerns regarding public health, air pollution, and water and soil contamination. Research has also shown that St Maarten has the highest municipal solid waste of the Caribbean at 9.7 kg per capita per day, compared to Curacao’s waste generation of 0.44 kg. Littering and the use of single use plastics is widely accepted on the island, causing garbage to lay around and plastic trash to end up in our oceans, impacting and affecting our environment, corals, fish, birds and wildlife. As a nonprofit and non-governmental organization focused on protecting nature and environment on St Maarten, the Nature Foundation wants to make steps to reduce single use plastics and littering, and promote biodegradable and reusable products to address the waste problem.

The ‘Reduce & Reuse St Maarten’ project is designed to teach and encourage residents, children and establishments to reduce their waste output and clean-up the environment. The use of Styrofoam, plastic cups and cutlery, plastic straws and single use plastic bags is very common and is handed out without discouragement or a fee: this project will try to change that and stimulate a switch to biodegradable and reusable products. The new project will be also pushing for the plastic bag ban, something the Nature Foundation has been requesting for a long period. The need of more garbage bins around the island, beaches and during events will be addressed as well, at the moment the shortage of bins provides excuses to litter and leave your trash behind.

There is a renewed momentum on the island concerning not using single use plastics anymore. Various establishments are going plastic free, including many restaurants and bars including Buccaneer Beach Bar, The Dinghy Dock and Karakter Beach Bar. We even now have one of the largest hotels, Divi Little Bay, going completely straw free when they reopen. All of these developments are awesome and we support and encourage them and more businesses to recognize how dangerous plastics are to our health and environment. Hopefully through this new project we can give the necessary support and feedback to make single plastics a thing of the past on the island,” according to the Nature Foundation.

St. Maarten is a beautiful island that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world. The Nature Foundation wants to keep it that way, your help in cleaning up and reducing your plastic waste will go a long way in ensuring the preservation of the beauty we are all so proud of!

Nature Foundation Representatives Lynn Martina, Rebecca Benjamin-Carey and Binky the Beach Cleanup Dog Tracking Trash at the first Beach cleanup for the new ‘Reduce & Reuse St Maarten’ project!

Nature Foundation Teams up With Princess Cruise Lines, Fathom Travel and Carib Resorts to Clean up Guana Bay Beach

The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation teamed up with Cruise Passengers from Princess Cruise Lines, Fathom Travel and Carib Resorts in cleaning garbage and hurricane debris from Guana Bay Beach, Sint Maarten’s most critical turtle nesting beach and one of the beaches hardest hit by Hurricane Irma. Some 100 passengers assisted the Nature Foundation in cleaning various debris, plastic, fishing tackle and glass for three hours on Wednesday morning. The activity was a part of the Fathom and Princess Cruises Cruise for the Caribbean and is the first time passengers from a cruise ship to Sint Maarten have participated in an impactful environmental activity; “We were so pleased and honored to have guests from a cruise ship take time out of their holiday to assist Sint Maarten both with an ecological activity and helping us rebuild Sint Maarten after the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma. We are so grateful to the whole team and the positive attitude everyone showed while ridding the beach of plastic. It is excellent to see this move towards a sustainable tourism for Sint Maarten post-Hurricane Irma,” read a Nature Foundation statement.

Guana Bay is listed as the index beach for all three species of Sea Turtle that nest on Sint Maarten. During the cleanup activity some three tons of trash were collected and removed from the beach. The group also made a generous donation towards the Nature Foundation’s cleanup activities post hurricane Irma. Cleanup supplies were provided by well-known Environmental NGO 4Ocean who provided gloves, re-usable trash bags and cleaning tools.

Photocaption: Attendees at the cleanup event.

Miami Based School teams up with Well-known Beach Clean-up Foundation and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation to Clean Mullet Bay

Students from the Gulliver Middle School in Miami, with the Support of Hollywood Casino, joined forces with renown Ocean Cleanup Organization 4Ocean and the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation in cleaning up beaches and wetlands in Sint Maarten.

The Students organized the cleanup activities especially experiencing the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma and on their own initiative traveled to the island with representatives from 4Oceans to assist the Nature Foundation with its ongoing beach-cleanup campaigns:

4Ocean is a global movement that allows anyone from anywhere to join and help in ocean trash removal efforts worldwide. With overwhelming response from supporters, the organization has been able to successfully remove more than 250,000 pounds of trash from the ocean in the organization’s first year alone. The organization is also known for making bracelets which it sells for donations and charities made from recycled materials and which will be available on the island to support coastal and ocean clean-up activities.

“We were so delighted and grateful to the students of Gilligan High School for taking this important initiative and cleaning up some of our most important economic and ecological beaches on the island. We are also excited to have received the support from 4Ocean organized by the students who will now be assisting the Nature Foundation with its ongoing cleanup activities and have generously donated reusable cleanup bags, gloves and grabbers for our clean-ups moving forward,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Manager.

Some three tons of garbage have been removed during Saturday’s and Sunday’s cleanup on Mullet Bay Beach and the Simpson Bay Lagoon.