As they floated down the mangrove channel, the teens were able to see the prop roots, mangrove roots that descend down into the water, creating a three dimensional habitat perfect for small fish and serves as a nursery area for such animals like lemon sharks (click here for more on our shark experience).
These areas are so important because they can provide a great habitat for animals to grow, many of them will leave the mangroves and head to the coral reefs as they get bigger. And we did see lots of animals here. There were schools of small silver fish everywhere, darting out into the channel only to swim back towards the safety of the mangroves if we got too close.
There was also a lot of spotted sea hares, big gigantic underwater slugs, all throughout the channel. They were great to watch...though you needed some time to observe them-they didn't move too fast!
The importance of the mangroves was not lost on the teens. On a section of Bimini's coastline, the mangroves have been removed due to outside development. The teens were constantly reflecting on the destruction they had witnessed and wondered how this could be allowed to happen to such an important habitat. It was great to see and hear this reaction. It's hard to connect with an environment that is far away from home and seems to have no impact on your daily life. But the teens were able to do this--connect in a way that hopefully will have long lasting impacts on their lives. They are the new stewards of this blue planet--this trip has hopefully helped them along the way.
New fans of mangroves