6 November 2015

Napantao Elementary School have their 2nd SEAs Lecture

Olly McGuinness (Field Base Manager), Jason Tuang-tuang (Education Officer) and Jesse Lou Tinapay (Community Liaison Officer) were up bright and early on Friday to join the students of Napantao Elementary and teach the second SEAS (Seastar Environmental Award Scheme) lesson. Jesse, Jason and Olly couldn’t have received a warmer welcome when they were met by all of the pupils  from the school doing ‘bless’, which is a sign of respect in the Philippines.


The CCC team were met by Ms. Mae Agbayani, a teacher in the school, who was pleased to introduce them to Mr. Glenn, the teacher of Grades 4-6. Jason was eager to get started and kicked of the day’s program with an enthusiastic question and answer session to find out what they learned from Lesson 1. It was fantastic to see how attentive the pupils were and how much they remembered from CCC’s last visit.


It was then time to get stuck into Lesson 2, which was focused on Threats to Coral Reefs. The children were just as enthusiastic and participated in all aspects of the lesson including a lecture, a question and answer session, and of course – games!

4 November 2015

Coral Cay Conservation Win Silver at the World Responsible Tourism Awards! 

Coral Cay Conservation has been named the Silver winner in the Best for Wildlife Conservation category at the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015 at World Travel Market in London.


The Best for Wildlife Conservation, sponsored by Florida Keys and Key West Tourist Development Council, awards operators and conservation organisation committed to conserving habitats. The judges were looking for integration of holiday experiences with progressive and sustainable programmes in wildlife and habitat conservation, ideas which can be adapted and developed, and the measures of success by providers.


In his journal ‘Progress in Responsible Tourism’ Professor Harold Goodwin, Chair of the judging panel comments on why Coral Cay Conservation has been recognised “The judges recognised Coral Cay Conservation for their role in establishing a Marine Protected Area in Sogod Bay in Nueva Estrella Norte by conducting research and presenting the data that their volunteers and staff collected, for their work in providing free training to local people who are taught to dive and survey so that they can protect the reefs and environment in their home areas, and their work with schools raising awareness of the importance of protecting the environment”. Goodwin adds “Judging the Awards is an exacting task; the decisions which the judges take get tougher every year. The volume, quality and diversity of nominations grow each year and each category engenders considerable debate amongst the judges. The quality that we had before us this year is higher than ever - evidenced by the fact that there are joint gold winners in four of the twelve categories”.

CCC's Volunteer Coordinator, Tessa Dawson, accepts the award from Managing Director, Justin Francis and Professor Harold Goodwin.

Welcoming over 500 people to the event in London, Justin Francis, Managing director of Awards organisers Responsible Travel explained how the Awards were founded to change the face of the tourist industry. “The aim of the Awards is to inspire the tourists and the tourism industry by what is possible to achieve through responsible tourism” says Francis. “In our 12th year we have added one more inspiring winner and more remarkable stories which will shape how the industry and tourists think about the future of tourism”.

20 October 2015

CCC joins San Francisco's National Children's Month

Coral Cay Philippines were thrilled to be invited along to San Francisco to join in with the National Children’s Month Celebration day last Tuesday!


The event kicked off with a parade through the streets of San Francisco Poblacion. The Procession was led by the San Francisco Police Department, accompanied by the local Drum and Bugle Corps, complete with twirlers, and finally followed by a stream of representatives from our local Barangays. Coral Cay was very proud to represent our home Barangay of Napantao!


The parade ended at the municipal plaza, where CCC Project Scientist, Shannon, and Community Liaison Officer, Jesse, were invited to take their seats alongside Barangay officials in centre court. Entertainment was provided by the San Fran Drum & Bugle Corps while everyone was seated.

The main event of the day was an all singing, all dancing children’s talent show! This started with a number of solo singers aged between 4 and 7 – two of which gave excellent renditions of every parents favourite song ;) : ‘Let it Go’! This was followed by a dance contest, with elementary school dance groups from all over San Francisco. The costumes alone were a wonderful sight to behold. Finally, children were invited on stage to read poetry.


After lunch, it was time to award the winners! All of the children and their proud parents had a great time. CCC was grateful to be a part of such a fantastic and fun event.

