As a result of new, multi-year support from the Nature and Environmental Policy Plan (NEPP), the Sea & Learn Foundation (SLF) is embarking on a significant expansion of their program offerings, beginning in 2024.
The SLF originated in 2003 as a month-long environmental awareness program held annually in October. This program continues to be the backbone of the SLF, and the organization has grown as its founder and local entrepreneur, Lynn Costenaro, saw other areas to strengthen interest and engagement in Saba’s culture and environment.
Costenaro said, “Saba is an island with remarkable natural beauty and innovative, hard-working people. Sea & Learn’s October program brings together locals and visitors to celebrate and explore the environment. Create & Learn encourages everyone to enhance their creative potential by taking part in workshops with local and visiting artists, and Adopt-A-Box converts aesthetically unappealing meter walls into beautiful and engaging storyboards featuring the art, culture, and nature that makes Saba so special. The Sea & Learn Foundation exists to bring together the local community and visitors to understand the value of preserving and protecting our natural environment and cultural heritage. With the support of NEPP, we’re excited to continue to grow and do even more throughout the year!”
NEPP was established in 2020 with the aim to have an integrated framework to ensure sound management of the natural environment that facilitates the responsible and sustainable use of the natural resources on the islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. This is achieved by safeguarding and restoring ecological processes and functions and addressing the drivers and pressures that put increasing pressure on these vulnerable systems.
NEPP Program Manager Sarah Van der Horn explains, “An important goal of the NEPP entails the implementation of education and awareness activities in order to increase awareness among the local community and visitors, and facilitate knowledge sharing. The Sea & Learn Foundation plays an important role in reaching this goal by expanding the foundation’s established platform to incorporate NEPP themes and projects.”
In addition to overall nature conservation, specific topics being addressed by SLF with the Saba community include waste management, agriculture and healthy living, erosion, reforestation, and coral restoration. SLF has developed an ongoing, sustained program focusing on the 6th grade students at Sacred Heart School on Saba, called “Science SEAkers”, with each month of the school year being dedicated to different focus areas within NEPP. Teacher Marijke Geelhoed is enthusiastically working with SLF in this collaboration. “I’m happy to work with the Sea & Learn Foundation on the Science SEAkers project. Their activities allow students hands-on experiences that reinforce concepts we are teaching and prompt students to reflect on the environment and our connection to the natural world around us.”
The SLF will also be working in collaboration with other project leaders on the island thereby increasing awareness and understanding of the necessity of the projects with the aim of supporting behavioral change on the island towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable behavior, as well as healthier eating habits. The first of these collaborative, free, public workshops that will take place throughout the year will be “Grow Your Own Microgreens: Learn How and Why”, co-hosted by hydroponics farm expert Denis Banuoku on February 10.
The Sea & Learn Foundation works with the entire community (K thru Grey) and also attracts tourists to Saba. The additional projects and endeavors connected with NEPP throughout 2024 and 2025 are intended to follow this same successful formula. For more information on upcoming workshops and how to participate contact email@example.com or follow @seaandlearnfoundation on social media.