SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - The Nature Foundation St. Maarten is now accepting applications from local youth, ages 12 to 14, who would like to participate in their Junior Ranger Program and would like to learn Scuba Diving. The Nature Foundation St. Maarten recently received notice that they will obtain a contribution from the ‘Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Caribisch Gebied’ for their new ‘Save St. Maarten Corals’ projects. As part of the ‘Save St. Maarten corals’ project and the Junior Ranger program four students will be able to learn scuba diving with the Nature Foundation and obtain their PADI Junior Open Water Diver Course from a local dive shop.
The Open Water course is an entry level dive course and a life-time certification to scuba dive. Becoming Open Water Certified will give the students the opportunity to experience the coral reefs of St. Maarten for themselves. Medical restrictions can apply and students need to be fit for scuba diving, the cost of the course is completely covered by funding from this contribution.
“Having this course sponsored for our students is a truly amazing opportunity provided by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds,” says Educational Outreach Officer Leslie Hickerson, “We are very excited for this year’s activities for the Junior Rangers. These students will get to learn about many aspects of conservation and preservation, and be able to experience St. Maarten’s marine environment first-hand while learning to scuba dive.”
Those selected for the program will participate in monthly meetings where they will learn about various aspects of protecting St. Maarten’s environment, each followed by a practical application. Topics will include plastic pollution, coral reefs, local plants and animals, public speaking and presentation skills.
“We want to make sure that the information the students are learning will be applicable for their future no matter what they pursue. Giving them the chance to work on presentation and research skills as well as in-depth knowledge about our natural environment will give them an advantage moving forward,” says Hickerson.
The Junior Ranger Program is committed to providing comprehensive education opportunities that can be applied both in further education and in the workforce. Not only will students learn about the natural environment, they will also be given the chance to collaborate on the Nature Foundation website and its publications. Students will have the opportunity to contribute to their community by participating in clean-ups, giving presentations about conservation topics and acting as conservation advocates in their communities.