Twice a week, students have the opportunity to snorkel or SCUBA dive in one of the world’s most beautiful and biodiverse locations. Don’t know how to SCUBA dive? No problem! Many students complete their PADI Open Water and/or Advanced Open Water certifications here at the center with some of the best dive instructors around. This semester we also had the opportunity to go “turtling”, and help some of the interns tag sea turtles during a night snorkel.
Student Noel Simms follows a sea turtle on a SCUBA dive. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Walker
2. New Family
Here at SFS it is impossible to not get close with your classmates and faculty, the interns, and the locals. Whether it is cleaning dishes with your kitchen crew and jamming to some tunes, or going on a snorkel to Admiral’s together you will make long-lasting friendships and lots of new memories.
SFS professor Paul Simonin and some students out in the field
3. Community Engagement
As part of the program, students participate in community engagement every week. On a typical Wednesday, SFS students walk to the elementary school to teach subjects such as arts and crafts and science, or read stories to the younger children. On Saturdays, local children come to the center to participate in swim lessons, snorkel club, and sports among other activities.
Greg Hoffer, a student at SFS, plays basketball with some of the local children at the elementary school. This basketball backboard was purchased with SFS donations! It’s pretty cool to see where monetary donations to our program end up.
4. Directed Research Project
During the second half of the semester, students focus on their directed research project that is led by a faculty member. Working as a team, students collect data in the field, analyze it, and create both a final presentation and a fun summary video of their research. Data collection often involves diving, snorkeling, and getting to know the local residents!
Abbey Dias and Karen Hoang measure queen conch during a field exercise
Here at the center, we have 3 dogs in our SFS family. Fluffy, the alpha on the island, looks after the younger pups Louie and Stanley. In addition to the Center dogs, it’s not uncommon to have other furry visitors from around the island. South Caicos is unique in that wherever you go, whether it’s to the store or to the docks, you will always have a friendly pup tagging along.
Louie and Stanley watch the beautiful sunset together at the center. Photo courtesy of Erika Roth