Youth Centre Members visit Beaches Turks and Caicos for Earth Day

Ed garland Earth Day 2014In celebration of Earth Day, a few members of the Edward Gartland Youth Centre were invited to take part in the Sandal’s Foundation Earth Day project. Beaches Resort and Spa Reef ball project, which took off in the year 2007 has already begun encouraging the growth and development of natural coral and inhabitation of marine life in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Youth Centre members were able to spend the afternoon of April 23rd learning and snorkeling to see the progress of the artificial reef balls of the shores of Beaches Resort. The reef ball structures are concrete structures that were designed by the Reef Ball Foundation, which is a publicly supported non-profit and international environmental non-governmental organization that works to rehabilitate marine reefs. These structures provide a surface area for corals and other organisms to allow them to grow while offering a protective habitat for beautiful tropical fish and other marine species. Beaches Turks and Caicos hired a reef ball team that included Turks and Caicos Residents and volunteers to install the structures and attached the coral reefs that were rescued from a reef near the Turtle Cove Marina entrance.

Edward C Gartland Youth Centre The Water Sports Department of Beaches Resort and Spa has been monitoring the growth of system for the past year and has seen tremendous growth.  Gustavo Simmons who is the Dive Instructor was on hand in helping the youngsters the importance of the reef balls. “Our reef ball will serve as a reef relief for heavily populated snorkel areas like Coral Gardens and Smith’s Reef and will eventually create new snorkel site for our guests and while creating a habitat for marine life” said Simmons.

The members were able to take part in an educational quiz and additional useful information  on how and why the reef balls were made. This project from the Sandals Foundation- sponsored environmental outreach will benefit the Turks and Caicos’ ecosystem, coastal areas and serves as an attraction  to both visitors and non visitors alike.