Marine biologist and owner of Barbados Blue Dive Shop Andre Miller (right) makes a point while fellow marine biologist Nikola Simpson listens. (Picture by Heather-Lynn Evanson.)
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For children to appreciate the island’s marine life and coral reefs, they must see them up close.
And the only way to do that, said marine biologist and owner of Barbados Blue Dive Shop, Andre Miller, is if they can swim and dive.
“It really annoys me that we [Barbadians] can’t swim, but we are working on it,” Miller said yesterday.
He was speaking as 100 children, ages seven to 12, took part in the second annual Dive Fest Barbados Water Awareness Programme yesterday at the dive shop’s Carlisle Bay location.
“This Dive Fest is built on that foundation that we wanted more Barbadians to swim,” Miller explained.
“We love our coral reefs and there is a big connection between the more children we have swimming and the healthier our coral reefs are, because they understand that if I am in St Thomas, or I am in the bus stand, and I throw my garbage through the window that could also kill a turtle, that could block the reef,” he said.
“So in order for you to get the children thinking like that, in order for you to get children to love and respect the reef, they must see it,” Miller noted.
The programme will last for four weeks and has attracted children from the Bay Primary School, the Girl Guides and the Duke Of Edinburgh Award Scheme. At its completion, 100 more children will start another four week programme.
They will learn about recycling; they will be taught first aid and cardio pulmonary resuscitation and they will also enjoy a variety of watersports;
“The reason we are focusing on our children is because, as we know, they are the future. These are the ones that will go home and embarrass their parents to change” he said.
Marine biologist Nikola Simpson further said the awareness programme would help children to lose their fear of the sea. (HLE)