Resource Manual Part Two


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Part 2 of 2 for the Environment Tobago Training Manual for Primary School Teachers

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Resource Manual Part Two

  1. 1. MANGROVES AND CORAL REEFS Their Biology, Ecology, Threats And Opportunities For Conservation Note from a presentation given to Primary School teachers as part of the Environment Tobago, BPtt Leader Award Project, November 7th 2002 Dr Owen Day Buccoo Reef Trust CONTENT 1. Mangroves 2. Coral Reefs 3. Buccoo Reef 4. Threats to the marine Environment 5. Research and conservation 36
  2. 2. MANGROVE TREES Mangroves are complex forest ecosystems. In Tobago they are dominated by Red mangrove trees, and further inland by Black mangrove and White mangrove. { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Red mangrove in Bon Accord Lagoon Mangrove trees have air-breathing roots All mangrove trees are able to survive in salt water and in soil which is poor in oxygen (anaerobic). Mangrove trees have developed aerial or air-breathing roots, which have on their surface, special tiny pores to take in air called lenticels. Only air can get through the lenticels, not water or salts. Mangrove roots also contain large air spaces that transport air and provide a reservoir of air during high tide. Roots for absorbing nutrients are tiny and emerge near the muddy surface. Aerial roots can take on different forms. Black mangrove and White mangrove have short pencil-like roots called pneumatophores. Red mangrove send out prop roots from their trunk and branches which arch down to the ground for extra support and air absorption. 37 { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Mangrove trees have air-breathing roots Mangroves are buffer zones between land and sea Mangroves are a natural water filter. Underwater, a huge number of filter-feeders are fastened on the tangle of roots: barnacles, sponges, shellfish. These filter feeders clean the water of nutrients and silt. As a result, clear water washes out into the sea, allowing the coral reef ecosystem to flourish. Mangroves stabilize the coast and river banks. Their roots prevent mud and sand from being washed away with the tide and storms. Mangrove trees also slowly regenerate the soil by penetrating and aerating it (other creatures such as crabs and mud lobsters also help). As the mud builds up and soil conditions improve, other plants can take root.
  3. 3. 38 { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } The mangrove belt surrounding Bob Accord Lagoon is a natural filter for land run-off { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } When drains are cut through the mangrove, the filter is broken and pollutants can damage the reef. 39 { EMBED PowerPoint.Slide.8 } Mangroves are important nurseries for fish and shellfish – see fish in Food While on the tree, leaves are eaten by all kinds of creatures. Fallen leaves are an important source of nutrients both within the mangrove habitat and when it is flushed out to the coral reefs. The leaves are rapidly broken up by crabs and other small creatures, and further broken down by bacteria into useful minerals. Refuge The roots provide a surface for all kinds of creatures from algae, sponges, oysters and small lobsters. The tangle of roots provides hiding places for young fishes and shrimps from larger predators. Their branches provide shelter for large creatures like Monkeys (in Trinidad not Tobago), nesting sites for herons and pelicans, and crevices for insects.
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  5. 5. CORAL REEFS Coral reefs are dominated by animals of the phylum Cnidaria. These include, true hard corals, soft corals and fire corals Hard Corals Species commonly found in Tobago are: Staghorn coral, Elkhorn coral, Finger coral, Boulder coral, Massive starlet coral, Common brain coral, Depressed brain coral, Large grooved brain coral, Rose coral { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Staghorn coral Elkhorn coral { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Boulder coral – plate form Boulder coral – boulder form { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Brain coral Rose coral 41 Soft corals Species commonly found in Tobago are: Sea fans, Sea feathers, Sea rods, Black coral (used in jewelry), Bottle-brush corals, Sausage coral, Sea whips { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Sea feathers Sea rods Fire coral Fire coral is very common around Tobago but is not a true coral. It is a hydroid, which produces a painful burning sensation on contact with the skin - beware when swimming over reefs! { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Fire coral (not a true coral) Coral biology – Main Points A coral is a colony of small animals called a polyps. The mouth of the polyp is surrounded by tentacles, which are used to capture plankton. These tentacles are equipped with stinging cells called nematocysts. 42 Polyps of many soft and hard corals contain living microscopic plant cells, called zooxanthellae. These plant cells are responsible for the green and brown colors characteristic of the living coral.
  6. 6. Hard reef building coral are called hermatypic coral. They secrete calcium cups called corallites. { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Polyp anatomy (from Richard Laydoo) { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Polyps from Boulder coral in close-up 43 Coral biology – Symbiosis In healthy corals, the zooxanthellae produce sugars for the polyp by photosynthesis. In exchange, waste products produced by the polyps are available to the zooxanthellae as raw materials. This arrangement allows corals to grow in clear tropical waters where food and nutrients are scarce. In fact, plankton often only contributes less than 10% of the energy required by hard corals, the other 90% comes form sunlight! This mutually beneficial relationship is one of many examples of symbiosis found on coral reefs. When the polyp is stressed the zooxanthellae disappear and the coral becomes white—this is coral bleaching
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  8. 8. BUCCOO REEF The growth of a coral reef is a very slow process. Buccoo Reef is estimated to represent over 10,000 years of coral growth!!!. Some species of coral may grow as little as 1 cm in one year. All Tobago's reefs are fringing reefs, growing outwards from the coast. Buccoo Reef is comprised of several zones: The lagoon, which is closest to shore, is followed by the back reef and the reef flat, also known as the rubble zone. Beyond the reef flat is the reef crest, which is the shallowest part of the reef structure and may be exposed at low tide. A breaker zone is also often clearly visible on the reef crest. Seaward of the reef crest the fore reef slopes down to the sea floor Buccoo Reef is the largest coral reef in Tobago and was designated a marine park in 1973. Its massive proportions contain a reef system of five reef flats that are separated by deep channels. An associated lagoon, the Bon Accord Lagoon is almost completely enclosed by Sheerbird's Point – also called No Man’s Land - and a dense mangrove belt. The gradual change in the fauna and flora from the dense mangrove to the outer reef is a biologist’s delight. This reef complex is also more accessible to the non-diver, as snorkeling and glass-bottom boats offer an easy way to observe the many habitats and species it contains. The reef flats have wave- resistant species adapted to turbulent waters, such as Elkhorn Coral, while the reef crests are dominated by the Star Coral. In the deeper Coral Gardens the coral communities change to large colonies of brain coral, Starlet Coral and Star Coral, with many soft corals that sway in the current. Tragically, the Buccoo Reef is today a shadow of what it once was. A combination of pollution from land run-off and physical damage from reef walking and anchors has degraded much of this once majestic reef. If you chose to visit Buccoo Reef on a glass-bottom boat, please do not accept any plastic shoes you may be offered by the tour operator. Instead, ask to be taken to deeper parts of the reef, such as Coral Gardens, where you can snorkel and see much more marine life without touching or damaging any live coral. There is hope to restore this magnificent reef and a concerted effort from the community, visitors, business and government can make it happen. 45 { SHAPE * MERGEFORMAT } Buccoo Reef and part of it’s associated watershed
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  10. 10. THREATS TO THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT What are the main marine environmental issues in the Caribbean? The following are considered the priority areas of concern for environmental managers. • Destruction of coral reefs 22% of Caribbean corals have already been destroyed 33% considered at high risk • Loss of wetlands and mangroves continues due to coastal development • Increased pollution of coastal waters – mostly related to poorly treated sewage, agricultural run-off, and industrial waste water • Over-fishing. Conch, lobster and groupers are particularly vulnerable to over-fisihng and usually to first species to become scarce in onshore waters. Over fish stocks, including the large pelagic fish like tuna, dolphin and kingfish, are also at potentially at risk. • Climate change. Climate change is already happening and weather patters are changing. Sea temperatures and sea level are expected to rise and will add additional stress to coastal ecosystems. The recommendation to coastal zone managers and communities is to make these ecosystems more resilient to change by reducing the other stressors on which we can act, such as pollution, over-fishing, sedimentation, etc… 47
  11. 11. RESEARCH AND CONSERVATION Despite the challenges, there are opportunities for promoting the survival of coral reefs and coastal ecosystems and every individual can play a part in this process. These include: Pollution – How to reduce it? Litter and waste How to reduce? Reduce, reuse and recycle Chemicals (Fertilisers, herbicides, household chemicals, oil and petrol) How to reduce? Farm organically, use non-phosphate cleaners, prevent spills from cars, boats and yachts. Sewage How to reduce? Install proper sewage treatment plants and drainage systems Mud, silt and sand How to reduce? Prevent deforestation, build silt traps near developments and new roads, avoid building in rainy season Environmental Monitoring Environmental monitoring by government agencies, universities and NGOs is designed to provide relevant information to policy makers through: • Coastal water quality monitoring • Coral reef health monitoring • Inventory of biodiversity • Building capacity for Remote Sensing and GIS For examples, the Buccoo Reef Trust is undertaking the following research on coral reefs: • Integrated Water Quality and Reef Health Monitoring • Remote sensing/GIS Mapping Project of Buccoo Reef Marine Park • Analysis of coral cores Habitat Enhancement Habitats can be enhanced in order to optimize their ecological and economic value. This can include the following: - Restoring damaged reefs using artificial structures - Improving management of Marine Protected Areas 48
  12. 12. Community Education/Awareness Community education programmes are designed to promote community and training opportunities through: - School programmes - Media Campaigns (TV, newspapers, radio) The Buccoo Reef Trust together with Environment Tobago are two NGOs that are actively involved in community education and awareness programmes. Their activities have included: • A televised film: “Buccoo Reef – To Rescue and Restore” • Articles in international and local press • Workshops and presentations to communities and stakeholders • Reef Rangers training week • Primary School Environmental Education Programme 49 { EMBED CDraw }
  13. 13. Wetlands Information Packet August 2000 Introduction 2 What are wetlands 2 Wetlands of Tobago 2 Wetlands definitions 3 Types of wetland systems 3 Values of wetlands 4 How important are wetlands? 4 How much does a wetland cost? 7 Who pays the costs? 8 Tobago wetlands disappearing! 8 What is threatening Tobago's wetlands? 8 Managing Tobago's wetlands 13 What is the Government doing? 13 What is the way ahead for wetland conservation? 14 What actions can YOU do to help conserve wetlands? 15 International cooperation for wetland conservation: The Ramsar Convention in T&T 16 What is the Ramsar Convention? 16 Why do countries join the Ramsar Convention? 17 What do countries commit to when they join the Ramsar Convention? 17 Trinidad and Tobago and the Ramsar Convention 17 Upcoming plans under Ramsar that will affect T&T 18 References 19 50 Introduction What are wetlands?
