“Trinidad and Tobago,” I patiently repeated for the second time.
“What?” She frustratingly retorted.
Two hundred and fifty students from seven primary schools across Trinidad took advantage of a unique opportunity to interact with some of this country’s endangered species and also to learn about one of the most endangered species in the world—lemurs, a species of primates that is native to the African island Madagascar.
The students were specially invited guests to the recent launch of Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, the ninth instalment in the Atlantic Ultimate Field Trip, LNG producer Atlantic’s educational initiative at the Digicel Imax Cinema.
A release from Atlantic said the initiative facilitates T&T’s students access to state-of-the-art “edutainment” via documentaries produced using Imax 3D film technology.
Camille Salandy, head of Sustainability and Corporate Communications Atlantic, said the Atlantic Ultimate Field Trip helped students learn about the importance of the environment and the unique biodiversity present in their own country as well as in distant lands.
“At Atlantic, we especially want to encourage children to become more knowledgeable about the importance of ecological systems and to become more involved in environmental initiatives such as the protection and conservation of imperilled animals,” Salandy said.
“This helps to build a generation that is focused on sustainability and on preserving the foundation for the future.”
For the launch of Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, the Digicel Imax cinema was transformed into a tropical rainforest by The El Socorro Centre for Wildlife Conservation, who used local trees and foliage to recreate Madagascar’s jungle atmosphere and brought in animals from their conservation centre to teach students about the threats to these animals’ habitats.
Ricardo Meade, conservationist from the El Socorro Centre for Wildlife Conservation said the Centre was pleased to be given the opportunity to teach students about the flora and fauna of T&T and the students’ role in conservation.
“Through interactive sessions like this programme, students can become more knowledgeable about endangered animals and the ways we can save these creatures so that future generations can enjoy their company just as we do today,” Meade said. “We are proud to be part of such an innovative educational initiative which strikes the perfect balance between education and fun.”
Madagascar is an island off the South East coast of Africa where nine out of ten of its plants and animals can be found nowhere else in the world. As Island of Lemurs: Madagascar highlights, lemurs are considered the most well-known of these species and face extreme threats from human overpopulation, political instability, slash-and-burn agriculture, and a booming bush meat trade. These challenges have placed 94 per cent of the world’s lemurs under threat of extinction, making them the most imperilled mammal group on the planet.
• People interested in attending the field trip can liaise with Imax staff by e-mailing [email protected] or calling 297-0205 or 297-0167 from Monday to Friday between 9 am to noon.