During the last week of September, Jamaica was hit by Tropical Storm Nicole. There were severe winds for about 2 days and heavy rains for 5 to 6 days. We wanted to share some pictures of the damage done to the 7 Mile Beach in Negril. This is why we need to protect our reefs and wetlands – they help to lessen the damage caused by storms like this one.
We would like to congratulate all eleven properties that achieved Blue Flag status. These properties are:
Bluefields Bay Beach, Travellers Beach Resorts, Merrill’s 1 &2, Coco La Palm, Couples Negril, Beaches Negril, Long Bay 1, Couples Swept Away, Ocho Rios Bay Beach and Errol Flynn Marina are all 2010 Blue Flag certified.
For the first time this year three public beaches have achieve the status these beaches include the UDC beaches of Bluefields Bay Beach Ocho Rios Bay Beach and Long Bay 1.
We will award the Blue Flags on November 1, 2010. We will also raise the first official Blue Flag of the 2011 season at that ceremony.
NEPT has redesigned and updated all the Blue Flag Common Information Boards in Jamaica. We are proud that our Common Information Boards will be used by FEE international as an example to the Blue Flag Programme in other countries throughout the world. The Blue Flag Common Information Boards are an important form of environmental education. They inform beach and marina staff and guests of local environmentally sensitive areas, bathing water quality, and safety and service information.
There are two interesting updates that we wanted to share today. The first is the latest edition of NEPTune, our quarterly newsletter. We hope you all enjoy it!
The second is a follow up to last week’s post of the Observer article. A few days after that article was posted, we found the following Letter to the Editor in support of NEPT:
Thanks for the words of support, Mary Martin!
As of the end of July, NEPT is no longer the manager of the Royal Palm Reserve. After long negotiations with The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ – owners of the Reserve), NEPT and PCJ was not able to come to an agreement regarding the lease, and PCJ enforced their Notice to Quit that was served to NEPT from last year.
This past Wednesday, the Observer published an article detailing the issues around the management of the Reserve. We wanted to share it with all our readers, and so here it is:
For those who have been reading this blog regularly, you may know about the dangers that fires pose to the Negril Great Morass. NEPT has been working with donors like the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica and the GEF’s Small Grants Programme, as well as Negril-area stakeholders to fight these fires and bring the Negril Great Morass back to health.
A few days ago, we found a story in the New York Times that parallels the struggles that we’ve been having in Jamaica, and wanted to share it with all our readers. Hopefully we can reverse things in the Negril Great Morass before the situation gets out of hand.
We are happy to welcome Elizabeth DiCocco, a new Peace Corps Volunteer, to NEPT. Ms. DiCocco is from Broomall, Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia. She has been in Jamaica for two months so far and will continue to live here for the next two years. She received her Sc.B. with honors in Chemical Engineering from Brown University in 2008 and her Sc.M. in Energy/Environmental Engineering from Brown University in 2010. DiCocco is training to be the new Blue Flag National Coordinator when Ms. West leaves NEPT in September. She will also be working on increasing the energy efficiency and the environmental sustainability of the Marine Park building as a prototype for other small businesses in the Negril area. Ms. DiCocco is partnering with the Bluefields Peoples’ Community Association (BPCA) to improve water and sanitation in the Bluefields area. She will also be developing an environmental education series at local schools as a joint project between NEPT and NEET (Negril Environmental Education Trust). She is enjoying her first experience in Jamaica and is looking forward to continuing NEPT’s mission to achieve a better quality of life for present and future generations. Amongst all the savory Jamaican foods she has tried she especially likes callaloo!
This past week NEPT conducted employee training sessions for Beaches Negril. The trainings proved employees with all of the information and history about Blue Flag International. The trainings were a success and the employees responded well to information. Hundreds of employees took place in the trainings.
Beaches Negril is currently working on their 1st Blue Flag certification for the 2010-2011 season along with 5 others (Travellers Resort, Sea Splash Hotel, Long Bay Beach, Blue Fields Beach, and Ocho Rios Bay Beach). They have until November 1st to meet/exceed 26 stringent criteria for managing their beach and coastline. If all of the participants achieve Blue Flag certification this year, there will be a total of 12 Blue Flag properties in Jamaica!
If your hotel, marina, or beach is interested in achieving Blue Flag certification please email NEPT at email@example.com or call at +876-957-3736. For more information about Blue Flag please visit the international website at http://www.blueflag.org. NEPT is the sole provider for Blue Flag certification in Jamaica.
Recently NEPT conducted the last round of visits for the “Clean Fields Campaign.” This marked the end of a 6 month observation period and NEPT will begin tallying the final scores of each farmer. The farmers are being judged in categories like:
- proper land usage
- organic techniques
- integrated pest management
- waste control
- water management
There are a total of 11 farmers from Logwood Hanover and Silver Spring Westmoreland participating in the competition. NEPT will have the wining farmers chosen in the near future. There will be a final awards ceremony sometime in June.
Last Thursday, NEPT helped the Negril Coral Reef Preservation Society (NCRPS) host the 2010 celebration for Earth Day at the Negril Community Center. This year marked the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and appropriately this year’s theme was “keeping the earth green at 40 and beyond.”
Over 315 students from 15 schools showed up to partake in the Earth Day Celebrations. The schools participated in many different activities and contests.
- Green Fashion (make an outfit using reused and recycled materials)
- Green Ideas (a diorama depicting this year’s theme)
- Poster Contest
- Poetry Contest
- Beach Clean Up
The students also took field trips on glass bottom boats to see the coral reefs around Negril. Some students also visited the Royal Palm Reserve and the Negril Recycling Center.