  14. 14. Wetlands, as the name suggests, are wet! Essentially, they are transitional environments where dry land meets water and are therefore covered with water all the time or part of the time. As such, wetlands are usually found alongside rivers, lakes, and in coastal areas. Wetlands themselves contain water of different depths, from water several metres deep to water merely saturating the soil. Even when a wetland appears dry, waterlogged conditions often occur below the surface of the soil. The conditions in a wetland also vary over time, with changes daily, seasonally and over long time periods as wetlands evolve and fill with sediment to eventually become dry land. Wetlands of Tobago Wetlands are found on both the windward and leeward coasts of Tobago. The largest wetland, the Bon Accord Lagoon / Buccoo Bay Wetland, lies on the leeward coast and covers approximately 77 hectares. The wetlands on the leeward coast range from mangrove swamps, to freshwater marshes, annual floodplains, to freshwater ponds. The other seven wetlands are located at Friendship Estate, Kilgwyn, Buccoo, Courland Bay, Black Rock Pond, Parlatuvier, and Bloody Bay. There are also eight fairly small wetlands along the windward coast, mainly mangrove swamps. These are at Petit Trou (which is the largest at 15 hectares), Little Rockley bay, Big Bacolet Bay / Minister Bay, Fort Granby, Carapuse Bay / Roxborough, Louis D'Or, King's River / Frenchman's Bay, and Lucy Vale. (see map below) { EMBED Word.Picture.8 } Map showing locations of wetlands in Tobago. 51
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  16. 16. 53 Wetlands Definitions The National Wetlands Policy of Trinidad and Tobago follows the definition for wetlands in the International Convention on Conservation of Wetlands, or the Ramsar Convention. This broadly defines wetlands as "areas of marsh, fen,
  17. 17. peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres". It also says that wetlands "may incorporate riparian and coastal zones adjacent to the wetlands, and islands or bodies of marine water deeper than six metres at low tide lying within the wetlands". This broad definition means that the Ramsar Convention covers a wide variety of habitat types, including rivers and lakes, coastal lagoons, mangroves, and even coral reefs. Some interesting facts about wetlands: • Roughly 6% of the Earth's land surface is estimated to be covered with wetlands, equal to 570 million hectares (5.7 million km2). (World Conservation Monitoring Centre). • Tobago has remaining only about 105 ha of wetlands (1.05 km2), or 0.33% of the total land area. Types of wetland systems As transitional environments, wetlands exist under a variety of conditions, which has produced a variety of wetland types. In Tobago wetlands are often called "swamps". However, the types of natural wetlands found in Tobago include mangrove swamps, freshwater swamps, and lagoons. There are five main types of natural wetlands: 1. Marine - coastal and not influenced by river flows (e.g., shorelines and coral reefs). Found in Tobago for example at Buccoo Reef, and Speyside Reef. 2. Estuarine - where rivers meet the sea and the salinity level is intermediate between salt and freshwater (e.g., mangroves, mudflats). Found at Little Rockly Bay, Big Bacolet Bay / Minister Bay, Fort Granby, and Louis D'Or, 3. Riverine - land periodically inundated by river overtopping (e.g., flooded forests and floodplains). Found at King's River, Parlatuvier, and Bloody Bay. 4. Palustrine - where there is more or less permanent water cover (e.g., freshwater marshes). Found at Fort Granby, and Carapuse Bay / Roxborough. 5. Lacustrine - areas of permanent water cover with little flow (e.g., ponds). Found at Black Rock Pond. There are also man-made wetlands such as fish and shrimp ponds, farm ponds, irrigated agricultural land, sewage farms, and canals. 54
  18. 18. The red mangrove lagoon at Kilgwyn is an example of an estuarine wetland. Values of wetlands How important are wetlands? A dirty, mucky swamp with no apparent human value is filled in and cleared to make room for new development. Little has been lost as shiny buildings appear in place of the soggy earth. As wetlands continue to be cleared for agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial developments, this remains a common misconception. Most of the wetland areas of Tobago have already been destroyed, and now less than one percent (1%) of the land area is covered by wetlands. The tragedy of this error is that wetlands naturally have an enormous range of direct and indirect values to Tobagonians. Physical Benefits: ∑Wetlands protect coastal areas from damage of storm surges and high winds and stabilize shorelines by slowing runoff and trapping soil in the fibrous roots of the plants. Destruction of portions of the Kilgwyn wetland has increased the threat of storm damage to the surrounding coastal land. ∑Wetlands are able to retain floodwaters through their sponge-like action. The waters are then slowly released, helping to control floods. Excess water trapped in wetlands slowly percolates through the soil and recharges underground aquifers. 55
  19. 19. Benefits to Wildlife: ∑Wetlands serve as nurseries for many species of animals. Many marine fish spawn in wetlands found adjacent to coral reefs for example at the Buccoo Reef / Bon Accord Lagoon wetland complex. Local tourism and fishing industries therefore depend on coastal wetlands. ∑Wetlands support a high biodiversity because of the varied wetland conditions that produce a diversity of habitats for plants and animals. Wetlands also have a complex food chain that supports many different species. Tobagonians directly use some of this biodiversity when they harvest mangrove wood, fish, crabs, oysters, birds, and other wildlife. These must be sustainably harvested if the biodiversity value and the harvest are to be maintained. Mangrove roots offer protection for young fish. Human / Economic Benefits: ∑Wetlands are ecotourism and recreation sites because of their aesthetic appeal based on the high biodiversity they contain. Hiking, kayaking and other non-impact uses of wetlands are very valuable socially and economically to Tobago tourism and recreation industries. ∑Wetlands filter pollutants and sediments and so provide a major environmental and health benefit in cleaning up contaminated water. Wetlands are so effective that artificial wetlands are created to purify wastewater from sewage treatment plants, from storm water runoff, and even from agriculture. Such a plant has been developed in Bon Accord for sewage treatment. In fact, wetlands can reduce some pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria after only two hours of contact with wetland plants. 56
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  21. 21. The Buccoo Marsh actually assists in removing some of the sewage pollution escaping from malfunctioning treatment plants at Buccoo and Bon Accord. Wetlands as natural cleansers? How is this possible? Wetlands reduce contaminants in surface water by acting as settling basins, slowing water flow and allowing suspended particles begin to settle out and be deposited in the bottom of the wetland. Insoluble contaminants such as phosphates, pesticides, and heavy metals attached to the particles also settle out. Additional sediment covers the contaminants, burying them, and removing them from the water so that cleaner water flows from the wetland. Certain plants (such as sedges and waterlilies) can further separate heavy metals from the water. The heavy muck soils of wetlands have high levels of decaying plant organic matter. This organic matter provides many charged particles that attract and hold organic molecules, such as pesticides. Thus, the organic material attracts and binds the dissolved pesticides to the wetland soil, removing the pesticides from the water. Wetland soils also support immense populations of microorganisms, some of which can use pesticides and other organic molecules as food. Wetlands also use up excess nutrients in plant growth (for example nitrates and phosphates found in fertilizers and nutrient-rich soil running into wetlands) which could otherwise cause chemical and biological imbalances in the water. In these ways, wetland plant communities can help purify polluted water and so protect our precious coastal waters and human health. 58
  22. 22. How much does a wetland cost? Wetlands offer important free ecological goods and services such as coastal protection, flood control and groundwater recharge, nurseries and habitats for fish and other wildlife, filtration of pollutants and sediments, and storing carbon dioxide (the principle agent in global warming). In some cases these services may be directly measured, for example the value of the fisheries industry based on wetlands, the value of the crab or oyster harvest, or the value of the ecotourism or recreation industry based in wetlands. However in many cases, determining the monetary value of wetlands is more difficult. One way that values can be assigned is by calculating how much it would take to replace the free ecological services wetlands provide. For example, wetlands help to purify contaminated water and protect marine ecosystems and human health, saving the very high costs of installing and maintaining water treatment plants. Coastal protection structures are often expensive and moreover less effective than the protection offered by nature via wetlands. Desalination plants or other costly means of producing or importing water are replaced by groundwater sources that are recharged by wetlands. Environmental economists do these types of value calculations when they calculate the "replacement value" of wetland ecosystems. Mangrove seedlings will eventually grow to trees that offer free coastal protection. Another way values may be assigned is by determining the "option value" or "contingent value". These values are estimated through interviews with people who indicate how much they would be willing to pay to know that wetlands and the free goods and services that they provide are conserved for use by the present and future generations. For example, how much would you be willing to pay to know that your child could see the colourful life on Buccoo Reef, or continue to bathe safely in your local beach water? 59
