Today was a fish day. We completed our final fisheries surveys of the trip by visiting two fishing communities. However, today I decided to let our students take the lead. Proud of how some of our students decided to dive right in and get their hands dirty. And I am even more proud of how much they have learned throughout this trip. Three weeks ago they knew very little about Caribbean reef fish, and most were just fine with that. But I have seen a little interest and even passion grow for this environmental work as we have witnessed the dire situation Haiti's fisheries - and the people that depend on them - are in. During our fish surveys, we see incredible numbers of juvenile reef fish that will never live to reproduce and replenish Haiti's reefs. This leads to an endless cycle of overfishing and resultant overgrowth of coral reefs by algae, destroy an important natural resource.
While I of course love that my students are wrist-deep in fish, I am most thankful for the understanding they have gained of the marine ecosystems of Haiti and a heart for the people and communities that depend on them. This has truly been a learning experience!