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The Environmental Awareness Group of Antigua & Barbuda

Raising awareness & promoting sustainable use of natural resources

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Curtain Closes on Camp GROW 2013

by Calesia Thibou, Camp Director

On 12th August 2013, a group of energetic campers arrived at the tranquil and beautiful Mercer’s Creek area for what would prove to be an experience they would never forget. They were greeted by warm, friendly and equally energetic teachers and counsellors. This would be the start of Camp GROW 2013 hosted at the Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development (GARD) Center.

Honey bees. Have you ever wondered what our world would be like without them? No sweet mangoes to enjoy; no delicious corn to sink your teeth into. How do bees contribute to any of these things? Our campers would be able to enlighten you on this fact. What fact? The fact that, without bees, there would be very little pollination taking place. Therefore, we need bees not just for honey. Our campers got the chance to view the queen bee, learn about the inner workings of the hive and, best of all, to do honey tasting—liquid gold; “the best in Antigua” according to Brent George, our facilitator from the GARD Center.

Our campers visited Mr. Alvin Christian’s farm in Bendals where they were transported back in time to his very own Garden of Eden. The property is littered with fruit trees ranging from ‘belly –full’ mangoes to gala apple-sized dumps. The campers not only learned about agricultural practices on Antigua, but were able to sample many of the fruits grown on Mr. Christian’s farm.

Our field trip to Themba Bio Fuel plant was fun and educational. Mr. Elliott Lincoln, our host, took the time to share many of the benefits of using biodiesel which is made from used cooking oil. This is a cheaper alternative for those of us who are environmentally sensitive.

Camp was abuzz with excitement as the buses pulled in and we set out for Tilagro Farm, a tilapia fish farm. Shouts of delight could be heard as both campers and staff reeled in the first fish. By the end of our visit, the campers had no desire to leave.

The Jumby Bay Hawksbill Turtle Project team thrilled the campers with a once in a lifetime opportunity as they uncovered a box containing newly hatched baby hawksbill turtles. The campers and staff were elated to see and touch these baby turtles. The gentle giant mothers nest on offshore islands and the mainland and return to lay their eggs every few years. These turtles travel thousands of miles to return to the very beach on which they originally hatched.

All too soon our two weeks were over. No more craft, journal writing and games. The memories of our trip, via Antigua Nature Tours, to Great Bird Island fresh on their minds will forever bring a smile. Armed with the knowledge of gardening and composting, campers now have the ability to make their own ‘black gold’. Parents and well-wishers gathered for the final curtain call on 23rd August, as the campers presented in songs and skits all they had learned.

All this and lots more was made possible by our sponsors. Thank you to our diamond sponsors Mill Reef Club and Sandals Foundation for your outstanding support for the past 2-3 years. We also thank Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, Antigua Nature Tours, Eastern Caribbean Amalgamated Bank, Horizons Supplies Limited, Mr. Peter Reitz, Premier Beverages, Sugar Ridge Resort, Waterscaping Limited and West Indies Oil Company Ltd. for your invaluable contributions towards Camp GROW 2013 success.

Visit the EAG’s Facebook page (Environmental Awareness Group) to view photos from the exciting 2 weeks of camp. Camp GROW is organised through a partnership between the GARD Center and the EAG.

You can read about last year’s Camp Grow and watch a video of it here.