Students join in RBC’s Blue Water Project

POSTED: 06/24/13 12:00 PM


St. Maarten – The endangered sea turtles that charter a course to Guana Bay Beach to lay their eggs this nesting season should have a much better time getting ashore after a joint effort of RBC Royal Bank’s Blue Water Project and some 45 high school students.

The Blue Water Project blended with the Oasis Games, a community building method that originated in Brazil, with the goal to making youngsters aware of the difference they can make to the environment, the lives of the sea turtles and the lasting friendships the come from working together with a vision.

The three-day project started on Guana Bay Beach in the vicinity of the old jazz club on Thursday when students of Milton Peters College and Sundial School met with teachers, bank personnel and Oasis Games Facilitator Kurt Schoop.

The team building began by first bonding with each other and then coming up with a vision for the area. The vision included upgraded the seating areas for beach goers and the provision of lasting information about the plight of the sea turtles and how everyone can play a role in saving and protecting them.

“The idea was for the students to create a place with a message and they did that. They worked in four teams to realize their dream areas. All materials used were recycled from items found along the beach. Very little was brought in,” said Angela Guiamo, Manager Corporate Communications Dutch Caribbean and Suriname.

The teams each worked on several sea turtle themed murals, painting benches and rocks/boulders in vibrant colors, creating a totem pole from a tree trunk and a communications plan to tie all aspects together. The result is an area were beach goers cannot escape learning about the sea turtles, their part in the life cycles and hopefully heed warnings about dimming lights on the beach and not having bonfires.

MPC student Michelle Salomons (15) said, “I like the ocean. This project was a great idea and project to be a part of.” She hopes visitors to the areas will be inspired to learn more about the sea turtle and understand better the impact of pollution not only on the turtles to the country as well.

Fellow MPC student Natasha Daal (16) said, “I think everyone is interested learning about the sea turtles helping the environment, but they never had the motivation so this was a great project. We could have done so much more with more time and equipment.”

Nature Foundation Manager Tadzio Bervoets played a part in informing the students about the sea turtles, the impact of pollution on Guana Bay and other nesting beaches and other general environmental issues.

Bervoets commended RBC Royal Bank and the students for “their very important and essential work. Guana Bay Beach is the most important turtle nesting beach and to see our students having a renewed connection with these majestic animals and their ecosystem gives us great hope that these critically endangered animals will continue on St. Maarten.”

All students received a certificate of participation at the closing ceremony at the old jazz club on Saturday afternoon.

This project was a stepping stone for the continued relationship between the bank and local high schools.

“RBC believes in education as a platform to build leadership. We already have a good working relationship with MPC and will continue to build on it in the future,” Guiamo said.

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