Last weekend, approximately 50 children and parents attended the first ever annual Fish ‘N Fins STEAM Festival at the Fish ‘N Fins clubhouse at Little Bay. The event was run over three consecutive days, which consisted of everything from STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) workshops, to DJ entertainment, to sporting events on the beach.
The opening night on Friday evening attracted a number of returning participants as well as new visitors to the clubhouse where they were able to view an open-house viewing of the work done at Fish ‘N Fins whilst enjoying entertainment from local DJ Turtle. Veta Wade, founder of Fish ‘N Fins opened the evening, which was then followed by a screening of the mesmerizing short documentary Jago, the story of a legendary spearfisherman from Indonesia. Visitors where then treated to a talk from Ocean Engineer, Aquanaut and National Geographic emerging explorer, Dr. Grace C. Young.
Grace discussed with the audience what her day-to-day job entails, how she reached where she is now in her career, and her experiences as a young woman in an otherwise male-dominated field.
The second day of the festival was all about accommodating integrated learning practices, with STEAM activities and workshops being contextualised around ocean conservation to engage students’ passion in ocean stewardship. These workshops which were facilitated by Fish ‘N Fins volunteers, included the modelling of the impact of the Soufriere Hills volcanic eruption on coral reefs, taught students how to scientifically classify specimens collected from local beaches, and gave them opportunity to express their artistic flair through an ocean-inspired art workshop. The day concluded with a highly educational talk on life at hydrothermal vents by Dr. Hatter from the MVO (Montserrat Volcanic Observatory), along with an engaging pH and ocean acidification experiment conducted by Australian Science teacher and Fish ‘N Fins volunteer, Samantha Pearson.
Sunday saw perfect conditions and a good turnout for the final day of the 2019 STEAM Fest which was conducted on the beach at Little Bay. Parents and children together started the day off with a beach and underwater clean-up, which saw approximately 400lbs of litter being collected, including a fridge door, car tyre and 6ft panel of metal which was all removed by the underwater cleaning crew. But it wasn’t all hard work and no play, as the afternoon saw dance-offs to beats provided by DJ Turtle and enjoying food and drink supplied by volunteer parent helpers. The afternoon brought out everyone’s competitive side with obstacle races on the beach, followed by underwater photographs and finally the drawing of the raffle prizes.
We would like to say a huge thank you to the Bezos Family Foundation for their ongoing support of Fish ‘N Fins. Their mentorship, networking, and funding has enabled our dreams for Fish ‘N Fins to come to fruition and purchase much needed equipment. Without their assistance, much of what we do on Montserrat would not be made possible.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the approximately 180 people from the Girls Education Project, Lookout Primary School, and St. Augustine Primary School, as well as our Fish ‘N Fins Ocean Leaders, all of our volunteers and parent helpers who enabled us to prepare and execute a successful event. We look forward to many more events such as this in the future and are excited to welcome our new Fish ‘N Fin’ers to the family.