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Island Routes hosts first educational catamaran cruise for Westmoreland and Hanover students

Friday, March 21, 2014    

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Island Routes hosts first educational catamaran cruise for Westmoreland and Hanover students

NEGRIL, Westmoreland - Over 50 students and teachers from several schools in Westmoreland and Hanover were given the opportunity to participate in the Island Routes Caribbean Adventures (IRCA) inaugural educational catamaran excursion on Monday, in Negril.

Aboard the Kool Kat Kelly vessel, which sailed from Beaches Negril, the students and teachers received valuable information on the history of the resort town and environmental preservation, including functions of coral reefs, the importance of marine organisms in the eco-system, reducing the threat of beach erosion, as well as wave action and its effect on the Negril Marine Park.

They were also treated to refreshments, entertainment and prizes courtesy of Island Routes, Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril.

The two-hour cruise was organised as part of IRCA's efforts to promote environmental awareness and sustainability in the Caribbean.

General Manager, David L Shields noted that "as part of our commitment to maintaining a sustainable environment, we saw it necessary to get our students involved in the Island Routes Catamaran cruise, which is one of the main activities we offer here in Negril and help them to appreciate what we showcase to our visitors, in terms of the beauty of the environment, and how they can help to protect it."

Teacher at the Negril All Age School and member of the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society, Jean Brown, who led the presentations and discussions on-board, praised Island Routes for the initiative, noting that for many of the students who participated, it was not only a welcomed break from their Grade Six Achievement Tests (GSAT) preparation, but also provided them with the necessary exposure which might prove useful in their communication task exam.

Sean-Pierre Webster, Business Development Officer at Island Routes commented that an interesting feature of the outing was that the students got to interact with female captain, Sydelle Gifford.

"The children were very excited when they heard that sheis the first female boat captain on the island so this was an extra special moment for many of them and some of them have even been inspired to possibly follow in her footsteps," he said.

The students were appreciative of the opportunity.

"It was an awesome experience, as we had a lot of fun but also learned many things about the environment at the same time," shared Anekee Hinds, a Grade 6 student at Mount Airy All Age, who added that the crew was very friendly and helpful.

Shields said Island Routes plans to take the initiative to other sections of the island and to other Caribbean Islands where the company operates.

"We are very encouraged by the outcome and the response from the students and plan to extend it across Jamaica and to the other Caribbean countries in which Island Routes operates," Shields said, noting that while they have collaborated with other agencies for similar cruises, this is the first time they have done a full environmental educational cruise in western Jamaica and it definitely will not be the last.

"Children play a critical role in any country's development and hence we are committed to building on this initiative as it communicates a positive and effective message about national development and sustainability," noted Shields.

The schools which participated in the cruise were Mount Airy All Age, Harding Hall Preparatory, Hanover Pre and Preparatory, Little London Primary and Negril All Age.

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