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The Environmental Awareness Group of Antigua & Barbuda

Raising awareness & promoting sustainable use of natural resources

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Antigua's offshore islands and the North Sound area are home to many of the endemic and endangered species and habitats found in Antigua & Barbuda. These islands and the surrounding waters are now critical habitats to a number of threatened species, including the the Antiguan racer snake, West Indian whistling duck, brown pelican, queen conch, hawksbill turlte, and spiny lobster.

Promoting awareness about the values of these threatened species and habitats will be critical to preventing any further loss. The EAG is leading efforts to incorporate the ecological lessons that the offshore islands have to teach us into the formal schools curricula through the Floating Classroom program, which is an educational component to the Offshore Island Conservation Project. The field trip lasts from 9am to 12pm and takes students and teachers on a boat tour through the critical mangrove and coral reef areas, pausing for closer examinations, and all go ashore at Great Bird Island. On the island, the classroom walks through the dry scrubland and along the ridge where they can spot many seabirds nesting. Following the walk, there are a number of activities that the children complete.

The Floating Classrooms is a great way to get the students out to places they may never have been before, or go again, and it lets them appreciate time away from the every day classroom setting and provides a stimulating learning environment.

Twenty-seven students and two teachers from Grace Christian Academy participated in a Floating Classroom on Monday 11th January, 2010. Antigua Nature Tours provide the boat and the captain, Rabs, dove into the water and found two sea cucumbers and an up-side-down jelly fish, a favourite of the students. The desalination and power plants were pointed out - an ugly sight. The students quickly got comfortable on the water and found their legs on Bird Island, where we hiked up and along the ridge, spotting nesting Red Billed Tropic Birds. Although we looked everywhere for an Antiguan Racer Snake, none were to be found, to the students' disappointment. The Racer snake badges given them by the EAG had to suffice this time.

Three of the students were featured on Our House with Kim Derrick on Observer Radio on Thursday 14th January.

EAG/OICP Floating Classroom