ISPS students have the opportunity to travel to the North East coast of Trinidad during nesting season of the Leatherback Turtles. Students work as conservationists to facilitate the successful nesting and hatching of the turtles.
Students of the Biology class travel to Matura, a small village, located on the North East coast of Trinidad.
This is not just a regular beach clean- up, but one that facilitates the successful nesting of the Leatherback turtle during nesting season. Matura supports the second largest nesting assemblage of Leatherback sea turtles in the Republic and is one of the five most valuable nesting beaches on earth, for critically endangered Leather- backs.
Students become conservationists for a night and learn about the dedication of a conservation groups called Nature Seekers. Nature seekers is a non- profitable community based organization, established in 1990 for the protection and conservation of the endangered leatherback turtle in Matura. They act as an approved tour guide agency to facilitate the viewing and the bonding of the marine turtles and visitors to prevent harassment and disturbance to the endangered marine reptiles. Over the last 10 years the Nature Seekers have helped reduce the slaughtering of egg baring leatherback turtles from 30% or more a year to 0%.Their conservation program has received 7 national awards.
The students patrol the beaches, tagging and measuring turtles, collecting data and although an exhausting endeavor, it is also exhilarating as the students learn about the commitment of Nature Seekers.
Grand Riviere Trip
By: Jan-Thais Chinapoo
When you’re in middle school, you start becoming more and more responsible, and because of that we are also given chances to prove it. The one thing we 7th graders were the most excited about was our first overnight trip to Grande Riviere. Everyone was enthusiastic about it and couldn't wait for it to happen! Finally the day of our trip arrived. This article is about my Grande Riviere experience.
On the first morning I was all ready to go. I had packed the previous night and had woken up early to leave and get to school on time. Of course I was nervous leaving home but also excited for this experience. At school of course I was the first one there but eventually every- one arrived one by one. In no time I was on the bus leaving school, heading to our first stop!
The bus ride felt like a really long time but I was rewarded when we stopped for a short break to buy doubles, for breakfast. After that, we drove for at least one and a half hours to Matura to hear a briefing about the leatherbacks turtles. That only lasted about forty minutes, however I received quite a bit of information from it and so did every- one else. At the end we took a group picture, then hurried to the gift shop to buy a quick souvenir (a bracelet). It was then time to jump back on the bus. The ride lasts another few hours, but I slept through most of it!
Finally...we arrived! We were separated into boys and girls and went to our separate hotels. It took some time until our room was ready, but eventually we got to go in and get ready to meet with our tour guide for a walk and begin our water testing.
When we met up with the boys we split into two mixed groups: one walked through the town while the other went to the beach. I was in the beach group and the tour guide told us about erosion
and what it does to the turtle’s eggs and also showed us things like seeds washed ashore, along with a little background of the town.
It was soon time to do our testing but that only took us about 30 minutes so we spent the rest of our time taking in the beautiful scenery. We eventually got to walk through the town and I admired the entire community.
When we got back to our hotels we had some free time before we had to prepare to go onto the beach to see the turtles. I could not wait! It was an amazingly memorable experience as we watched turtles come ashore, we watched some lay their eggs and best of all, we saw hatchlings.
We each helped carry them to the water to prevent anything from happening to them and as we listened to the tour guide, he explained to us about nesting turtles and how they lays eggs. It was great. I will never forget that first experience seeing the turtles on the shore!
The next day began with an hour long hike after breakfast! We broke into three groups and group by group start- ed the trail. My group was first so we went slowly as it wasn't very easy.
We were still able to spend some time admiring the scenery; we listened for wild birds and looked out for snakes. It was really fun to see all those things up close. When we finally got to the water- fall we started water testing immediately, and one by one the other two groups came and soon everyone was there. The highlight of the day came when every- one headed down to the waterfall’s main pool.
One by one every group came in and we swam around and explored the river. I swam under the waterfall and even caught a crayfish. Unfortunately, after about forty minutes it was time for us to hike back.
That evening our final assignment was to interview some of the residents, so we split up into groups of three and visited the main Grande Riviere community.
My group was lucky to get a friendly and knowledgeable family, however despite our great detailed answers my group went in first and came out last! Our final activity after we showered and got ready for bed, was to work a little on our reflection packets as a group with my roommates.
I could not believe it...the long awaited trip had come to an end! Bye, Bye Grande Riviere. There was one more adventure in store how- ever...The bus ride back felt much longer than on the way up but may- be because this time I was awake. We stopped at a beach for lunch for about 30 minutes and got back on the bus to head back to school.
Halfway there, however, our bus broke down and we had to wait a while for another to come! I could not believe it! This delayed our re- turn to school but we eventually made it!
Grand Riviere was an experience I won't forget and neither will the rest of us. We learnt so much in only 3 days, more than I thought humanly possible.
We were able to get to experience this because of how lucky we are to be a part of this amazing school environment. I personally thought that it was mind blowing, every part of it. In the end this has helped me and my classmates grow so much, I look forward to more trips like this.