Submitted by Reef Check EcoDiver Trainer & SFS Intern Jim Catlin
The School for Field Studies (SFS) provides opportunities to undergraduate students from the US to study abroad for one semester. SFS in the Caribbean is located on South Caicos of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Marine species identification is a key component of the existing course material here, so it made sense to offer the Reef Check EcoDiver programme to interested students. In total, we had 11 students complete the course and become Reef Check certified EcoDivers.
Given that the students had spent the first month of their time in South Caicos familiarising themselves with over 150 fish, invertebrates and corals, my job as Reef Check trainer was made considerably easier. Field sessions were great fun and took place in the clear and calm waters of Cockburn Harbour, South Caicos. The photo shows students showing off their Reef Check certificates (printed on underwater paper) after the in water presentation ceremony. I may stand corrected, but this may be a Reef Check first!!
We have our next semester beginning in Feb 2010 and it is hoped that the new students will bring as much enthusiasm and commitment as our EcoDiver graduates this time round.