It’s hard to believe the semester is over. Just 95 days ago, 34 wide eye students arrived on South for an adventure which they will carry with them through their lives. I have watched amazing friendships develop in a group supportive of each other both in the classroom and the field. They have dove and snorkeled on some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, watched turtles hatch and begin their journey, listened to fishermen’s stories, learned how to “knock” conch, and have grown close to a community which depends on the results of their research data collection.
Over the past few weeks, students have studied eagle ray behavior, lemon shark habitats, turtle populations, and local ecological knowledge as part of their Directed Research projects. Three of our student groups presented their research to a community audience of over fifty, including government officials, processing plant owners and operators, local fishermen, island visitors, and children. In addition to their challenging academic work, students and staff worked together to provide a successful outreach program this semester which included swimming lessons, beach clean-ups, hands-on science featuring local marine creatures, and research trips with the local high school teachers to study sharks. Today I see a group departing who have grown to know and love the marine resources and people of South Caicos. We wish everyone the best of luck and hope you come back to visit!