  23. 23. Who pays the costs? Wetlands in Tobago are being seriously threatened by development. This development often only benefits a small sector of the society, which then leaves, without paying the bill for wetland destruction. Who then pays the cost of losing a wetland when it is destroyed? When our natural systems are destroyed society suffers the costs directly and also indirectly when government spending must be allocated towards environmental clean-ups and installing expensive technological solutions to replace previously existing free ecological services. We must question what free ecological services become unavailable to us when we develop without due regard to natural processes. Tobagonians need to take a much more active role in lobbying for conservation and wise use of Tobago wetlands for the benefit of all people. Tobago wetlands disappearing! Tobago has remaining only about 105 hectares of wetlands (1.05 km2), or 0.33% of the total land area. Certainly Tobago was blessed with much more extensive wetlands three hundred and fifty years ago. This was before the widespread conversions for agriculture that took place in the colonial era and the more recent conversions for residential, industrial and commercial development. It is becoming more and more critical that Tobago save what little is left of these precious wetlands, which offer important various free ecological services that we derive invaluable benefits from. At a time when our coastal fisheries are declining, ocean levels are rising, coastal waters are becoming more polluted, and the tourism industry is expanding, Tobago's wetlands desperately need protection in order to continue their important functions. Unfortunately however, our wetlands are facing several very serious threats. What is threatening Tobago's Wetlands? There are now four major wetlands remaining in Tobago at Petit Trou, Kilgwyn, Bon Accord and Buccoo, and ten smaller ones on the windward and leeward coasts. These wetlands are facing rapid degradation and destruction by a variety of factors: 1. Drainage or Conversion for Development Since wetlands are generally found in flat coastal areas, they are viewed as prime sites for development. This is certainly the most serious threat facing wetlands in 60
  24. 24. Tobago, both in terms of the large scale of development, as well as the permanence of the destruction that ensues. In colonial times extensive areas of wetlands in the southern portion of Tobago were cleared or drained for development. In fact, most of Lower Scarborough was once wetlands and the remnants of huge coconut and cocoa estates can be seen in Lowlands, Bon Accord, and Roxborough, where wetlands once dominated. Deliberate changes to the hydrology of wetlands have been made with the construction of sluice gates, leaving the delicate ecology of these areas permanently changed. These errors in our past are being repeated today with demands for residential and commercial land, and recent proposals for massive hotel developments. Petit Trou is the largest of the wetlands along the windward coast of Tobago, being approximately 15 hectares. This wetland is threatened by the development of Tobago Plantations Limited (Tobago Hilton). Environment TOBAGO has repeatedly appealed for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which was conducted and submitted to the Town and Country Planning Division. This was to be released to the public for review, but to date this critical document affecting the lives and future of Tobagonians has been kept secret. Construction of the resort is almost completed, and the impact on the Petit Trou wetlands is unknown. Plans have also been submitted for the construction of a marina, which will certainly also impact wetland hydrology and ecology, but it is unknown what mitigation measures and monitoring procedures are planned to minimize impacts on the wetlands in the area. Bon Accord Lagoon / Buccoo Bay Wetland suffered from "beach improvement" activities at Sheerbird's Point that involved clearing some mangrove. Some wetlands along the southern boundary were also cleared for residential development. Agricultural plantations had long ago shrunken the once extensive area of this important wetland complex, the largest and perhaps most important wetland area in Tobago. Red mangrove surrounding the Bon Accord lagoon is threatened by proposed tourism developments. 61
  25. 25. More recently, an international hotel chain has proposed a resort development in the Golden Grove Estate. The EIA was prepared and subjected to review, with serious concerns aired regarding the impact on the ecology and hydrology of the wetland complex. Outline planning permission was granted by the Town and Country Planning Division in April 1997. This resort proposes to comprise a two hundred- room hotel, sixty three-bedroom townhouses, sixty three-bedroom villas, and an 18-hole golf course. The next step will involve submission for final planning permission. The outline permission specifies that no construction is to take place in areas occupied by mangrove, which covers much of the area. Adequate mitigation and monitoring of any development here will again be needed. The Kilgwyn Wetland is today only a fraction of what it used to be after being filled in for the extension of the Crown Point Airport and for the construction of an access road to the fishing depot on the coast. Extensive sand mining in one section has destroyed the freshwater wetlands and also increased the threat of salt-water intrusion to the area. This stress on the area is added to the damage that was brought on in the past by the widespread conversions of land to coconut plantations. Proposed expansion of the Crown Point airport will further fragment and shrink this fairly degraded wetland. Environment TOBAGO has proposed that the development be planned so as to preserve the last intact fragment of mangrove forest and lagoon. The THA is currently considering expansion options. Other smaller wetlands are also under threat by development. This includes the Lucy Vale wetlands in Speyside as the proposed site for a new school, and King's River wetland where a resort has been proposed but no details are known at present. An EIA was prepared for the stadium at Bacolet, which is currently under development, and is likely to impact on the wetland area downstream at Minister Bay. The EIA proposes that the sewage effluent be treated by an on site 62
  26. 26. treatment plant until arrangements can be made to send the effluent to the Scarborough treatment plant. It also suggests measures to control soil erosion and consequent silting up of the wetland, which may occur as a result of the altered landscape. 2. Illegal dumping of solid waste Dumping of solid waste from domestic and commercial sources is rampant in both wetland and non-wetland areas in Tobago. A visit to any of the wetlands around Tobago makes this only too apparent. This is especially severe in Kilgwyn, Minister Bay, and Lucy Vale wetlands (dumping of earth fill). It is the responsibility of each individual and community to take responsibility for maintaining a clean and healthy local environment. Illegal dumping in wetlands is widespread. 3. Pollution from domestic sewage, industrial waste, pesticides and fertilizers Malfunctioning commercial sewage treatment plants are destroying wetland ecosystems, for example at Buccoo Bay and Bon Accord, which empty into the Bon Accord Lagoon / Buccoo Bay wetland. Smaller commercial and residential soak-a- ways and outdoor latrines also leak untreated sewage into the environment, for example at the Kilgwyn wetland. Pesticides and fertilizers also run off from nearby agricultural land into wetlands. When this occurs, the influx of nutrients from fertilizers and sewage causes an increased growth of algae in the water, and the increased algal population uses all 63
  27. 27. available oxygen, so that other plants and animals are starved of oxygen and die. This phenomenon is called eutrophication. While one important value of wetlands is their ability to filter and break down these harmful pollutants, our wetland systems are becoming over-burdened by the quantity of effluents they are receiving and are themselves being destroyed. Maintenance-intensive golf courses tend to be prime sources of such excess runoff. This problem is therefore threatening Petit Trou as well as other smaller wetlands. 4. Siltation due to runoff from cleared areas Irresponsible developments such as agriculture without adequate soil conservation measures, wholesale clearing of land for construction, burning and bush fires, all result in soil erosion. Eroded soil is gradually washed into wetlands, where it is filtered and settles, protecting marine ecosystems. However, massive quantities of incoming soil eventually result in destruction of the wetland and loss of all its valuable functions. 5. Over-hunting of wildlife, over-fishing, and illegal harvest of mangrove Inhabitants of the mangroves such as crabs, oysters, fish, and birds, are all over hunted while mangrove wood is harvested for construction and the bark stripped to extract tannins. The tannins are used in leather dying and the damaged or stripped tree then becomes vulnerable to attack from pests and eventually dies. Wise use and harvesting of the wetland environment is central to sustainable management and conservation of this resource. 6. Natural threats In 1963 Hurricane Flora destroyed most of the western part of the Bon Accord Lagoon / Buccoo Bay wetland, however, wetlands are generally extremely resilient to storms, which is reflected in part by their ability to stabilize coastlines and protect against flood damage. 64
