St. Mary's K-5 class came back to the Steeple Building for a field day of archeology and slave history in early January. While visiting the building, Ms. Jackie Campbell gave a talk about how important masks were to the tribes of Africa. The students dawned turtle masks of all colors and Ms. Packauskas, Education & Outreach Coordinator for St. Croix C.O.R.E., couldn't miss the opportunity to remind students how everything living creature is connected. After a turtle march/swim around the building led by Ms. P, the students were eager to talk about Leo, the Lionfish, and the information they learned in the fall when they became part of CORE's Ambassador to the Sea program. Their young minds instantly connected the relationship between healthy reefs and healthy marine animals. Way to go Ms. Rosario and K-5 for truly trying to save your reef!
San Diego University comes to the VI! In January, CORE had the pleasure of giving an interactive lecture on invasive species, management of resources and particularly lionfish management strategies in the territories to an eager group of students staying at Mt. Victory. The students are part of a new program created by Lance and Shannon O'Niel who recently moved to the VI. They plan on having several experimental learning courses here throughout the year and CORE will be a part of everyone. The morning was filled with questions and answers about Lionfish, non-profits and working with the public for funding. We had a great lunch of local Mahi-Mahi caught by a St Croix fisherman and delicious carambola salsa provided by Mt. Victory. Lunch followed with break out sessions on what the students felt might be the best approach to expanding our efforts in lionfish mngt. there were 4 teams of students with 4 or more in each team and they hashed out brilliant ideas. Lisa and Kyle Wescott, CORE supporters visiting from Ohio, helped judge the 4 teams on originality, completeness and creativity. The winning team created an herbicide company complete with name and marketing strategy, Lioncide Herbacide: Roar away the weeds! Second place went to Murry the Moray and Crusty the Cornetfish, a children's book they created to handle Lionfish. It is always beneficial to see what our young minds come up with when given a challenge. Their greatest challenge will be saving our reefs and marine systems for the future. We look forward to working with the next group in July 2015.