A release on the initiative stated that as part of the education and training exercise from June 2-16 2021, the Director of NPTVI, Dr. Cassander Titley-O’Neal taught students from the two institutions on various environmental topics related to the Virgin Islands.
The learning areas included geology, weather and climate, beaches, mangroves, salt ponds, seagrass beds, and coral reefs.
As part of the exercise, students from Connecticut College also dove the only marine park in the Territory, The RMS Rhone, to collect data that would assist the Trust in updating its Systems Plan.
All the students also assisted the Head of Marine Studies at HLSCC, Ms. Susan Zaluski, with HLSCC’s mangrove nursery at Paraquita Bay, and the expansion of NPTVI’s mangrove nursery on Anegada, to minimise any genetic differences between the different islands.
Biology Professor at Connecticut College, Dr. Maria Rosa said, “This collaboration provides a unique opportunity for my students to learn about the Blue Economy. They learned a lot about the ecology of the BVI and received a culturally relevant perspective of the island economy and green economy. They had an amazing experience, and I am looking forward to future collaborations."
Head of Marine Studies at HLSCC, Ms. Susan Zaluski also expressed her appreciation to both Connecticut College and the National Parks Trust, noting how excited she was that the College could be an active part of supporting the development of the growing relationships with international academic institutions, local students and local agencies carrying out scientific work on the BVI.
Dr. Titley-O’Neal conveyed her appreciation on behalf of the Board to HLSCC and Connecticut College for the collaborative efforts between the institutions.