Thu | Dec 13, 2018

Editors' Forum | Environmental learning hub coming to Clarendon

Published:Thursday | August 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

Manager Anjeli Williams is confident that the Portland Bight Discovery Centre at Salt Pond, Clarendon - slated to be officially opened in September - will develop into a major eco-tourism hub. This is in keeping with the centre's mandate to raise public awareness about the ecosystems within the protected area, the potential risks associated with climate change, and mitigation strategies.

"We'll be having a lot of public education material, an audio-visual centre where people can come and view documentaries and learn more about climate change and the protected area itself," she told a recent Gleaner Editors' forum at the company's North Street office in Kingston.

Williams further revealed that the Caribbean Coastal Area Management (C-CAM) had invested in ensuring that the local one-of-a-kind facility provided an interactive hands-on experience that was educational as well as enjoyable.

A turtle pond, bird hide (often-camouflaged shelter that is used to observe wildlife at close quarters) and a boat ride through the mangroves are among the features that will be on offer. Williams offered some insight into the decision making that had informed the choice of attractions.

"The idea is that we'll be pretty much open to the public, definitely to the community and schools in the area," said Williams. "What we've realised is that some of our school curricula, for example, in geography and biology, have a lot of material that is printed in a book, but students don't get the chance to see it and actually observe and have a physical experience."

Williams continued: "So our approach is to give students the opportunity to come out into the environment and learn about what they're seeing in the book. I learned geography from a textbook, but we are now going to be giving them the opportunity to come and learn some aspects of it hands-on.

"The idea is that through this experience, they will be able to better appreciate the importance of the natural environment and be interested in how they can help to protect it."

In addition to their listed telephone numbers, C-CAM has a strong social media presence, and so Williams has invited the public to also contact them by email, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

"Contact us via any of those avenues and we can arrange a tour. Tell us what you want, and we will tailor that tour for your group," she declared.