Ross Vet wins US Fish and Wildlife Service Grant
The fish, wildlife and environmental conservation work on the Narrows Marine Managed Area on St. Kitts & Nevis will continue thanks to a grant of USD$55, 000 secured by Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (Ross Vet) from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Beginning next year, RossVet will collaborate with local collaborators from the Caribbean Youth Environment Network and the SKN Department of Environment along with international partners from the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and the Smithsonian Institute (Global Health Program) to promote conservation behavior throughout the Federation.
Through several workshops and training sessions, this educational project will equip local, young conservation advocates with skills to protect marine species, namely, the coral reefs, lobster, conch, diverse fish species, sea turtles, resident and migratory birds and marine mammals and their habitats – the seagrass beds, rookeries and shorelines. After the training workshops that will be launched in a phased-approach, participants will work together to create a conservation plan for the Narrows, with initial efforts on reducing plastic pollution across the islands. The conservation plan is expected to leverage current conservation efforts and will include outreach programs that will explore and share best practices and the latest conservation research findings with communities and advocacy organizations across the Federation and the Caribbean.
Dr. Luis Cruz-Martinez, leader of the project, said Ross Vet is excited for the opportunities that the extramural grant will provide.
“We are beyond excited to have received finance assistance to carry out this educational project. Safeguarding the future of our animals and the environment remains a priority for Ross Vet, and we are happy to support in conservation efforts on this island while partnering with local and international leaders and advocates.”
Dr. Cruz-Martinez is leading other environmental initiatives at the University, including the Go Green Initiative through the RUSVM EDGE Chapter that promotes behaviors and research that are focused on reducing waste across the campus. Green Initiatives Vets for the Environment (GIVE), a student club advised by Dr. Cruz-Martinez has also received a grant from the National Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) Public Health and Community Outreach committee to promote sustainable actions and attitudes across the University. This, Dr. Cruz-Martinez says, is just the beginning of Ross Vet’s focus on environmental and wildlife conservation.
“Our efforts on campus and winning this grant are the start of many other projects that will be rolled out across St. Kitts-Nevis that are aimed at improving the health of people and animals on this beautiful Federation” Dr. Luis Cruz-Martinez.