13 October 2015

Our Staff Present CCC's Survey Data to the Liloan MFARM Council,  Philippines

On the 13th October Project Scientist, Shannon, and Community Liason Officer, Jesse, were invited to Liloan to join the Municipal Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management Council (MFARMC) for a meeting. Having joined our previous presentation of survey results to Barangay Catig, Ma’am Benie and Sir Tery of the Municipal Agricultural Office in Liloan wished us to also deliver our findings to the council. The council is composed of members of municipal government and coastal barangay officials.


The meeting was held in the Department of Tourism within the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Liloan and began at 9am. Initial business was to review the minutes of the council’s previous meeting on June 23rd and discuss issues which were still outstanding. These issues largely centred on MPA establishment and maintenance, illegal fishing and enforcement; all very relevant to the work we do here at Coral Cay.


It was interesting to hear that in recent months there has been an increase in fishing for the blue starfish, Linkia laevigata, a target invertebrate species for CCC survey methodology. Unlikely to be a valuable food source, it is thought that these organisms may be collected for medicinal purposes or the curio trade. It has been reported that muro ami fishing has been taking place within an established fish sanctuary, however no action has been taken. Also, during our time in Catig, Ma’am Benie reported illegal fishing however the designated patrol boat were unable to respond due to a lack of fuel. This led to a long discussion about enforcement and the necessity for Bantay Dagats, barangay officials, municipalities and police to communicate more effectively and work to eliminate illegal fishing. 

As requested by the MAO, Shannon then delivered a presentation of CCC’s results of our recent survey in Catig, ending with a discussion of the best possible location for a new MPA and Marine Reserve in the Barangay. The meeting was attended by a number of barangay officials from CCC’s other survey sites including Himayangan and Molopolo and they were also eager to discuss the potential for such a protected area in their own Barangay waters.


CCC’s presentation was followed by current business, including the creation of an ordinance for a Marine Reserve in Molopolo. CCC surveyed this area in 2014 and have been asked to present our findings to the Molopolo Barangay council in the coming weeks. Liloan LGU are also currently working on an ordinance change for their Tabugon MPA; previously surveyed by CCC however established in the wrong area they are working towards moving its location. This was followed by a police report of the successful apprehension of a fishing vessel from Surigao fishing in Liloan Municipal waters. The meeting was then adjourned and lunch served.

09 October 2015

Gudan Community Education Day

Back in July of 2015 CCC carried out a full biophysical survey of the reefs of Barangay Gudan, in the hopes of setting up a new Marine Protected Area (MPA). The site was full of life with many rare organisms sighted, including the elusive Flamboyant Cuttlefish! The area is also home to ‘Olly’s Wall’, a very popular dive site in Sogod Bay and it did not disappoint.


We are looking forward to the establishment of this new MPA in the coming months and, in preparation, invited Barangay Captain Albert Albarca and members of his community along to our base in Napantao for a day of reef-based education.


The morning started with a tour of base by our Field Base Manager, Olly and an introduction to Coral Cay in the Philippines by Project Scientist, Shannon. This was followed by a lesson on coral biology; the group were enthralled to learn that coral is an animal which uses tiny algae to produce food from sunlight! Volunteers and Divemasters-in-training Charlie, Zach and Josh then gave excellent lectures on different species of corals, invertebrates and fish found on the reef.

After learning about what coral reefs are and why they are so important, Community Liaison Officer, Jesse, explained how reefs are threatened across the globe, leading to a discussion on how we can work to protect them. Everyone was eager to learn about MPAs and the benefits they can bring for the community; talk quickly turned to ‘Olly’s Wall’ and how Gudan could work to protect it for future generations.


After an in-depth discussion it was time for lunch. As always, our resident chef, Tata cooked up a storm! There was just time for a quick group photo before Captain Albert had to dash off for an important meeting in his own community. Having learned a lot, the group kindly expressed their gratitude to CCC for the day and went off feeling very happy with full brains and full bellies.


In the coming weeks, we plan to return to Gudan to present the results of our MPA survey to the entire community. We hope that we will be able to encourage others to snorkel the site with us and see for themselves what the coral reefs of Gudan really have to offer!

07 October 2015

Catig MPA Survey – Presentation of Results

In August 2015, CCC completed a full survey of the waters of Barangay Catig in the Municipality of Liloan. The purpose of this survey was to find the best location of a new MPA. Our survey found that the coral reefs in Catig had lots to offer and would greatly benefit from protection.


