The University of the Virgin Islands, in partnership with USVI educators, announces the release of the USVI Marine Debris Curriculum. The curriculum was written exclusively for the U.S. Virgin Islands to bring awareness to the problem of marine debris in the Territory and to provide culturally-relevant, solutions-oriented, marine debris curricula for USVI schools. It uses local examples and lessons to create a curriculum that is engaging and meaningful to participating students.
One example of an engaging lesson is “Beach Box Exploration.” This lesson asks students to create “beach boxes” after attending a beach cleanup. A sampling of items collected at the cleanup is used in the boxes to foster a discussion on what exactly is marine debris? How do they suspect this debris got to the beach? The objective is to partner fieldwork and in-class activities to identify, sort, and classify marine debris commonly found in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The curriculum also offers “Spotlights” which highlight USVI-specific marine debris research, local researchers, community-led prevention efforts, and natural disaster impacts from marine debris. One “Spotlight,” for example, features Zola Roper, a graduate of the Master of Marine and Environmental Science program at the University of the Virgin Islands. Ms. Roper focused her thesis research on marine debris and is now actively working to bring awareness to the problems of marine debris in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The USVI Marine Debris curriculum was created with input from teachers from eleven public schools and six private schools on St. Thomas and St. Croix who participated in two Marine Debris Educators Workshops, along with the territorial STEM director, faculty, staff, and undergraduate and graduate students from the University of the Virgin Islands, and individuals from the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, the Virgin Islands Department of Planning & Natural Resources Division of Coastal Zone Management, the Virgin Islands Waste Management Authority, the Virgin Islands Children’s Museum, and the Youth Rehabilitation Center on St. Croix.
The curriculum is intended to be used and shared broadly to inspire coastal stewards of all ages in the U.S. Virgin Islands, especially those of the next generation, to do what they can to prevent marine debris and to care for our coastlines.
Copies of the curriculum are available for download at any of the links listed below: