The Friends of the Environment’s Junior Camp was held from July16-20 in Marsh Harbour and was geared for six to nine-year-old children. The Senior Camp was held from July 23-27 for 11 to 13-year olds. Now offered for the past six years, Friends Education Officer D’Shan Maycock recalled that the camp was first offered at Central Abaco Primary School but is now held at the Friends’ Educational Center
According to Maycock, the junior campers learned about a different eco system every day, and included sea grass, pine forest, sandy beach, coral reef and mangrove habitats.
“Each day is themed, so today we learned all about the coral reefs,” Maycock explained. “They learned about coral reef safety. When you go out there to the reef not to touch the reef, not to anchor on the reef [and] things that they can do at home to protect our reefs like picking up garbage; using a reusable bag when they go to the grocery store, which would prevent litter along the shorelines; and learning to conserve water at home.”
The children were also able to do a virtual fish dive, they learned about the different fish species in the coral reef environment as well as the different types of corals. Venturing outside of the classroom setting, they later visited Mermaid Reef.
“Tomorrow, we will actually go out there and snorkel,” Maycock continued, “so they should be able to go out there tomorrow and experience it firsthand.”
Throughout the week, their time was sectioned into a morning period where they spent time in the classroom doing various games and arts and craft activities, and in the afternoon, they went on field trips. The children also visited Crossing Beach, Eastern Shores, Sawmill Sink Blue Hole, and Camp Abaco that corresponded with the eco system they had learned about that day
Summer Camps were also offered to children in Moore’s Island, Cooper’s Town and Sandy Point. All camps run during the same time as a result of volunteers and instructors in each one of the communities.
For the past two years, Friends has partnered with Walt Disney, and they have supplied a lot of the materials used in the camps. This year, the children received a conservation checklist that was designed as a refrigerator magnet for them to take home to share information with their parents.
Sara Green, a member of Disney’s Animal Science and Environment Team, said it has been a great partnership that they’ve developed with Friends of the Environment to enhance their summer camps as well as some of their other educational offerings on the islands.
She is currently working on a toolkit for tenth graders that focuses on the three different environments found on Abaco, and teachers can check out supplies and a curriculum for their classrooms.
Volunteers also included students from Florida International University and two volunteers from Abaco.