The community is at the heart of everything we do here at CCC and it is hugely important that, before any action is taken, we discuss our findings with those who they will impact the most. So, on Wednesday 7th October PS Shannon and CLO Jesse travelled to Catig to meet with Barangay Captain Manulito and members of the local fishing community to present our results and discuss the future of Catig MPA!


That morning we were warmly welcomed and accommodated in the Official Barangay Hall by members of the Council and joined by Ma’am Benita Dipay, Fisheries Officer for the Municipal Agricultural Office of Liloan. The group paid close attention as we introduced ourselves and told them a bit about CCC and our work here in the Philippines before discussing the results of our survey. Everyone was fascinated to see pictures of life on the reef and whole heartedly agreed that an MPA would be a great addition to the Barangay of Catig. 

In the coming months, a new MPA and Marine Reserve will be established in Catig. Our results have been presented and recommended boundary coordinates sent to the Municipality of Liloan and the Provincial Environmental and Natural Resource Management Office (PENRMO) for the preparation of an official ordinance. When the time comes, CCC will assist in the installation of marker buoys for the final step in establishing the Marine Sanctuary. We are very, very proud to be involved in this endeavour! 

05 - 10 October 2015

Rise of the Nudi Hunter!

It’s been a busy week at the CCC base in Napantao as the team have been working hard to revamp our survey boat and get it back in the water for its next scientific voyage!

The first step in this endeavour was getting the boat out of the water – not an easy feat! Coral Cay staff and volunteers were happily joined by a group of willing helpers from the local village to push and pull the boat in to place on Napantao beach. 

Since then it’s been all hands on deck – literally! Volunteers have been working around the clock to bring the Nudi Hunter up to scratch with a new paint job and so far she looks great. Stay posted for the final reveal!

26 September 2015

Learning about People of the World

With the last library session of their illustrious careers Science Officers Mike Soltysiak and Sean Smith have now handed over the reins to their competent replacements Kate Hickey and Aman Mottaqui-Tabar. It was a bittersweet session with a good turnout of regulars and new kids. With the new team on site ideas have been flying around the Taj with everyone keen to make this last session a great one. Aman’s ideas came out on top with this week focusing on people of the world with a strong emphasis on the Philippines and all the work Coral Cay is doing in the Pacific.


Key to this week’s session was the craft and after quickly learning how other people and children live around the world it was time to start up Coral Cay’s first pen-pal program! In order to spread understanding and break down cultural barriers we had the children write a letter and draw something for the kids in the Philippines. Regular star, Joshua, was quick to take up the challenge letting all the Filipino kids know how big his muscles are and the name of his dog. Other letters were more to script with kids sharing their favourite activities and foods. The drawings were exceptional as well with pictures of Montserrat’s national flower and bird featuring strongly. Some of the kids went the extra mile and wrote in Spanish (thanks google translate) after discovering the language is widely spoken in the Philippines. Big thanks to the new Science Officers who made a huge first effort and seemed to really enjoy what is our favourite part of the week.

12 September 2015

Learning all about Natural Disasters 

With only a few weeks left on site Science Officers Sean Smith and Mike Soltysiak were keen to pull out all the stops and go all out on their penultimate library session!


Having been cooped up on site with two tropical storms rolling through one after another hurricanes and natural disasters were at the forefront of our minds. With hurricane season currently reaching its peak we thought it would be a great idea to educate the kids on disasters and disaster management around the world.


Montserrat and the Caribbean in general are no stranger to natural disasters. Located in the tropics and on the edge of a small tectonic plate leave the area open to a host of earthquakes, volcanoes and hurricanes. All the children were already well informed on disasters in general and were able to enthusiastically answer all our introductory questions. Numbers were way up, school holidays are over and the regular attendees who were off island have flocked back to the Brades library. It meant for a rambunctious session with the boys constantly adding additional comedic material to the presentation. Apart from general information on tornadoes, earthquakes etc. the presentation provided information on Montserrat’s specific disaster policies and what the children and their families should do in case of emergency.

Before long it was time to craft again, the craft was particularly appealing to the boys and their destructive nature this week. Children were to make their own hurricane shelters out of cardboard and glue and see if they could withstand the force of our pedestal fan hurricane. Coral Cay staff also brought a homemade volcano with them and let it off multiple times to keep the masses appeased.


Special thanks to all the staff at Brades Library for allowing us to transform their quiet and peaceful work environment every couple of weeks, to ZJB radio for spreading the word, and to the children themselves for returning every time with the same enthusiasm for knowledge that makes it such a pleasure to teach them!

