Dive into nature and explore St. Eustatius (Statia) on land and underwater. The Junior Ranger Exchange Event on Statia, Caribbean Netherlands, offers an experience of environmental education like no other. Between July 30th and August 5th 2022 Junior Rangers from Aruba, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten came together to learn all about the unique biodiversity within the Dutch Caribbean, and develop positive, cooperative and social skills. The main theme for this event by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) and its member organisations was “Ecosystem Services and How They Support Us All”.
Junior Rangers take you into nature on land and underwater
As you can see, the Junior Rangers enjoyed an exchange full of nature experiences. Activities ranged from identifying marine and terrestrial flora and fauna, snorkeling and hiking in our island ecosystems, to kayaking through mangroves (not part of the clip as this happened on St. Maarten). The posters told the story of different ecosystems and how we all benefits from their services. The base of an ecosystem is the food web consisting of producers, consumers, and decomposers. High biodiversity, large number and variety of species, serves best for the ecosystems of each island. Marine and terrestrial ecosystems fulfil a variety of functions and services, also to humans.
Explore and dive into nature on Statia with more personal experiences
Get inspired by their nature experience and dive into island life. These statements of the participants are based on entries of the Facebook Account of DCNA.
Day 1: Botanical Garden, snorkeling and identification
Carolyn and Amalia, Junior Rangers of The Nature Foundation St. Maarten:
„This morning it has been very nice waking up with the quietness of our campsite at the Botanical Garden. St Maarten is often very active so it gave us the opportunity to enjoy a lot of the peacefulness of the garden. We woke up at 5.30 with the sunrise and got surprised by some amazing sea views. Though we were very nervous about making new friends before coming to the camp, we are getting along very well with the Junior Rangers from other islands. After breakfast, we went snorkeling. It was very nice to see the underwater life differences from one island to the other. On Statia, the snorkeling is more colorful, with lots of different corals and the fishes look a lot bigger, we are very excited to learn how to identify them in the next few days.“
Day 2: Iguana patrol, snorkeling and bioluminescence
Junior Rangers, David and Desyn, The Aruba National Park Foundation (FPNA):
“Today we went iguana patrolling! I never knew that there were other species of iguanas before. In Aruba, we just have the green one. We also got to watch how they labeled an iguana and understand the reason why they do it. For instance, imagine we were the last two Antillean iguanas in the world, the reason why STENAPA is labeling them is because they want to watch over them and be sure they survive and continue existing. After the iguana patrolling, in the evening, we went snorkeling. It was my first time seeing a lionfish, it was very cool to see a tiger color pattern on a marine animal! Afterward, we went to our campsite to enjoy a night bioluminescence walk looking for local fauna, such as scorpions, and spiders.“
Day 3: Hiking and nature in Quill Nationalpark
Junior Rangers, Sarjiet and Andrea, Stichting Nationale Parken Bonaire (STINAPA Bonaire):
“Today started with a hike to the Quill. It was very tiring, the whole hike lasted more or less 5 hours and there were very steep parts. However, it was very rewarding because we had a good time with our new friends. We also got to see other species we didn’t know existed before, for instance, the Spiny-backed Orbweaver spider. Also, it was very interesting to know that the Indian sunu tree in Bonaire, is called the tourist tree here on Statia. But both have the same meaning! After the hike, we went back to STENAPA and we started working on our poster for tomorrow’s presentation. We have two different topics to present, how nature benefits us and how the food chain works. We are learning so much!“
Day 4: Poster presentations and learnings
Junior Rangers, Chariella and Juanita, Saba Conservation Foundation:
„Today we worked on our poster presentation. We had to finish the whole poster today and start preparing it for presenting it to the people. Making the poster was very fun, we had lots of fun with our new friends while learning about nature and sharing what we learned. We had two different topics to present.
Chariella: I had the coral reef topic. I learned that corals are one of the longest-living animals, being able to live up to 5.000 years. Also, I learned about how coral benefits us. For example, corals slow down the waves and help protect our islands against storm waves.
Juanita: I had richness topic. I learned that too many roaming livestock can hurt the biodiversity of species of our island. High biodiversity is better for the island
We were both very nervous at the beginning of the presentations. But in the end, we got used to it and were no longer nervous.“
Thank you, DCNA and STENAPA
We thank DCNA, all the member organisations like STENAPA and all Junior Rangers for their cooperation, inspiration and energy to create this clip presenting not only the event itself but environmental education and nature on Statia. It was a pleasure working with you. See you somewhere in nature!
More on nature, culture and history of the island
There was mo time to explore also Boven Nationalpark, the Northern part of the island. We don’t leave you hanging though, hop over to „Take a Minute in Statia 002„. As our content on St. Eustatius keeps growing, you can always find all blog entries here.