  28. 28. Managing Tobago Wetlands What is the Government Doing? The Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Environment Division, is responsible for the management of wetlands in Tobago. They are engaged in several actions for wetland conservation and wise use in Tobago. These include: 1. Establishment and management of wetland protected areas: The Buccoo Reef Marine Park has been legally declared a restricted area since 1973, but is protected only as far as the high water mark. The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) has recommended further extension of the boundaries of the Park to include more of the wetland ecosystem area. A Management Plan for the area has been developed and responsibility for implementation lies with the Fisheries Division of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Rockley Bay Wetland (2.3 hectares of predominantly riverine mangrove forest) was recently being considered by the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, as the site for development of a wetland reserve for research, education, and eco-tourism. This plan has been made available to the Department and a draft management proposal, which includes principles of conservation and wise use of the resource is being developed. These will extend to include restoration of the habitat and controlling all projects taking place in the area to ensure their sustainability. The Department hopes that this pilot project can become a model for management of other wetland sites in Tobago. 2. Reviewing Environmental Impact assessments (EIAs) for proposed developments affecting wetlands: EIAs for proposed developments are submitted to the Town and Country Planning Division and subsequently sent to the THA for review. 3. Education: The Environment Department undertakes various education and awareness projects, including public workshops and lectures, production and distribution of educational materials (posters, brochures, and booklets) to schools and the general public, collecting resource materials for its information centre, and conducting field trips. Presently a pilot programme to encourage community involvement in environmental conservation is being run at Plymouth with a group of Environmental Cadets comprising young people from 15-25 years old. 65
  29. 29. 4. Collaboration: The Environment Department collaborates closely with other departments in the THA for example, Fisheries, Tourism, and Public Health, and externally with the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), Ministries in Trinidad, and Environment TOBAGO. 5. Representation on the National Wetlands Committee: Through this committee, Tobago is represented in wetland policy formulation and implementation of the Ramsar Convention in T&T (see International Management of Wetlands). One significant activity in this regard is the current initiative to get the Bon Accord Lagoon / Buccoo Bay wetland declared as a Ramsar site on the List of Wetlands of International Importance. This would enable the wetland to receive special management attention and funding support, similar to what has already been done for the Nariva Swamp in Trinidad. A proposal is to be prepared and submitted to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) for approval and then to the Ramsar Bureau for consideration. What is the Way Ahead for Wetland Conservation? 1. EIAs: The importance of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) to evaluate the potential impacts of proposed developments, identify least impact options, and plan mitigation measures, cannot be under-emphasized. However, the broad guidelines under which EIAs presently operate are in desperate need of review. Some of the most critical problems that continue to arise from this are that: (1) There are no clear standards for environmental protection measures (2) There are no strict guidelines for monitoring implementation of EIA proposals (3) EIAs do not allow for public consultation on proposed developments As new laws come into force with the establishment of the national Environmental Commission, these problems should be somewhat alleviated. The new rules of environmental clearance will make EIAs public documents and stipulate more stringent environmental standards that will require accountability and monitoring systems. Look forward to becoming more involved in assessing local developments! 66
  30. 30. 2. Assessing wetland loss: You may have asked exactly how much of our wetlands have been lost already after so many years of degradation? There is a very simple answer to this question: There has been no research in the past or to date that seeks to quantify the size and area of wetland sites in Tobago. Figures that are available are largely estimations that cannot be used to accurately assess factors such as wetland loss or recession. This therefore inhibits many attempts to identify that recent developments have modified wetland areas, as there is no original data to compare present figures to. There is crucial need then for the development of baseline data of all wetlands in Tobago so that future assessments can be more thorough and precise. 3. Role of THA: The Town and Country Planning Division and the THA have critical roles to play in taking the steps to ensure the conservation and wise use of Tobago's wetlands. Also, as legislation enables the citizen to become more involved in local planning, we must utilize these opportunities, to become more aware, and voice our opinions on how development in Tobago should take place. What Action Can YOU Take to Help Conserve Wetlands? ∗Use proper soil conservation measures when clearing land and avoid burning. ∗Minimize your use of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides and take measures to minimize runoff. ∗Limit your harvest of wildlife, fisheries, or vegetation from wetlands. ∗Take responsibility as individuals and communities to properly dispose of solid waste and maintain a healthy environment. ∗Educate yourself and talk to others about wetland conservation and wise use. ∗Seek out and support local environmental education incentives. ∗Become aware of local developments and their environmental repercussions. ∗Get involved in assessing proposed developments through the public participation process. ∗Let your voice be heard and lobby for wetland policy, legislation, regulations, and strict enforcement. ∗Encourage research into developing documented wetland data. ∗Work with the THA for wetland conservation and wise use on both public and private land. 67
  31. 31. International Cooperation for Wetlands Conservation: The Ramsar Convention in T&T What is the Ramsar Convention? Increasingly governments from around the world are recognizing the urgent need to respond to the current environmental crisis. One way they are responding is through international cooperation by signing intergovernmental treaties committing their countries to the conservation and wise use of natural resources. The Convention on Wetlands, commonly known as the Ramsar Convention, is the first of these modern global intergovernmental treaties. The mission of the Ramsar Convention is "the conservation and wise use of wetlands by national action and international cooperation as a means to achieving sustainable development throughout the world" (Brisbane, 1996). It covers all aspects of wetland conservation and wise use for human benefit. This Convention provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the 118 contracting parties to the convention, which comprise 1014 wetland sites. These sites total an area of 72.7 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Environment TOBAGO leads a youth group, Generation YES, on a Bon Accord wetlands field trip to commemorate Ramsar's World Wetlands Day 2000. 68
  32. 32. Why do countries join the Ramsar Convention? Countries join the Ramsar Convention or become ‘Contracting Parties’ in order to: • Endorse the principles of conservation and wise use of wetlands, with the development of country policies, legislation, and actions for this. • Bring publicity to and increase support for conservation and wise use of local wetlands designated on the List of Wetlands of International Importance. • Make their voice heard internationally about wetland conservation and wise use and encourage international cooperation for wetland conservation and wise use. • Get access to the latest information and technical expertise on wetland conservation and wise use. • Get support for wetland projects, with through the Convention's Small Grants Fund or external funding agencies. What do countries commit to when they join the Ramsar Convention? Countries make four main commitments when they join the Ramsar Convention: 1. To designate at least one site for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, and to promote its conservation and wise use. 2. To include wetland conservation and wise use principles in national land-use planning. 3. To establish protected wetland areas, and to promote training in the fields of wetland research, management and protection. 4. To cooperate with other countries for wetland conservation and wise use, especially with any wetland systems or species that are shared. Trinidad & Tobago and the Ramsar Convention Since joining the Ramsar Convention with effect in April 1993, T&T has taken advantage of several of the special Ramsar programmes designed to help countries achieve wetland conservation and wise use: ◊Nariva Swamp was designated for the List of Wetlands of International Importance, and remains the only Ramsar site in the country. ◊ The government requested formal listing of the Nariva Swamp on the Ramsar Montreux Record of sites under serious threat and deserving special attention. This request was met with a visit by an international expert mission in April 1995, and a comprehensive report was produced in February 1996. In October 1996 T & T was awarded a grant from the Ramsar Small Grants Fund for applying the recommendations made to a management plan for Nariva Swamp. 69