11 - 13 September 2015

CCC attends the Diving Resort Travel Diveshow, in Manila, Philippines

Between the 11th - 13th September Field Base Manager, Olly and Education Officer, Maricris were invited to join the Sogod Bay, Southern Leyte stall at the Diving Resort Travel Dive show. The stall, organised by The Department of Tourism (PGSL), was attended by a number of dive shop and hotel owners from Southern Leyte hoping to encourage tourism around the bay. 


This 3 day event was a great chance to network with local businesses and other green organisations based around the Philippines. It was also a fantastic opportunity for Olly and Maricris to spread the word about Coral Cay's work and the scholarship program, an aim greatly helped by the fact that Olly was requested to talk on-stage about the conservation efforts of Sogod Bay. This was the first time that CCC has attended this event and it was heralded a great success!

3 September 2015

Bantay Dagat Training for Napantao and Catig, Philippines

CCC’s Napantao base bustled with activity again, as it opened its doors to community members from Barangays Catig and Napantao for another activity-filled Bantay Dagat Training Day.   After the usual exchange of greetings and smiles between base residents and the locals, six participants from Catig and seven participants from Napantao got a quick tour around base from Field Base Manager Olly McGuinness.  What’s inside Coral Cay has always piqued the curiosities of some, and the dive equipment demonstration and walkthrough gave them a better picture.


Everyone headed into the science room were interesting lectures on reef ecology, coral lifeforms, target fish families, and invertebrates were thoroughly discussed by Project Scientist Shannon Cameron, and a bunch of volunteers from Australia and the UK.  Local staff, Jesse Tinapay, gave a well-received lecture on dangerous marine animals, full of practical knowledge that got a lot of feedback as it awakened a sense of caution and interest.  Education Officer Maricris (Maki) Calilung explained a few snorkelling guidelines before the group teamed up and drew the name of their snorkelling guides from our dive masters in training, volunteers and local staff.


Donned with their snorkelling gear everyone listened up as UK volunteer Charlie Riddick gave a rundown of reminders and objectives in her briefing.  Dive Instructor Yann Walliser was in charge of overall safety as shore marshal.  Prior to getting into the water, everyone smiled for the group photo, and then, off they went to meet the marine creatures of Napantao.  Some were more confident than others.  The first-timers had a mix of excitement and apprehension, but in the end, the enthusiasm pushed them to make the most of the experience.


After a hearty lunch, participants got their time to speak out and share their personal experiences with the group.  They spoke about the thrill of seeing the vibrancy of the butterflyfish, parrotfish, damselfish, rabbitfish, triggerfish, and a host of other marine creatures living not so far from shore.  They were also surprised to see how big the fish could grow within the sanctuary.

Maki, Shannon, and Jesse took turns in informing the trainees of the more serious topics of reef threats and their impacts, and how these can possibly be reversed or improved by setting up an MPA.  This discussion sheded light on a relevant yet sensitive topic, which has always been the subject of refute due to a lack of information and understanding.  The lecturers covered the benefits of having an MPA, some ordinances that need to be informed, as well as some guidelines on how to effectively manage a marine protected area and its surroundings.


Two case studies, that of Sumilon Island, the first established MPA in the Philippines, and Apo Island, one of the best managed MPAs in the Philippines, are given as examples.  The trainees were in awe as they watced a video presentation on the beauty and bounty of the Apo Island’s healthy reefs and teeming marine life.  Jesse facilitated the open forum where the participants asked questions about alternative livelihood, and shared their plans for the immediate future.  The Catig trainees were very enthusiastic about their MPA after seeing some photos and videos of the proposed area.  They were particularly looking forward to getting the result and setting up the marker buoys they expect to receive from a sponsoring organization.  The Napantao Community Association (NACOA) decided to organize a beach clean-up over the weekend to kick off their upcoming plans.


Before the day’s ends, everyone leaves CCC inspired and enlightened from the new learning they gained—a sign of more good things to come!

29 August 2015

Learning all about Lionfish!

With the CCC Montserrat team working hard on a Lionfish removal programme, we thought it was high time that we educate the local children and bring them up to date with the current situation in the Caribbean.


