Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black History Month at the ECGYC


The ECGYC has had a busy last four weeks celebrating  black-history-month.  In my arts and crafts class last Thursday we created these helpful hand reminders featuring inspirational messages meant to keep this months celebration in mind all year long.


The culmination of all the activities ended in a performance last Saturday evening at the ECGYC.  The opening national anthem was sung by Bernice Brown, followed by a beautiful Whitney Houston tribute, "The Greatest Love Of All," she delivered beautifully.


Three dancers from the Bowen Dance Academy performed a lovely piece that combined African, modern, and classic styles.



Following were the youth center dancers performing a high energy piece with Caribbean flair.



Guy Talk is a great program that started at the center last fall.  These two gentleman performed two different rap/poetry/written word pieces, one written free style just before show time!


Qwan Ki Do instructor and ECGYC volunteer Paul Ciurar then did a demonstration of the mixed martial art with his students, showing self defense tactics to the audience. 



The Drama Club then took the stage for a robust spoken word performance.


Drama Club leader/volunteer Alexis cheered her girls on from the sidelines then stepped up for her own incredible solo.  I have known Alexis for years and had no idea she was such a gifted writer and performer.  Her speech was insightful, humorous, honest, and full of soul.  Bravo Alexis!!!


The ECGYC dancers then took center stage to perform their very own choreographed Waka-Waka dance.

 The grand finale was executed by the fashion club, a popular program initiated by local fashion designer Kazz Forbes.


One of the activities for the students was to take a plain white t-shirt and re-envision it, make their own creative statement with something so seemingly simple.


Each of the girls got to strut their stuff in their design, as you can see, each one having unique detail.


Big thanks to all the kids who participated, all the generous volunteers who donate their time to TCI youth, and most of all for directors Charrish and Roxann for their tireless dedication and energy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Rubbish Runners and the Lower Bight Park and Botanical Garden Clean-Up

In mid January I welcomed my father to Turks and Caicos for his first post retirement extended winter holiday. With an unprecedented six weeks to spend we managed to see most of Providenciales, and several highlights of North Caicos and Middle Caicos as well.  During the majority of our excursions, we accomplished a great deal of Rubbish Running, like the below pictured afternoon spent at South Bluff. 


I actually had to retire my year and a half old trusty, dusty Rubbish Runners bag due to a broken handle from all of our combined garbage collection from beaches and roads, bushes and back alleys.  I estimate that bag carried an average of 5-10 pounds of trash per day, five to six days a week, for approximately 18 months.  What a bag right!?  Must have been very strong to carry everything from heavy metals and glass bottles, to aluminum and steel cans, to sand covered Styrofoam, shoes, and food packaging. In actuality that plastic bag was designed for a one time, SINGLE use.  If you live on island, you most likely have one of these plastic bags in your possession and are familiar with the blue and yellow KISCHO logo.  Please put these bags to good use! Don't throw them away, as you have just read these bags have a lot of life to give, far more endurance than some of the "environmentally friendly" options being sold at the local grocery stores.  These bags make excellent reusable shopping bags.  Here is my brand new bag with it's inaugural Rubbish Run load.


On my father's last day, outfitted with large bags to collect trash, we traveled to Northwest Point meaning to snorkel but the large swell dictated we go elsewhere.  On our way to Coral Gardens we stopped by the Lower Bight Childrens Park and Botanical Garden.   I had last visited the garden at the invasive-species-workshop nearly a year ago and was heavily disappointed to see the a further deterioration versus improvement, as we discussed was needed at that point in time.  Invasives like cow bush and causarina were sprinkled in every direction and thick coats of love vine blanketed the majority of the grounds.  Signage indicated to species long dead or in some cases different species that had taken over.   This park is one of the only only free, open to the public,  environmental educational resources we have in the Turks and Caicos.  It is extremely important that it is maintained properly for it sends the very valuable message to locals and visitors alike; to discover, appreciate, and protect our rare eco-system.