  33. 33. ◊T&T attended several Conferences of the Contracting Parties to share ideas and experiences, including speaking about regional issues since it was the only representative of the Caribbean to join the Convention for some time. ◊ T&T represents the Caribbean sub-region as a second 'alternate' member of the Ramsar Standing Committee. ◊ Professor Peter Bacon of the University of the West Indies (UWI) serves as an alternate member on the Scientific & Technical Review Panel for the Neotropical region. ◊A Wetland Research Group was set up UWI in 1994 under Professor Peter Bacon and continues to conduct research on the ecology and management issues of wetlands in T&T. ◊A National Wetlands Committee was established in January 1995, with representatives of relevant Government Ministries and non-government organisations. This Committee is currently engaged in planning management plans and projects for Nariva and Caroni Swamps and responding to other issues impacting on wetlands in T&T. ◊A draft National Wetlands Policy was developed by the National Wetlands Committee to guide the integration of wetland conservation and wise use into T&T national planning. This has been submitted for eventual approval and enactment by Parliament. Upcoming Plans Under Ramsar That Will Affect T&T The Summary Work Plan for the Americas Region for 2000 identifies several tasks that will assist T&T in implementing its policy of wise use and conservation of wetlands. ◊ Initiatives will be taken to encourage Caribbean states to join Ramsar and increase its acceptance in the region. T&T will continue to play a key leadership role to play in promoting Ramsar regionally. ◊ The Caribbean islands wetlands workshop will be held in Trinidad in September 2000 and Ramsar will assist with organization and attend. ◊ The Ramsar Wise Use Toolkit and the National Planning Tool/COP8 National Report format may be used for national priority setting and planning. ◊ T&T may submit project proposals to be considered for funding wetlands wise use and conservation in 2000. ◊ Ramsar is developing a catalogue of training centres and courses in the Americas and this information can be used to strengthen local capacity in wetlands wise use and conservation. Ramsar may also be able to support participation in training courses. A model proposal for the development of wetland training centres is also being developed. 70
  34. 34. ◊ Ramsar is developing a module on wetland conservation, sustainable use and implementation of the Ramsar Convention for the Americas, which can be used in public awareness and education programmes in T&T. Other materials (publications and videos) are also available. Information on Ramsar's website is being expanded and the Ramsar Handbook for the Americas will also be published. {PRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=ramsar250.jpg (6030 bytes)"} References 1. Alleng, G. P. (1997). Coastal Wetlands in Trinidad and Tobago: Status and Trends. Institute of Marine Affairs, Chaguaramas. 2. { HYPERLINK } 3. James, C., N. Nathai-Gyan & G. Hislop (1984). Neotropical Wetlands Project: National Report Trinidad and Tobago{PRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=dotblink.gif (995 bytes)"}{INCLUDEPICTURE d "pictures/dotblink.gif"}. Forestry Division. 4. National Wetlands Committee (1996). National Policy on Wetland Conservation: Trinidad and Tobago (draft). 71
  35. 35. Useful Sources of Information and Resources Environmental Organizations in Tobago Environment TOBAGO Education Centre 2nd Floor, Rollocks Building, Robinson Street, Upper Scarborough, Tobago Tel: 660 7462 Fax: 660 7467 E–mail: { HYPERLINK "" } Website: Environment TOBAGO has built an environmental information center with hundreds of resource materials. You can find information here on environmental issues and eco- systems around the island. ET also has an extensive collection of teaching resources, such as teacher resource books with lesson ideas, posters, videos, books, and games. Schools and members can borrow resources and books free of charge. ET volunteers can also come to schools to deliver lectures and conduct demonstration lessons. Save Our Sea Turtles C/O Wendy Heron, Courland Bush Trace, Black Rock, Tobago Tel: 639 9669/0026 SOS has developed educational materials about turtle conservation. SOS can come to schools to conduct slide shows and interactive lectures. The Buccoo Reef Trust TLH Office Building, Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago Tel: 635 2000 Fax: 639 7333 E-mail: Website: { HYPERLINK "" } Buccoo Reef Trust have developed educational materials focusing on the conservation of the Caribbean’s marine environment. Buccoo Reef Trust employees and volunteers can come to schools to conduct lectures and accompany school trips onto Buccoo Reef. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources Unit 678, Highmorr Centre, 78 Wilson Road Tel: 639 7636 Fax: 639 5232 E-mail: { HYPERLINK "" } The Department of Environment and Natural Resources have an environmental education resource center that can be accessed for resource and lesson ideas. They have also developed a number of educational games and videos. Employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources can come to schools to conduct lectures and lessons. They are also available as guides for field trips. Institute of Marine Affairs Hilltop Lane, Chaguaramas, Trinidad Tel: 634 4291 Fax: 634 4433 E-mail: { HYPERLINK "" } Website: { HYPERLINK "" } The Institute of Marine Affairs have developed an education pack about Tobago’s coral reefs.
  36. 36. 72 Other environmental organizations These organizations can provide further information on the environment. Some will provide information free of charge, whilst others have a full catalogue of educational packs and publications for sale. Pointe-A-Pierre Wild Fowl Trust 42 Sandown Road, Goodwood Park, Pt Cumana, Trinidad Tel: (809) 637 5145 Fax: (809) 658 2513 Caribbean Conservation Association Chelford, Bush Hill, The Garrison, St. Michael, Barbados Tel: (246) 426 5373 E –mail: Website: { HYPERLINK "" } West Indian Whistling Duck Working Group of the Society of Caribbean Ornithology C/o Lisa G. Sorenson, Ph.D., Dept. of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA Website: { HYPERLINK "" } Mangrove Action Project General Delivery, Watering Place, Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands Tel: (345) 948 0319 Fax: (345) 948 0640 E-mail: { HYPERLINK "" } National Wildlife Federation 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA 22184, USA Tel: (703) 790 4100 Website: { HYPERLINK "" } Project WET The Watercourse, 201 Culberston Hall, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, 59717-0570, USA Tel: (406) 994 5392 Fax: 994 1919 E-mail: { HYPERLINK "|par" } Coral Forest Suite 1040, 400 Montgomery Street. San Francisco, CA 94104, USA Tel: (415) 788 REEF Fax: (415) 398 0385 E-mail: { HYPERLINK "" } Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Natural Resources Management Unit P.O.Box 1383, Castries, St Lucia Tel: (758) 453 6208 Fax: (758) 452 2194
  37. 37. 73 Teacher Resource Guidebooks Listed below is a range of teacher resource guides with ideas for lessons, projects and activities in and out of the classroom. All are available at the Environment TOBAGO education Centre. Wondrous West Indian Wetlands – Society of Caribbean Ornithology People and Corals – Caribbean Conservation Association Coral Reefs – An English Compilation of Activities for Middle School Students – National Centre for Environmental Publications and Information EnACT- An environmental education programme for primary schools in Trinidad and Tobago. – Nicole Leotaud in collaboration with the Ministry of Education Keep a Clean School Competition Teachers Information Packet – Environment TOBAGO Schools Recycling Programme Pilot Project Teachers Handbook – The Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company LTD Envirokids Infant Environmental Activity Booklet – Environmental Management Authority Sea Turtle and Coastal Habitat Education Programme – An Educator’s Guide – Sea Turtle Survival League Turning the Tide on Trash – A learning Guide On marine Debris – United States Environmental Protection Agency Future Forests Teacher’s Guide – Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations E Patrol Environmental Action Programme – E- Patrol Foundation Give Water A Hand Action Guide – The Blue Thumb Programme The GLOBE Programme Teacher’s Guide – The GLOBE Programme
  38. 38. 74 Internet Resources The Internet is a wonderful source of information, pictures and ideas for activities connected with the environment. There are thousands of relevant websites. Most contain pages of links to other suitable websites so each of these sites is just a starting point. Web addresses change very quickly. If these addresses are out of date, use a search engine to search for the full name of the organization. ARK { HYPERLINK "" } Organization trying to record the earth’s biodiversity in pictures and words. Discovery General science site with good articles. Earth Island { HYPERLINK "" } Children’s environmental education site Eco Net { HYPERLINK "" } International network of environmental organizations and campaigners Friends of the Earth { HYPERLINK "" } Excellent site with green living tips and educational materials GLOBE { HYPERLINK "" } Worldwide environmental monitoring programme with resources and projects for school The Green Brick Road American environmental education site Greenpeace Site of campaigning organization Naturenet { HYPERLINK "" } Good starting point for environmental information Peacecorps { HYPERLINK "" }
