The midterm evaluation exercise was held during the first week in July. Each intern was required to present a ten minute presentation on our internship experience thus far. This was a great opportunity for both the interns and our direct supervisors to interact and provide feedback on the internship. The presentation gave us the opportunity to explore the use of Prezi, which I previously had very little experience with. Our supervisor for the Assessment and Management of Environmental Pollution (AMEP) Programme, Mr. Christopher Corbin, presented an interactive capacity building discussion covering project management. Chris enlightened us about the project cycle and the key components needed to address a community’s needs.
On the 25th of July, the four other interns and I were given the opportunity to attend a field visit, “Increasing Resilience of Coastal Ecosystems” in Westmoreland, Jamaica. The field visit allowed various organizations, such as the Forestry Department, PIOJ (Planning Institute of Jamaica), NEPA (National Environment and Planning Agency) and the interns of UNEP-CEP to see the various projects being implemented for the EU/UNEP/PIOJ Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Project. During the field visit we were able to take a glass bottom boat to get a closer look at a seagrass restoration project in both Bloody. Bay and Long Bay. I was surprised to learn how important seagrass is to the ecosystem. I now have a better understanding of the bed’s vital role in maintaining the integrity of the coastal area by reducing wave energy, providing food and shelter for many species, stabilizing sediments to prevent erosion of the coastline, and taking up dissolved nutrients. Our field outing also included a visit to a shoreline erosion control pilot site and to a graduation ceremony for a small community’s bee-keeping training. It was great to get out in the field and see, first hand, what organizations in conjunction with UNEP-CEP are doing to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Finding the most current documents to construct my technical report and other projects. Struggling with the occasional run in with “Jamaican time” and learning to cope with the fact that mango season in my backyard has sadly come and gone.
I have gained a great deal of knowledge pertaining to the various UNEP-CEP projects, especially through attending field visits. Jamaica is a beautiful place. Through visiting small communities, both with the internship program and on my own accord, it’s obvious that small island developing states such as Jamaica, struggle to find the balance between developing and protecting the environment. Seeing the work of organizations like the UNEP-CEP and local environmentalists striving to balance this relationship is inspiring.