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Support Creation Of Coastal Mangrove Forest
A spokesperson said, “The Bermuda Zoological Society [BZS], a charity dedicated to inspiring appreciation and care of island environments, has received a donation from Aspen Bermuda Limited of $25K per year, for the next five years, to support the creation of a Coastal Red Mangrove Forest on Trunk Island – the BZS ‘Living Classroom’.
Adam Barboza, Director Corporate Social Responsibility at Aspen Bermuda Limited, said, “Aspen Bermuda Limited is committed to making a real difference in our global and local communities through positive action and leadership.
“By supporting the mangrove forestation project at Trunk Island, we look to work with the Bermuda Zoological Society to raise awareness of climate change, habitat restoration and Bermuda’s ability to provide meaningful solutions for Blue Carbon initiatives.
“One of Aspen Bermuda Limited’s core values is being in it together and, by providing opportunities for experiential learning, our partnership with the BZS will help provide the basis for a better understanding of how we all can make a difference in the world in which we live.”
The spokesperson said, “Red Mangroves [Rhizophora mangle] provide essential ecosystem services: a nursery habitat for many juvenile reef fish; feeding areas for diverse fish at high tide; and their tangled prop roots protect the coastline against erosion. In addition, mangroves perform a vital role in the sequestration of carbon, also known as Blue Carbon, which helps reduce green-house gases in our efforts to combat climate change.
“However, mangroves in Bermuda have suffered extensive losses due to coastal infrastructure and property development. Rising sea levels threaten the remaining mangroves, as the waters have become too deep for seedlings to establish and thus regeneration after storm damage is significantly diminished.”
Colin Brown, BZS President, said, “Thanks to the generous donation from Aspen Bermuda Limited, the BZS has an opportunity to create a new Red Mangrove habitat on Trunk Island.
“The habitat will give our education team new opportunities to teach science in exciting ways and will permit substantive and sustained educational experiences for thousands of students as they move through the Bermuda school systems.”
Dr. Jamie Bacon, BZS Education Officer, said, “A large amount of a student’s time is spent sitting in a school classroom, but the integration of the mangroves will provide further experiential learning on Trunk Island.
“The establishment of a Red Mangrove Forest will contribute to critical habitat restoration, and students will have the unique opportunity to snorkel up to the mangrove at high tide to inspect the diverse marine community living both on the prop roots and in underwater root systems.”
The spokesperson said, “Mangroves remain relatively inaccessible and thus underappreciated for their unique characteristics and value. The project will help all visitors to Trunk Island understand why mangroves are complex and vital ecosystems and encourage younger generations to take an active interest in their local natural environment and what these ecosystems mean globally.
“The walkthrough exhibit will allow visitors to experience the Red Mangroves and signage will communicate the associated conservation message, thus inspiring an appreciation for the significance of this critically endangered habitat.
“The shared mission of BZS and BAMZ is to inspire appreciation and care of island environments, and as the support charity for BAMZ, the BZS is an example of a highly successful non-profit/public partnership.
“Each year the BZS provide more than 8,000 free educational experiences through our Stempel Foundation BZS Schools Programme in addition to popular community programmes for all ages, development of BAMZ exhibits, and conservation and research programmes. Each year, BZS Volunteers contribute over 10,000 hours of valuable husbandry support to the Aquarium and Zoo with all programmes being accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.”