  39. 39. Information and environmental educational resources Project Learning Tree { HYPERLINK "" } American environmental education project 75 Field Trips The value of field trips Nothing brings alive the value of the natural environment more than a field trip. Yes - you can show students a picture or a video of a coral reef, even get them to pretend to be the sea creatures that live there, but until they have actually experienced it first hand, they will never be able to fully appreciate it’s beauty and wonder. Once a student has seen these beautiful and diverse ecosystems for themselves, they will be far more in a position to realise the need to conserve and protect them. Despite the abundance of accessible natural ecosystems in Tobago, surprisingly few Tobagonians have visited them. Many teachers who participated in the programme had never been to the rainforest. It is our duty as educators to ensure that children in Tobago are given access to all that the island has to offer. If properly organized and planned, a field trip can also be great stimulus for a project and work in all subject areas. A trained guide can give information that might otherwise be unavailable or difficult to find. In addition, a school field trip is a memorable and enjoyable day out for the students, and one they will not forget in a hurry. Practicalities of organizing a field trip You must obtain permission from the Division of Education for any field trip. Your school may have application forms or they can be obtained for the Division of Education. When you have received a letter of approval, the next step is to seek the consent of the parents. A small fee will probably need to be charged for transport, which you will need to arrange yourself. Buses are available from state agencies and organizations such as the Education, Youth and Culture Departments, Community Development, and YTEPP. There should be no more than 20 students to 1 adult, though it is advisable to have more adults if possible. Parents are a good resource here. No sea bathing is allowed on school field trips. State agencies and organizations that can provide guides and assistance Environment TOBAGO Buccoo Reef Trust Department of the Environment and Natural Resources Institute of Marine Affairs Possible locations for field trips Buccoo Reef and Bon Accord Lagoon Speyside Reef and Little Tobago
  40. 40. Main Ridge Forest Reserve Kilgwyn Wetlands in Canaan, Lowlands 76
  42. 42. 77 1. DECIDE CONTENT OF UNIT Example for Standard 3 Goal: To prevent further loss of Tobago’s coral reefs Aim: To promote a greater understanding and appreciation of a coral reef eco-system, the life it supports and threats to coral reefs. 2. DETERMININE KEY OBJECTIVES Subjects: Science, Art and Craft, Drama. Social Studies Objectives: Students will be able to explain the food/energy relationship within, and construct a food web in a coral reef habitat, 2) make masks to represent inhabitants of a coral reef, 3) dramatise the movements of coral reef inhabitants. Students will be able to 1) identify pollutants, which adversely affect marine life, 2) suggest ways of reducing pollution. 3. PLAN LESSONS Example Weave a Food Web Subjects: Science, Art and Craft, Drama Aims: A greater understanding and appreciation of a coral reef ecosystem and the life it supports. Objectives: Students will be able to explain the food/energy relationship within, and construct a food web in a coral reef habitat, 2) make masks to represent inhabitants of a coral reef, 3) dramatise the movements of coral reef inhabitants. Previous knowledge: What a food chain is. Wildlife and plants found in a marine habitat. Key vocabulary: food chain, food web, energy Suggested Time: Session 1 – 30 mins Session 2 - 30 mins Session 3 – 40 mins Materials: card, colouring pencils, string, picture of a coral reef habitat, pictures of all the sea creatures in the food web Conceptual Knowledge component and Curriculum link: Science: Food chains are interconnected in an eco-system. (p30) The sea is a natural habitat for marine life. (p 31) Art and Craft: Decorative craft (p33) Activity: SESSION 1 1. Ask students what type of animals and plants live in the sea. Explain that in Tobago a lot of the sea life lives in and around coral reef habitats, feeding off each other.
  43. 43. 2. Re-cap with students on what a food chain is and ask them to give some examples of a food chain that might occur in a coral reef habitat. 78
  44. 44. 79
  45. 45. 1. Direct students to lay the string down on the ground so that the web stays intact. So that they can notice the pattern created by the interaction on the organisms. 2. Explain that coral reefs in Tobago are threatened by pollution and many fish and sea creatures, such as turtles are threatened by over-fishing 3. Ask all the corals to step back. Which animals will be affected if the coral disappears? 4. Explain that if one part of the coral reef habitat disappears, all the other parts will be affected. Sources, effects and reduction of marine pollution Subjects: Science, Social Studies Aims: Increase awareness of water pollution issues and ways in which it can be reduced Objectives: Students will be able to 1) identify pollutants, which adversely affect marine life, 2) suggest ways of reducing pollution. Previous knowledge: Students should know about marine eco-systems. Key vocabulary: pollution, pesticides, fertilizers, detergents, organic waste, petroleum products, sediments Suggested Time: Session 1 – 30 mins Session 2 – 40 mins Session 3 – 20 mins Materials: Wondrous West Indian Wetlands Teacher Resource Book, plank of wood, small brick, watering can, powdered food colouring, soil, coloured card Conceptual Knowledge component and Curriculum link: Science: Various forms of pollutants affect marine life (p31) Social Science: Environmental concerns which are the result of the exploitation of some natural resources. (p157) Suggest ways of alleviating some of the environmental concerns. (p157) Background information for teachers: Ideas for these lessons were taken from the “Wondrous West Indian Wetlands Teacher’ Resource Book” and “People and Corals – An education pack for Caribbean Primary Schools.” All schools in Tobago have received a copy of both of these resource books. Activity: SESSION 1 1. Ask students some of the ways in which they use water and what they think happens to the waste water when they finish with it. 2. Explain that when water washes down the plughole, drain or street it will end up polluting rivers that will eventually run into the sea. 3. Read poem Away on the Bay. Ask students to listen out for different types of pollution and effects. 80
  46. 46. 4. After you have finished reading the poem, ask children whether the waste from Away really did go away. 5. List on the board different types of pollution in Away and the effects of that pollution on marine life and people. 6. Discuss other forms of pollution that effect marine life and people. Eg. fertilizers, pesticides, sewage, oil, sediments. SESSION 2 1. Tell students that they are going to take a closer look at some of the activities that citizens of Away do and decide whether they are water polluting criminals. 2. They will be judge and jury and will use the information provided, to identify what water pollution crimes they are guilty of. 3. Give out copies of the Water Criminals? The Accused worksheet. Read out the information about each of the accused and decide whether each one is guilty. 4. If they decide that a citizen is guilty, they must pass sentence. The sentence will require the criminals to clean up their pollution and take steps to reduce pollution in the future. 5. Lead a discussion about the crimes committed by the water polluting criminals, and what each criminal could do in the future to minimize pollution SESSION 3 Preparation 1. Lay piece of wood with one end slightly elevated by a small brick and resting a couple of inches above the ground. The other end will lie directly on the ground, forming a triangle. 2. Spread soil on the elevated half of the wood to represent a farming area typical of Tobagonian landscape, with mounds for hills and valleys for streams and rivers. 3. On the bottom half of the slope, place green card to represent mangrove and blue card to represent sea. Pieces of dead coral may be placed onto blue card to represent coral reef. 1. Explain model to the students and how it represents a typical Tobago landscape. 2. Select a student to pour food colouring onto the upland areas. Explain how this represents various pollutants. Ask students what types of pollution there is in Tobago 3. What do you think will happen to the various pollutants when it rains? 4. Using watering can, select another student to sprinkle soil evenly with a good amount of water, representing heavy rainfall. Ideally, the river will begin to show signs of different coloured waters, evidence that pollutants can run-off from the land into the river, and eventually out to the sea. 5. Discuss the effects of this pollutant run off on people, animals and plants and the sea. 81
  47. 47. 4. CONSTRUCT PRE-TEST This test should be given to the students prior to starting the topic in order to determine what students already know. The following is a guide to types of questions that can be asked. Try to vary the types of questions in your test. TESTING There are basically two types of test items: A. Objective Items i. Completion items ii. True/false items iii. Two choice items iv. Multiple choice items v. Matching items B. Essay Items i. Short-answer items ii. Structured essays a. restricted b. extended iii. Unstructured essay items 82
  48. 48. 83
  49. 49. QUESTION EXAMPLES Recall In what year was the Main Ridge Forest Reserve declared protected? Define What is a mammal? Identify/Observe What birds do you have visiting your school grounds? Name What creatures do you finding on a coral reef? Yes/No Coral is a plant. Yes/No Designate Circle the animals that are reptiles? frog caiman turtle snake crab Explain What important functions do the wetland areas serve? State relationships Draw a diagram of a food chain that might occur on a coral reef. Identify the producer and the primary, secondary and tertiary consumers. Compare/Contrast Compare a range of insects found on the school grounds. What similarities and differences can you find? Predict What do you think would happen if the Main Ridge Forest Reserve was cut down? 84