 

While perusing the grounds the park warden came over explained that the garden had been cut off from water through financial burden and apologized for its condition stating that next year it would be better.  I tried explaining that these species are indigenous and should be well adapted to surviving only off the water that Mother Nature gives, no irrigation system needed.  The problem is that the little nourishment they are receiving is being robbed by the species that should not be here.  One thing I learned from the wondrous-west-indian-wetlands-workshop, it is far better to show then to tell!


 Last Saturday, February 25th, the TCI Environmental Club along with volunteers from the Gansevoort and the DECR participated in a clean-up of the Lower Bight Park and Botanical Garden.  In this way we were able to discuss and demonstrate simultaneously.


Love vine before (above) and the heaping piles of it during removal (below).




A before image (above) of the Prickly Pear cactus being strangled by love vine, which eventually kills the host species over time, and an after image below.. 



It is truly amazing what a small team of dedicated individuals can accomplish in five hours.  The botanical garden is now freed from thousands of feet of love vine, at least fifty cow bush and more than a dozen causarinas.  Dead species have been cleared away, leaving resources for fresh new species to grow.   In total a dozen volunteers were able to clear this huge pile pictured behind us, a job very well done.  This success would not have been possible without the involvement of the Gansevoort; special thanks to Trem Quinlan and Rob Ayer who not only fully supported the idea, but physically showed up and volunteered their efforts.  Also large thanks to Eric Salamanca from the DECR for his labor, dedication, and new adoption of the park and garden!  I look forward to seeing it blossom and thrive under he and his wardens care.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Eco Update

 Image via here

It has been a very busy start to 2012!  In early January, marine biologist Lee Munson arrived in Turks and Caicos to study the impact of tourism, specifically snorkeling, on humpback whales.  This valuable research is taking place in salt cay thanks in part to Debbie of Salt Cay Divers attendance of the Wider Caribbean Mammal Conference held in Panama late last year.  You may keep posted on their findings at .saltcaydivers.blogspot.


  On January 23rd, we attended Big Blue Unlimiteds EXPO 2012 held at Opus Wine Bar and Restaurant.  We were thrilled to join many in celebrating this company's 12th year of ecotourism as well as honoring their local eco-partners with awards and applause.  The Turks and Caicos Islands are so very fortunate to have this company that stands firmly behind their eco philosophy of combining "culture, ecology, education, and adventure" for guests ultimate experience of nature in the Turks and Caicos.  Please see the article in the tcfreepress to read more about their upcoming education program with local schools and to read the bios of the ecotourism award winners of the evening.


Rubbish from SDC on Vimeo.

  Big thanks to Big Blue instructor Wes Matweyew for making the above video encouraging everyone in the Turks and Caicos to be mindful of littering and demonstrating how lifting litter can become part of your outdoor or active lifestyle!  Thanks for being a Rubbish Runner Wes!

 Before and After photos of the tcreef.org restoration project

At the February TCI Environmental Club meeting we listened to guest speaker Jody Rathgeb discuss her new book Fish-Eye-Lens; fiction but based on development and it's environmental and cultural impact on a small island.  David Stone also presented news on the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund's first annual cocktail party and fundraiser.  Having attended the fundraiser last Saturday night, I am happy to report the evening was a great success.  Guests were in large attendance and the auction and raffle were well supported.  We look forward to the organisations 2012 efforts to keep TCI reefs protected, healthy, and thriving.


The next TCIEC event is right around the corner, please some show your support.  There will be a much needed clean up and pruning of the Bight Park from 7am to 12noon this Saturday February 25th.  Come one, come all, and please bring along some drinking water, garden gloves, trash bags, and gardening tools if you can.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday Woodworks - Saphire Sunsets


Here are the professional images by Steve Passmore of Provo Pictures from Saphire Sunset Villa in beautiful Chalk Sound.   TC Millwork completed this extensive renovation just before the New Year. You may read more about this incredible makeover here.


As much as our company is known for it's beautiful wood works, these photos are a testament to the competence of our construction.  The pool and patio areas above, designed by Coast Architects, were a completely new addition to the well located Sopadilla beach front home.



Custom doors, kitchen, and built-ins












All images from homeaway