Over the last several months, nine Grand Bahama teams collected, planted, and cared for thousands of propagules as part of the Mangrove Mania competition, which officially kicked off on May 14th. It was then that Mrs Ann Marie Davis, wife of Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis rang the bell to get the competition underway. Mrs Davis was back at the mangrove nursery this past Saturday for the competition’s finalé event.
St. George’s High School GGYA took home the $2,000.00 grand prize for collecting the most red mangroves that were healthy, established and well-maintained in the amount of 3,073 seedlings. EARTHCARE nabbed the second-place finish with a $1,000 cheque and in third place was Lucayan Groves. Lucayan Groves team received $500.00.
Backyard nurseries collected over 14,000 propagules that were added to the mangrove nursery for a total of 32,990.
Mrs Davis said, “What they all did together was to help mangrove restoration partners by collecting and harvesting over 14,000 red mangrove propagules in the last three months.” She remarked that this was impressive as they exceeded the goal of 10,000 propagules for Grand Bahama. “Mangroves are a powerful carbon sink, and we just hope no one cuts them down to release all the good stuff they have collected and stored.”
Mangrove Mania is a project facilitated by Waterkeepers Bahamas (WKB), Earthcare, Coral Vita, Save the Bays, and Blue Action Lab. The competition is a community-basedoutreach program developed to incentivize the community to work together to source local mangrove propagules for future planting and restoration efforts.
“The goal of a minimum of 30,000 mangroves within the nursery by the end of this year has already been exceeded thanks to the outstanding work of these teams,” said Waterkeepers Bahamas’ Programs & Outreach Facilitator, Andurah Daxon. “Because of their dedication and commitment to the process, I see this becoming a much larger project, which means faster restoration for mangrove forests devastated by hurricane Dorian.”
The other participating teams included Citizen Scientists; Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board; Freeport Harbour Company Groves; Team Super Grow; Walter Parker Primary Mangrove Mania Pacers; East Enders. Organizers are also grateful for individuals not participating in the competition, who still collected and grew mangroves just to help reach the goal.
“What impressed me the most was to see we had a team from a primary school involved in this,” said Mrs Davis. “As young as they are, they have learned so much and are an example.” She continued, “I know this is going to go much further than it did this year.”
Teams were assessed throughout the competition and guided on how to manage the seedlings to ensure good survival rates. Participants were required to safely collect mangrove propagules from local beaches, or mangrove locations designated by the project partners. Training sessions were conducted to ensure team members were fully versed in the collection process.
“Some team members were nervous at the start, but once their seedlings began to sprout, there was no stopping them,” Daxon explained. “It was wonderful to observe the progress, especially the school students. We would like to see more schools involved, and possibly have this be part of a curriculum.”
The competition had major support from its platinum sponsor, The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA), along with silver sponsorship from The Grand Bahama Development Co. Ltd. and Clean Marine. Bahamas Protected Areas Fund and Builders Initiative Foundation have partially funded the overall mangrove restoration project.
Outplanting exercises for all the mangroves currently within the nursery are scheduled for November and December.