  50. 50. Hypothesize Does polluted water always look different to clean water? Infer Read this passage “Did also in pursuance of your said instructions remove to Your Majesty a tract of wood land lying in the interior and most hilly parts of this island for the purpose of attracting frequent showers of rain upon which the fertility of lands in these climates doth entirely depend.” William Young – Main Ridge Forest Reserve Act 1776 Do you think that the Main Ridge Forest Reserve was created for the benefit of humans or the environment? Give reasons for your answer. Reconstruct Heavy rains in Tobago caused flooding in the Lowlands. Rivers were found to be full of tree trunks and soil. What do you think is the reason for this? Judge Does tourism help to preserve Tobago’s environment? Value Humans have the right to modify the natural environment to suit their needs. Discuss Defend Wetlands smell and are ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Why should we preserve them? Justify choice Would you like to see more or less tourist development in Tobago? Give reasons for your answer. 85
  51. 51. 5. ADMINISTER PRE-TEST Try to keep testing as informal as possible, so as not to overburden the students with testing. 6. ANALYSE PRE-TEST RESULTS Analysis of pre- test results will allow you to find out the student’s current level of knowledge as well as any misconceptions they may have about the topic. This will enable you to focus your lessons more on gaps in knowledge that the students have. 7. REVIEW UNIT AND LESSON PLANS At this point you may want to review and change some of the content of your lesson plans, based on your analysis of pre- test results 8. TEACH UNIT AND EVALUATE EACH LESSON The lesson plans given in the examples above may be done over a period of 1-2 weeks, covering Science, Art and Craft, Drama and Social Studies. Thus the environmental concepts that you want to teach are infused across the curricular. Evaluate what the children have achieved at the end of each lesson, in order to determine if the lessons were successful and whether the children achieved the learning objectives. Lesson plans can be adjusted accordingly. 9. ADMINISTER POST TEST This should be exactly the same as the pre test. 10. EVALUATE – COMPARE PRE- AND POST- TEST RESULTS This will allow you to find out how children’s knowledge and understanding of the topic has improved as a result of your lessons and whether the children achieved the learning objectives. 11. CONCLUSIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS Based on your evaluation, what conclusions can you draw about the success of the unit of lesson plans and what recommendations can you make if the topic was to be taught again? 86
  52. 52. Using the Lesson Plans These lessons have been designed with Primary school children in mind, but can easily be modified for use with other ages. Furthermore, the duration of each activity can be adapted to suit individual resources, abilities and needs. The lesson plans have been divided into seven sections, from Infant 1 – Standard 5. The environmental themes have been infused across the Primary curricular. Each lesson plan has been linked to the current curriculums for either Science, (September 2000) Social Sciences, (September 2001) Language Arts, (September 1999) Mathematics (September 1999) or Art and Craft (September 1997) and page references have been given. Some lessons also include Physical Education and Drama, but no curriculum links have been given for these. The lessons are designed to require only rudimentary resources, as we know that lack of resources is a big issue in Tobago’s schools. However, many of the activities do require space, so please use outdoor areas if you can. Try to arrange a field trip to go with these lessons, even if it is just a walk around the local area to observe wildlife. Tips for arranging field trips can be found in the chapter, Sources of Information and Resources. Background information has been given on some of the lesson plans where necessary and further information can be found in the chapter, Information on Tobago’s Environment. If you require further assistance please contact one of the environmental organizations or government agencies listed in the chapter, Sources of Information and Resources. Above all, these lesson plans should just be a starting point for infusing environmental education across the Primary school curricular. Try them out and then have a go at planning your own lessons, using these lesson plans as a model. There may be a pressing environmental issue in your community that you want to deal with. 87
  53. 53. Lessons - Infant 1 What is an eco system? Subjects: Science, Language Arts, Art and Craft Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Science: The homes of animals and plants need care and protection (p4) Language Arts: Make a picture dictionary. (p66) Ecosystem story Subjects: Language Arts, Science, Drama, Art and Craft Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Language Arts: Statement of ideas (p11) Using standard English structures (p13) Science: Different organisms live in different habitats. (p4) Art and Craft: Producing a drawing (p10) The natural environment of T&T Subjects: Science, Art and Craft Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Science: Different organisms live in different habitats (p4) The homes of animals and plants need care and protection (p4) Art and Craft: Collage (p11) Litter Subjects: Science Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Science: A clean scene is a healthy scene (p4) Basic shapes in nature Subjects: Social Science, Mathematics, Art and Craft Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Social Science: Observe and identify features of the world in which they live (p44) Mathematics: Plane shapes and solids (p28) Art and Craft: Drawing objects from shapes (p11) The Weather Subjects: Social Studies Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Social Studies: The weather affects us. (p48) 88
  54. 54. What is an eco system? Subjects: Science, Language Arts, Art and Craft Aims: Demonstrate knowledge, care and concern for animals and plants in the local environment. Objectives: Students will be able to produce a picture dictionary of animals and plants in the local environment. Previous knowledge: Students should know the alphabet Key vocabulary: animal, eco-system, environment, living, non-living, plant Suggested Time: 2 periods and ongoing Materials: Pictures of animals and plants in T&T, drawing materials, paper Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Science: The homes of animals and plants need care and protection (p4) Language Arts: Make a picture dictionary. (p66) Background information for the teacher: This activity begins a project that should last the entire year as a display on the classroom wall. It aims to get students familiar with some of the ecosystem components, focusing on animals and plants from T&T only. It is important that students from an early age identify with and appreciate the rich biodiversity found in their country. Pictures of animals and plants may be difficult to obtain, and the teacher should start collecting these from newspapers and copies from other sources as early as possible, and it should be continued as a year-long activity. Activity: 1. Prepare large cards, one with each letter of the alphabet. 2. Paste the cards in a row along the sides of the classroom wall. 3. For each letter, identify some of the animals, plants, and non-living components of the environment that begin with that letter. 4. Under each letter of the alphabet, paste pictures of these. 5. During the year, have students draw pictures of other examples that they learn about, and add these. Some ideas are listed below, use others. Agouti, Alligator, Air, Ant Bat, Beetle, Beach, Butterfly, Bird, Blue Heron, Blackbird Caterpillar, Clouds, Caiman, Coconut tree, Capuchin monkey, Chip chip, Crab, Caracara Deer, Duck Egg, Eel, Egret Fish, Frog, Flower, Fruit, Fly, Fire Grass, Grasshopper Hive, Hawksbill turtle, Hummingbird, Hawk, Hill 89
  55. 55. Insect, Iguana Jacana Kiskidee, Kingfisher Lizard, Lappe, Land, Leatherback turtle, Lobster Matte, Mongoose, Monkey, Manatee, Mud, Mushroom, Moth Nut, Nature Orchid, Ocelot, Otter, Oyster, Oil bird, Owl Porcupine, Plant, Parrot, Pigeon, Pawi, Purple Gallinule, Pelican Quenk Rain, Red Howler Monkey Sun, Sand, Snake, Shark, Sting-ray, Soil, Shell, Spider, Scarlet Ibis, Starfish, Sand dollar Tattoo, Tree, Turtle Urchin Vampire bat, Vulture (corbeau), Vine Wahoo, Water, Worm, spider Web, Woodpecker Yam liZard, Zandoli Evaluation: Prepare picture cards of different animals, plants and non-living parts of the environment and have students identify the letter sound and letter. Choose a letter of the alphabet and have students list some of the items from the display that begin with that letter. Follow-up Activities: Read stories about items from the display. Bring in specimens of items from the display (for example leaves, insects, etc.). Set up a nature corner with items from the display or even an aquarium or terrarium. Dried leaves, seeds, small plants, bones, shells, aquaria and live animals (for example insects in jars) may be used. Teachers should emphasize to students that wild animals and plants belong in nature, and should be left there. Do a backyard assessment of animal and plant life as a school activity, or as a homework assignment. Visit the zoo to see some of the animals there (focus especially on animals native to T&T). 90