Lionfish are relatively new to the area with the first recorded sightings off the coast of Florida in 1985. In three short decades they have spread rapidly becoming ubiquitous on coastal coral reefs. They have a huge impact on the local ecology, predating on masses of juvenile fish to the detriment of other predators such as Snapper and Groupers. Lionfish grow rapidly, consuming vast quantities of fish and coming to sexual maturity after only 6 months. In this adult phase they can produce eggs every 5 days with this young quickly establishing themselves on any reef. This Lionfish explosion can actually be traced back to 6 or 7 individuals who were probably released from aquaria in the United States.

The kids were amazed to hear all these facts and shared stories of their encounters with Lionfish on the reefs around Montserrat. Science Officer, Mike Soltysiak, did a great job communicating some difficult scientific concepts and getting the kids enthusiastic to learn about the local ecology. We then discussed solutions with the kids and had them all keen to spread the message at home. The session finished with an hour and a quarter of crafting which as usual was not enough! The kids and adults got to colour in various lionfish outlines and cut these out to produce a hanging mobile. These were very popular with some kids who were initially going to give them as presents changing their minds and bringing them home themselves.


Special thanks to all the staff at Brades Library for allowing us to transform their quiet and peaceful work environment every couple of weeks, to ZJB radio for spreading the word, and to the children themselves for returning every time with the same enthusiasm for knowledge that makes it such a pleasure to teach them!

15 August 2015

Venturing into the prehistoric era!

Excitement was high in camp this week with a library session planned on dinosaurs. As a favourite childhood topic for all the staff, preparations on the lecture and craft went ahead with gusto.


With summer holidays continuing the turnout was still down, however the boys that showed up made up for it with loads of questions and enthusiasm. All the children are regular attendees and it is great for Coral Cay to build an ongoing relationship with the face of Montserrat’s future. The lecture initially provided context on the era of the dinosaurs including a science heavy section on fossils and aging rock layers. The focus quickly shifted to some interesting dinosaur species with the children enjoying a lively discussion on the evolutionary advantage of certain traits. The lecture moved through all the herbivores and carnivores before continuing to the flying and marine prehistoric creatures. Special interest was shown in the Quetzalcoatlus ; a flying dino five times bigger than a person!

The craft was a great success with all the children getting far more Play-Doh than they needed. With only a quarter of the usual turnout we had enough for the staff to have a play around and compete for the best triceratops (Mike definitely wins!). A few extra kids turned up late and got involved in the crafting. All in all it was a great library session with CCC staff feeling they have a good handle on communicating scientific concepts to children of all ages.


Special thanks to all the staff at Brades Library for allowing us to transform their quiet and peaceful work environment every couple of weeks, to ZJB radio for spreading the word, and to the children themselves for returning every time with the same enthusiasm for knowledge that makes it such a pleasure to teach them!

01 August 2015

The underwater world of Montserrat

After previously focusing on large scale issues in the marine and terrestrial environment CCC staff felt that it was time to pull the focus a little closer to home. We wanted to get the kids excited about the environment around them and provide some information they can use in their day-to-day lives. With this in mind Sean Smith (Science Officer) and Heidi Taylor (Scuba Instructor) gave a presentation on the Underwater World of Montserrat.


The lecture aimed to be a snapshot of what the children could see on the coast and on the reefs around the island. We were excited to share anecdotes of all the marine life we encounter in our work and Heidi Taylor in particular had some amazingly tall tales for the kids! Even with school holidays the turnout was good with 10 – 15 kids showing up.


The lecture was one of the best we have ever given. We incorporated a lot more questions than usual and made the session more participatory and the children really responded. We began with all the beautiful beaches around the island and discussed the best places to snorkel at each one. The kids were then amazed to see all the coral and fish life so close to some of the places they live. One of the younger boys, Cason, was especially shocked by some of the weirder creatures under the sea. Pictures of Trumpet fish and Flying Gurnards were met by a loud RIDICULOUS in his amazingly Caribbean accent. As usual the session closed with a take home message about conservation. This week we focused on littering, a message that the children can hopefully act upon around the island.


Craft preparation was very labour intensive this week with staff cutting out 10 larger than life cardboard scuba masks. These were then filled in by the children with all their favourite coral and fish from the lecture. Glitter paint and crayons were the theme of the day with hilariously mixed results coming from the boys and girls tables. Most of the kids got a mask to take home and I think we definitely achieved our aim and got the kids excited to get in the water and hopefully to value all the amazing creatures the Montserrat has to offer.


