Supported by a grant from the Society of Conservation Biology, REEF Ocean Explorers Education team member Madalyn Mussey recently traveled to the southeastern Caribbean island of Grenada to teach fish ID and REEF survey methods to college students. Known as the the Aqua Rangers, these Grenadian students protect their island resources and learn career skills to boost their blue economy. For two days, the Aqua Rangers attended REEF fish ID classes, conducted fish surveys while scuba diving, discussed their sightings and submitted their surveys to the REEF database, and became Level 2 REEF fish surveyors for the Tropical Western Atlantic region!

Many of the Aqua Rangers were newly certified divers who quickly turned into enthusiastic fish surveyors. Participant Ty Geer said, "It's an awakening, I can see the grain in the wood now not just the door,” about learning to identify fish. Another student remarked, “It’s fun to think about people in relation to how the fish behave, like each of us have our own fish species we can relate to. It’s nice to know more about the fish we’re seeing, beyond just their names. It helps me remember them better, but I also am having more fun diving.” With support from the Aquanauts Grenada dive operation, the Aqua Rangers will continue to conduct fish surveys in their region and are also interested in using REEF data for their capstone projects.

The Aqua Rangers Program enables youth in Grenada to have a solid foundation of the required skills for creating a sustainable, eco-conscious business or working within the eco-tourism sector. Collecting and using REEF fish survey data will provide information to help understand and protect Grenada's marine resources. Thank you to Aquanauts Grenada and Aqua Rangers for their support of this project!