Tobago Students first in the country to go “Under the Sea”
Port of Spain, April 20, 2012 – Forty-six (46) students from Tobago’s Goodwood High School became the first students in Trinidad and Tobago to embark on an “undersea” virtual tour beneath the oceans, near the coasts of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Indo-Pacific area.
The occasion was the April 20 launch of 3D educational movie “Under the Sea”, the second documentary in the 2012 season of the Atlantic Ultimate Field Trip.
The Atlantic Ultimate Field Trip is the educational initiative sponsored by LNG production company Atlantic at the Digicel IMAX® cinema at One Woodbrook Place.
Via the movie, the Goodwood High students and their teachers were immersed in face-to-face three-dimensional close-ups of marine life in the world-renowned Coral Triangle and the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Southern Australia. In addition to showing real-life deep sea encounters with some of the most mysterious and dangerous fishes and creatures on the planet, the documentary also showed the deadly impact of the bleaching of coral reefs caused by global warming.
Derek Daniel, Branding and Communications Manager, Atlantic explained that movies like “Under the Sea” reflected the current movement in education to use new and relevant technology. “Educational movies made in IMAX 3D help to stimulate our children’s creativity and innovativeness, equipping them to become competitive and excellent in the global marketplace,” Mr. Daniel said.
Dr. Allan Bachan, Executive Director of the Turtle Village Trust (TVT) and Director of the Tourism Development Corporation, explained to the students the importance of the sea turtles that are featured in the documentary, and the critical necessity to protect this endangered species who visit the beaches of Trinidad and Tobago every year to nest.
“Turtle Village Trust has chosen sea turles as the focus of our conservation efforts because these ancient creatures are among the most important indicators of the health of the world’s marine and coastal ecosystems,” Dr. Bachan said. “The experience of community-based conservation groups shows clearly that sea turtles are worth much more alive than dead.”
Dr. Bachan explained that in Grand Riviere and Mathura, the TVT’s turtle conservation initiatives had led to the parallel development of viable opportunities in ecotourism and agriculture for the two communities. “For example, the inflow of visitors to Grande Riviere expanded from 6,507 in 2005 to 21,000 in 2010, almost 300%,” Dr. Bachan said.
Calling for turtle conservation initiatives to be further developed to support greater economic diversification for Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Bachan said that the Sea Turtle Recovery and Action Plan (STRAP) developed in 2007 had been handed over to Governent to help achieve this objective. One of the STRAP’s components is the National Sea Turtle Tagging and Monitoring Programme (NSTMP), which Atlantic has sponsored since 2009. In 2011, the NSTMP tagged 3,986 turtles, and estimated the nesting population of female turtles to be 10,220.
The Goodwood High students were also treated to an aquatic display mounted by the El Socorro Centre for Wildlife Conservation, which featured rescued sea turtles Squirt and Dude.
The Atlantic Ultimate Field Trip and the company’s annual sponsorship of the National Sea Turtle Tagging and Monitoring Program are some of initiatives facilitated by Atlantic to help build Sustainability in Trinidad and Tobago. Atlantic’s partnerships with NGOs facilitate energy skills training and certification, values-based vocational training, agri-entrepreneurship, and community and youth development through sports and education.