Special thanks to all the staff at Brades Library for allowing us to transform their quiet and peaceful work environment every couple of weeks, to ZJB radio for spreading the word, and to the children themselves for returning every time with the same enthusiasm for knowledge that makes it such a pleasure to teach them!

05 July 2015

This weeks' library session is all about monkeys!

After a lecture on migrations last week the Science Team prepared a great lecture for this week, especially for the UK girl’s school group that were joining CCC as volunteers, and helping with the library session.


Sean, the science officer, began the morning by delivering an ape-mazing lecture about monkeys and apes (our theme for the day!).  We started by discussing the difference between monkeys and apes; we then had to classify pictures of different species into these two categories. We learnt about the monkeys found in the Caribbean as well as other notable species around the world.


The children were fascinated by all the amazing facts, particularly the existence of service monkeys that are trained to help people just like guide dogs. After lots of enthusiastic questions and general monkeying around… we began our craft activity; making paper plate monkey masks. We had a range of primate produced- a pretty monkey, a pirate ape and a scary gorilla! There were lots of sequins, colouring-in and fun had by all involved. We only wish we had had a little more time to finish the masks as we had a lot of late arrivals.


After seeing how alike our hands are to apes, we wanted to take a closer look at our own fingerprints by printing them. We discussed how our fingerprints are unique and identified the shapes as arches, whorls or spirals.  


The children were very excited to have so many girls to talk to and asked the students lots of questions about themselves. The school goup loved teaching them some silly songs and jokes, hopefully these will go down well with parents!


Special thanks to all the staff at Brades Library for allowing us to transform their quiet and peaceful work environment every couple of weeks, to ZJB radio for spreading the word, and to the children themselves for returning every time with the same enthusiasm for knowledge that makes it such a pleasure to teach them!

01 July 2015

CCC Attends the 55th Founding Anniversary of Southern Leyte

Since the year 1960, every 1st of July the founding anniversary and independence of Southern Leyte has been celebrated in the Provincial Capital of Maasin. This year CCC was invited along to the 55th Founding Anniversary with the inspiring theme ‘I Love Southern Leyte’.


Daisy Gamale, from the Provincial Government of Southern Leyte, kindly organised for the whole CCC team to spend the night before in the currently unused Girl Scouts area of the Philippines building, right in the centre of the action. The celebrations kicked off that night with an outdoor party in a sunken garden overlooked by the Provincial Capitol Building. Much to the enjoyment of our scholars and volunteers, Maasin put on a live concert headlined by Filipino reggae band ‘Franco’ and followed by a disco that went on into the early hours of the morning.


At 7 am the group were out of bed and in position in the Anatalio Gaviola Plaza to join the parade which journeyed through the sunny streets of Maasin. We were escorted by the moves and music of local Drum and Bugle corps and finished up back at the sunken garden where we were warmly welcomed by PGSL officials on stage, including the Governor himself, the Honourable Sir Roger Mercado.

After the parade we proceeded to the nearby tree garden where a good friend of Coral Cay, Sir Rio Cahambing was hosting a photo exhibition of marine life in Southern Leyte. A number of the photographs were taken by Coral Cay staff, with several snapped by our local Scuba Instructor Jesse Tinapay. We were all very proud to see Jesse’s work in the limelight and admired by all who looked upon them.


Coral Cay were extremely honoured and grateful to have been invited along to celebrate such a momentous occasion. We very much look forward to taking part next year and can say with great enthusiasm “We Love Southern Leyte!”

20 June 2015

Learning about migration!

After a lecture on World Oceans last week the Science Team prepared a great lecture on Migrations. The lecture covered both marine and terrestrial animals and included a host of interesting migratory species. Science Officer, Sean Smith, presented the lecture and started by outlining what migration is and why some species migrate. The children were shown a series of animals and asked why they think they would be migrating. The responses were great and the kids got a real kick out of the pictures and the opportunity to contribute.


The lecture worked through all the different types of migratory animals - birds, mammals, insects etc. Whilst the birds went a little slowly at first the kids were flabbergasted when they were shown pictures of the arctic tern and were told that it flies the equivalent distance of three times to the moon and back over its lifetime! The other attention grabber was the Christmas Island red crab which migrates in numbers up to 100 million. It took some serious convincing for a group of kids who are quite happy to call you out if they don’t believe you!

