The Cayman Enterprise City (CEC), recently donated free office space to the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) as a way to maintain its commitment to the local community.
CCMI is a not-for-profit organisation conducts research and education programmes at their Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC).The laboratory is an ideal place for scientists to learn about one of the most diverse reef systems in the Caribbean. In this setting, they are able to
study both local and global issues such as climate change and its impacts, biodiversity, and local human impact on coral reefs.
With only a small operating budget, CCMI relies heavily on gifts and donations to complement grants for programmes. They contacted CEC for assistance, which responded enthusiastically.
“This is incredibly generous of CEC. We are a non-profit organization with a modest budget and gifts like this have a tremendous impact on our capacity to share and grow our work,” said Denise Clegg, CCMI Director of Advancement.
Charlie Kirkconnell, CEO for CEC called the partnership ‘timely.’ “The work that CCMI does is obviously good for Cayman and for the marine environment generally – and their education outreach teaches Cayman’s youth about the importance of preserving Cayman’s marine environment for this and future generations,” he said.
Additionally, the LCRC offers education programmes to school youth throughout the year to provide better knowledge of the issues that Caribbean ecosystems face. With an additional focus on conservation, they have also been involved with coral nurseries.
“We are thrilled to create a home base on Grand Cayman, to expand our outreach to local schools and businesses,” Ms Clegg said. “We know that Caymanian children are the future stewards of our precious marine environment, a resource that we all love, and that makes the Cayman Islands such a thriving community and destination for visitors.”
Hilary McKenzie-Cahill, VP of Marketing for CEC one of her children was able to experience the work of CCMI firsthand. “One of my children was fortunate enough to have stayed at CCMI on a school trip last year and experienced the great work that they do first-hand participating in some of their conservation and education projects. CEC is delighted to be assisting CCMI in this way,” she stated.
CCMI plans to move into CEC this month. After that time, the CCMI staff will be there part time to expand their outreach during the new school year.
“This is perfect timing,” Ms Clegg stated. “Thanks to generous individuals and sponsors on Grand Cayman, we recently received funding to bring three new local public school classes for education programmes at our station on Little Cayman beginning this year. Our station offers one of the most spectacular marine learning environments in the world. We are so excited to share this with local students, bring our research into more schools and inspire the kids to be good stewards of the environment and our coral reefs. We work in the spirit of Jacques Cousteau, who famously said ‘people protect what they love.”