  56. 56. Ecosystem story Subjects: Language Arts, Science, Drama, Art and Craft Aims: Understand that ecosystems provide homes for animals. Objectives: Students will be able to 1) describe a chosen ecosystem and its animals and plants, 2) compose and dictate to teacher simple stories, 3) identify places in which animals live as aquatic or terrestrial, 4) dramatise the animals that live in the eco-system, 5) draw a picture of an ecosystem. Previous knowledge: Students should be familiar with some of the animals and plants found in T&T and elsewhere Key vocabulary: animal, plant, ecosystem, environment Suggested Time: 1 period Materials: pictures of chosen ecosystem Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Language Arts: Statement of ideas (p11) Using standard English structures (p13) Science: Different organisms live in different habitats. (p4) Art and Craft: Producing a drawing (p10) Background information for the teacher: The teacher should choose the ecosystem type that would be most familiar to the students. Three stories are given here, but any others that are suitable may be read in addition to or instead of these. Activity: Read one of the following short stories about different animals and plants found in nature. Show students pictures of the ecosystem. Ask students to describe the different objects in the ecosystem. Discuss what life in the ecosystem must be like. Ask students to pick an animal and relate or dramatize what its life is like in that ecosystem. A morning in the swamp Watch out little fish, you're in my way. It's morning and I want to swim up the river to see what delicious plants I can eat for my breakfast. I am a manatee, and I am the biggest wild animal in Trinidad. I live in the rivers and swamps. Some people call me a sea cow because I like to eat plants just like a cow. I eat lots and lots of plants every day, because I'm very big and I need lots of food. I eat plants that are in the water, floating on top of it, or are on the banks at the edge of my pond. I can just stick my head out enough to nibble on the leaves that are 91
  57. 57. hanging over the cool water. I'm too fat to climb out of the water, and besides, I don't have any feet! I do have a big tail and two flippers that I use for swimming. Even though I'm big and fat, I am a very good swimmer. I love to roll around in the cool water. I can hold my breath for a long as 30 minutes, but I usually stick my little nose out of the water every few minutes to breathe. How long can you hold your breath for? Busy at the beach It's another sunny day at the beach. The waves are crashing on to the shore and a warm breeze is blowing the sand across my path. I move carefully sideways towards my hole. I am a crab and I can only walk sideways. I have eight legs, four on each side of my flat body. My eyes stick out above my shell so that I have a very good view all around me and can see where I am walking. My hard shell is good protection against any animals that want to eat me. I can see the corbeaus (vultures) at the edge of the water feeding on a big dead fish that washed up last night. There are many fish of different sizes and shapes that live in the cool salty sea. I think that I am going to hide in my hole for a while those big birds are around. My cozy hole is just next to a big coconut tree. There are hardly any plants growing near to the beach because of the wind that blows salty water onto them. Most plants don't like this, but coconut trees can grow just fine. The cool forest I am an ant. I live together with other ants in a big underground nest. I am a worker ant and my job every day is to go and collect leaves and bring them back to the nest. We use the leaves to make a garden where we grow a special type of fungus that we eat. We don't eat the leaves. Workers like me are very busy all day, marching to and from our nest with juicy green leaves. We make a long line as we walk. Have you ever seen our line of ants? We are small, but our friends the soldier ants protect us and protect the nest. They are big and have sharp pincers to bite with. Our nest has one queen. Her job is to lay eggs so that new ants will be born. The nurse ants take care of the young ants and give them food to eat. In the ant nest, we all work together but we each have our own jobs. We are like one very big family. What are the different jobs that the people in your family do in the house? Evaluation: Students should draw a picture of an ecosystem, and relate the story of what they see in their picture. Students should make up a story from a picture of the ecosystem. Follow-up Activities: Field trip to the ecosystem. See Appendix 2 for a list of possible sites. Collect pictures and drawings of the ecosystem for display in the classroom. Start a nature corner using items from the ecosystem or even an aquarium or terrarium. Dried leaves, seeds, small plants, bones, shells, and live animals (for example insects in jars) may be used. Teachers should emphasize to students that wild animals and plants belong in nature, and should be left there. 92
  58. 58. The natural environment of T&T Subjects: Science, Art and Craft Aims: Demonstrate care and concern for the natural homes of organisms. Objectives: Students will be able to 1) name specific organisms and their habitats, 2) organise materials to make a collage. Previous knowledge: Students should know some basic information about one of the ecosystems of T&T, for example swamp, forest or beach Key vocabulary: wildlife, animal, ecosystem, environment, habitat, plant Suggested Time: 4 periods Materials: drawing materials, paper, scissors, glue, pictures of the chosen ecosystem and animals and plants found in it Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Science: Different organisms live in different habitats (p4) The homes of animals and plants need care and protection (p4) Art and Craft: Collage (p11) Background information for the teacher: The teacher should choose the ecosystem type that would be most familiar to the students. The teacher could read stories from previous lesson students. Activity: SESSION I 1. Draw the outline of a house on the blackboard or a sheet of Bristol board. 2. Ask the students to name some of the things you would find in a house, for example: a person, beds, plants, food, and pets. 3. Let each student draw and cut out one of these items. 4. Paste up the different items to make a collage of the things in a home. 5. Discuss how this is the "home environment" for people because it provides shelter, food, space and water. Also discuss how other animals and plants share people's home (pets, plants). 6. Discuss how habitat means "home environment" of animals and plants. SESSION II 1. Choose one of the ecosystems in T&T, and review what are some of the animals and plants found there. The teacher can use pictures of the ecosystem and discuss what is shown in the pictures. Three suggestions for ecosystems are given: swamp, forest and beach, and a brief list of some of the plants and animals found in each is given below. Others may be used. 93
  59. 59. ecosystem swamp forest beach Some manatees, fish, plants, ants, insects, crabs, corbeaux, birds, common mangrove trees, parrots, monkeys, deer, trees, fish, turtles, dogs, animals & monkeys, caiman, spiders, vines, small plants, coconut trees. plants insects, ospreys. birds, snakes. 2. Ask the students to select one animal or plant found in the ecosystem and draw and colour it, and cut it out. 3. Discuss what is the home or habitat of these animals and plants: water, land, air etc.. SESSION III 4. Discuss how people also use the habitat of animals and plants, and what are some of the activities that they carry out. 5. Discuss how these affect the animals and plants that live there. Some examples for stimulating the discussion are given below. 6. Discuss how humans can also use an ecosystem if they are careful not to impact negatively on the habitat of animals and plants. ecosystem swamp forest beach activities fishing, boating hunting, recreation, fishing, recreation hiking Evaluation: The teacher can bring in pictures of other animals and plants found in the ecosystem and ask students to identify its habitat. On a large sheet (reused paper like newspaper sheets or brown paper bags cut into a sheet) may be used) draw in these features of the environment: water, land, and air. For example, for a beach draw in the sea and sand. Have students make a collage picture or mural showing the habitat and a few of the animals and plants found there by asking each student where its animal or plant is found and pasting it in the appropriate place. Have students list examples of human activities taking place in some ecosystems of T&T. Follow-up Activities: Field trips to visit examples of these ecosystems. See Appendix 2 for a list of possible sites. These ecosystem murals can be left up on the wall of the classroom and an ongoing project should be for students to collect pictures and stories about these that can be added to the murals over the year. 94
  60. 60. Litter Subjects: Science Aims: Encourage students not to litter. Objectives: Students will be able to 1) identify and classify different types of solid waste, 2) identify one item that can be recycled, 3) show concern for the environment. Previous knowledge: Students should be familiar with some of he animals and plants found in T&T and elsewhere. Key vocabulary: waste, pollution, litter, reduce, recycle, trash Suggested Time: 3 periods Materials: litter Conceptual knowledge component and Curriculum link: Science: A clean scene is a healthy scene (p4) Background information for the teacher: This lesson serves as an introduction to the pollution problem, beginning with the problem of domestic waste. The principles of reduce, reuse and recycle will be taught. Unfortunately, T&T has very limited recycling programmes, but every use should be made of those that exist. The teacher can call up such programmes (for example Carib Glass) to find out how the school can participate in their programme. Despite this limitation, the principles of reducing waste and reusing materials can be readily applied to everyday life, in the school, in the home, and in the workplace. This lesson should be used to stimulate consciousness of the students, and to initiate a program for pollution management in the school. Even very young students can begin to participate. Care should be taken not to expose the students to any harmful litter (such as broken glass etc.). Students must carefully wash their hands after handling all litter. Activity: SESSION I 1. Discuss what is litter by giving examples from everyday life. Discuss how litter is produced as waste from human activities. For example: wrappings and food containers become waste; old copybooks and other paper become waste; old cars and appliances that are no longer working become waste. 2. List and explain alternate words for litter: trash, waste, pollution, etc.. 3. Explain how waste is made up of many different types of items and materials, including plastic, paper, glass and cans. 95