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Saba's Future in the Hands of its Youth: Public Entity Saba's Summer Student Program

SABA - The Public Entity Saba is not just talking about the future, it's investing in it. Each year, through its summer student program, Public Entity Saba challenges the young minds of the island, both locally and those returning from studies abroad, with a six-week endeavor to shape their future and that of Saba.


Building Skills, Fostering Development

This program isn't a mere summer job, it's an arena. It's an opportunity for students to delve into real-world issues, apply their knowledge, and innovate. They are not observers, they are contributors, working on portfolio topics, partaking in projects carried out by the Public Entity Saba, gaining insights into public administration, and understanding the role of a civil servant. Here, every student is given a mission, a purpose in their field of interest or relevant study.


A Case in Point: Jade Every's Vision for Black Rocks Harbor

Take intern Jade Every, for instance. Under the guidance of Justin Simmons-de Jong she was entrusted with the task of proposing a method to revegetate the Black Rocks harbor area to Commissioner Bruce Zagers. A task not to be taken lightly, considering the complexities of timelines, resources, budget, ecology, environment, and climatic conditions specific to the area.


Her assignment was more than just a proposal; it was an exploration into what could be. She examined soil, sun, erosion, vegetation, rain, and leveling at the site for the new Black Rocks harbor. She thought out of the box, presenting innovative ways to utilize waste by community composting and returning nutrients to the soil.


Every's plan was holistic, considering wind-resistant, drought-resistant, salt-resistant vegetation, either naturalized or native to Saba. But she went further. She envisioned beautification ideas through signages, living roofs, blue-green roofs, green islands, and green walls, all beneficial, helping with temperature control, biodiversity, building protection, and energy saving. Her proposal saw the possibility in expounding on grey water systems and rainwater collection sites. Every also considered the multiple benefits of permeable pavement, such as storm water management, reduction of surface water pollution, recharging the ground water, reduction in heat, and erosion control.


Challenges

Every's conclusion, however, was also a reality check on potential risks: the threat of goats, maintenance of green areas, hurricanes, drought, biosecurity, diseases. She was grounded, foreseeing the potential challenges, and she was ready to mitigate them.


Recognizing that goats can damage newly planted areas, she recommended barriers or extermination plans to protect the plants. For maintenance, she proposed a dedicated maintenance team, that includes training and incentives. Acknowledging the risks from hurricanes, Every stressed the importance of resilient native species, proper land management, and contour planting to reduce damage and erosion.


She also emphasized the use of drought-tolerant native species to withstand water scarcity. Invasive species, another major concern, require implementing biosecurity protocols and carefully selecting non-invasive plants. Every underscored that collaboration between customs officials, harbor management, airport management, Saba Conservation Foundation, the agriculture sector, and local government is crucial to this effort. Moreover, she noted the threat of disease outbreaks, suggesting regular monitoring, early detection, quarantine, and proper hygiene as vital measures for prevention and control, all indicative of a comprehensive and well-thought-out plan tailored to Saba's unique environmental context.


Presentation

Every's insightful and comprehensive proposal on revegetating the Black Rocks harbor area was received well by Commissioner Zagers, who’s portfolio encompasses the new harbor. Zagers commended her innovative approach, embracing the ideas as a significant step towards planning environmental sustainability at the Black Rocks harbor site, and continuing to reflect on Saba's commitment to responsible land management and conservation.


Reflecting back on her hands-on involvement and the opportunity to contribute to the real-world challenges of Saba, Jade Every shared her thoughts, "I thank Public Entity Saba for the experience. My hope is that the site assessment, stakeholder discussions, and project proposal plans take my recommendations seriously. I wish them all the best to make this vision a success."


The Future is Now

This is what the Public Entity Saba's summer student program is all about. It's not just about skills and experience; it's about vision, responsibility, innovation, and resilience. It's about seeing Saba not as it is but as it could be.


Every's proposal for the Black Rocks harbor area is a metaphor for what the youth of Saba can achieve. It's a call to action for every student and the community, to see the potential, to realize that the future is not a distant dream but a present reality that can be shaped.

The summer student program is not just a summer job. It's a statement that Saba believes in its youth, in their creativity, their commitment, and their capacity to lead.

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