by Jessy Leonce
The Science and Technology Unit in the Department of Sustainable Development continues to score success in the popularization of science and technology through tailored public education and awareness activities in Saint Lucia.
A collaborative two-week Science and Technology Summer Programme based at the Castries Central Library culminated with a ceremony on Friday, Aug. 13, at the Castries Town Hall.
Sixty students received certificates for their participation in activities held under the 2020 World Oceans Day theme: “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean,” with a focus on marine litter and plastic waste.
For two weeks beginning Tuesday, Aug. 3, participants aged 5-10 years old were engaged in activities including field trips to the Pigeon Island National Landmark to highlight coastline protection; the Taiwanese Aquaponics and Husbandry Centre in Union to introduce solutions to overfishing the oceans; and aboard the Logos Hope vessel, the world’s largest ocean-going bookstore-cum-library. Participants 11-15 years old were engaged in the second week, beginning Monday, Aug. 9, with more experimental experience in Science and Technology to develop capabilities for sustainable ocean science.
Facilitated by scientist Dr. Juan Heredia and Saint Lucian-born chemical engineer Devon James both from the United States, activities included plastic waste analysis during a beach cleanup; density separation of microplastic particles from beach sediment; Albatross bolus investigation to determine the effects of plastic debris on marine life, and remote sensing to monitor oceanic processes.
Both age groups were also engaged in pollution solutions including the development of new or alternative types of packaging and wiser consumer choices.
At the closing ceremony, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Sustainable Development, Anita Montoute, commended facilitators for their impartation and students for their willingness to learn some important concepts about Sustainable Development Goal 14 which is to “Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources”.
Ms. Montoute urged participants: “share your experience with your fellow students and encourage them to participate in the implementation of the SDGs. I encourage you to apply everything you learned at the camp to your home and academic lives, and to inspire and motivate other people around you to do the same.”
The Department of Sustainable Development partnered with the Library and Information Services Unit of the Department of Education for joint delivery of this year’s camp edition, having recognized synergies between its Science and Technology Summer initiative and the Central Library’s Annual Summer Workshop.
“The Central Library and its branches have been known to host library summer programs annually since the 1980s, but this year proved special when I took a leap of faith to collaborate with the Department of Sustainable Development to host the joint program,” said acting Director of Library Services, Sally Rosemond. This collaboration came like Christmas in August as we were able to provide the participants with a free program, break, and lunch.”
Thanks to the UNESCO-funded Project to Strengthen the Institutional Framework for the Promotion of Science and Technology, Saint Lucian students have enjoyed four biennial National Science and Technology, Summer Camps.This project is implemented by the Department of Sustainable Development in collaboration with the National Commission of UNESCO and the Department of Education.
Natural Sciences Curriculum Officer Giannetti George is hopeful that this year’s alliance with the Central Library will mean life for the Science and Technology Summer Programme after the Project concludes, “The collaboration between the Central Library and the Department of Sustainable Development is intuitive and innovative as it allows for the longevity of the National Science and Technology camp. The library provides the infrastructure and manpower while bringing with it, a long history of conducting summer camps in a safe and trusted environment. The Department of Sustainable Development was able to provide a new source of funding with exciting, innovative, and current ideas that invigorated the camp. Continued collaboration will augur well for both departments and broaden the offerings and sustainability of the camp.”
The Project to Strengthen the Institutional Framework for the Promotion of Science and Technology in Saint Lucia will end in March 2022