The lecture closed with a section on human migration and a take home message about the importance of protecting migratory habitat. The kids were amazed at all the novel methods of assisting migrations in particular the fish ladders and habitat corridors.


As usual the kids were hopping to get onto the craft session! We decided to do something a bit more collaborative and contribute something to the library space. Using the projector the science staff traced a giant world map onto 16 A4 sheets. These were numbered and given out to the children to colour. Outlines of 6 migratory animals were painstakingly traced over a series of evenings on 25 single sheets. These were also coloured in by the kids. The best animals made it onto the poster which was put together after it was coloured. The library was more than happy to have it up although we hope for it to have its final home in the Taj. The idea was really successful with the kids really enjoying the collaborative process. 

08 June 2015

World Oceans Day Beach Clean 

Happy World Oceans Day everyone! This annual international event raises awareness of the importance of the world's oceans and how we must work to protect them. Events will be held around the world to mark this occasion and CCC is playing its part by holding beach cleans on both of our sites.


The staff and volunteers at CCC Montserrat got down and dirty for World Oceans Day with a beach and ocean clean at Carrs Bay! In only a single morning they were still able to make a big impact on the area. With two divers and two beach cleaners at any one time they collected a total of 14 bags of rubbish both from the beach and the reef just in front of the beach! The rubbish as expected was mainly tin cans but they were surprised to also remove several items of clothing which were wrapped around some of the gorgonians.


Unfortunately the team did not manage to remove all the rubbish but they will of course continue to remove any rubbish during dives on the site. Everyone had a satisfying (if hot) morning and the team's efforts were appreciated by a couple of local snorkelers who were just going in for snorkel as they finished. Nothing like spreading the word by showing that you’re willing to get stuck in yourself!

06 June 2015

Learning about our oceans

With World Ocean Day falling on the 8th June and the Atlantic Ocean right on our doorstep we decided to inform the children of Montserrat about the importance of oceans in this week’s library session.


Science Officer Mike Soltysiak led the presentation, beginning at the beginning! The children were amazed to learn about the ancient animals that used to inhabit the oceans, and that some of those ancient and weird looking creatures were still alive today, having survived through the ages. Mike then debunked some of the myths about the oceans, although some of the children were adamant that mermaids were real! The children already knew a lot about ocean explorers, since Mr. Christopher Columbus himself discovered the island of Montserrat – although he preferred the name of the Emerald Isle. The importance and the value of the oceans were then outlined, the children being amazed to discover that 70% of the oxygen we breathe is produced by the marine environment – how can water possibly produce air? The presentation finished off with outlining to the kids the threats that oceans currently face on both a global and a local scale, and how they can help to reduce those threats.

In the craft session that followed the children made their own boats and the Captain’s hats to go with them, and credit has to go to Coral Cay volunteers Jenny Lantair, Gillian Leeder and Harry Woodger for their origami skills. Science Officer Sean Smith helped the children to decorate their boats and managed to avoid getting covered in glitter, although the odd sequin is to be expected!


Special thanks to all the staff at Brades Library for allowing us to transform their quiet and peaceful work environment every couple of weeks, to ZJB radio for spreading the word, and to the children themselves for returning every time with the same enthusiasm for knowledge that makes it such a pleasure to teach them!

25 May 2015

An open day in Montserrat

Staff and volunteers were up early on Monday morning to make the final preparations for the CCC Open Day. This is an annual event on the Montserrat site and is a chance for the staff and volunteers on site to get to know the locals, and for the locals to get to know CCC! After a final sweep up and preen of the Taj we waited expectantly. Guests are welcomed throughout the day so once a fair few had arrived Susan was the first to step up to the podium giving a presentation on how CCC are working with our partners to provide relevant data for future management planning. Susan also took the opportunity to explain the importance of both the terrestrial and marine environment of Montserrat to wildlife and the human population.

Claire Ogg (Field Base Manager and PADI Open Water SCUBA Instructor) was excited to be able give a demonstration of SCUBA kit and how it works, with some visitors even getting the chance to go for a try dive in the site pool! Others were eager to watch the new documentaries on Montserrat’s marine and forest life, which have been produced by CCC staff.  Susan repeated the presentation for all those who had missed the first one and then enjoyed 15 minutes of fame being interviewed by ZJB radio, which had sent a reporter to record the event.


The final guest count was approximately 20 people. It was a busy day but a fantastic opportunity to meet new people. Well done to all the CCC staff and volunteers for creating such a successful event!