Name: Cassie Raker
School: Colby College
Major: Environmental Science
Program: Marine Resource Studies, Turks & Caicos

Well, we’ve officially finished Case Study II. After weeks of studying every aspect of MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) imaginable, we’ve taken our finals, finished out group presentations, and are ready to move into the last portion of our semester: Directed Research. We will work on data collection for the next twelve days, then analyze our data, prepare presentations, and write our final papers. So starting tomorrow, our schedules will look completely different! It is going to be interesting to adjust, but we are all excited to get out in the field to collect data starting (for some groups) at 8 am tomorrow.

Three other students and I are working on a multi-faceted permaculture project, where we will actually spend a large portion of our time looking at mangrove ecosystems. We’ve been re-named the “permangrove” group, which describes us a little better. Soon we’ll be heading out to different mangrove sites around the island to collect data on the state of the ecosystems, most likely focusing on water quality. Back at the center, we will be setting up a sort of “mangrove hospital” in the greenhouse some other students built this semester to grow and tend to the trees. Eventually we hope to be able to replant them around the island, to give our mangrove ecosystems a little bit of a boost. Should prove very interesting!