Cetacean Society International
Whales Alive! - Vol. XII No. 4 - October 2003
Protecting Whales and Dolphins In The Caribbean
Dr. Nathalie Ward, a CSI Board Member from Woods Hole, Massachusetts, directs the Whales and Dolphins: Swim Free in the Sea - A Marine Mammal Conservation Education Campaign "to familiarize youth and Government about the need for conservation and protection of marine mammals in the Wider Caribbean Region." The project is part of the UK's Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) initiative in the Eastern Caribbean (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Commonwealth of Dominica), to advance awareness of dolphins in the region and to encourage positive wildlife experiences through dolphin and whale watching. Other participants include the Marine Education and Research Centre in Bequia, the United Nations Environment Programme (Jamaica) and the Caribbean Conservation Association (Barbados).
Phase one in March involved a Dolphin Poster and Slogan Competition for high school students in Bequia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. CSI congratulates the Poster Competition winners: The award winning poster slogan, "Let Dolphins Swim Free in the Sea for All Generations to See", was by 14 year old Yusef Leslie, with translations in French, Dutch and Spanish. The lively illustration depicts a tranquil scene with a man and dog rowing a double-ender with dolphins leaping in the background, by 13 year old Farand Gordon. Special mention went to 13 year old Flavea Richards for her poem, "Dolphin Wild and Free", and to 15 year old Delmas Ollivierre for his "Swim Free" dolphin logo. Winners received scholarships, educational materials about whales and dolphins, and will go on an all-day dolphin watching trip later this year.
Phase II of the multi-year project is "Tune Up with Dolphins: Create a Calypso." Regionally "the calypso idiom is a framework to convey a meaningful narrative, often with shades of double-entendre to discuss controversial issues." Nathalie chose music as the Phase II theme because it stimulates interest, conveys a message and enthuses community spirit.
While her prolific career has focused on the Caribbean, particularly the children, she is an internationally respected marine biologist, educator and author. One of her goals is to reverse the loss of endangered species and habitats, by using a sophisticated technique built on culturally engaging programs to revise public perceptions, and ultimately refine decision-making by political institutions. She knows first hand how perceptions and attitudes on environmental issues cause conflicts, and seeks to change attitudes. Put another way, she has enormous people skills, decades of regional experience, and a robust scientific educator's background. For many years she has quietly gone about changing the Caribbean in very significant ways.
Nathalie is a gifted communicator, spreading the message that contemporary conservation problems in small island nations are primarily the result of political and socioeconomic forces. She can talk to anyone as if local, while compellingly introducing very worldly perspectives and knowledge.
Preserving Our Future: