July 24, 2019
for Patch.com published July 17, 2019
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(Barbuda Ecological Research Group)
PURCHASE, NY – A research team from Manhattanville College, part of the Barbuda Ecological Research Group, is headed to the Caribbean island of Barbuda from July 17 - 27. It is the first time the team has been able to go back since Hurricane Irma destroyed the island in 2017.
Following the hurricane, the research group started a GoFundMe page to help. They've raised $14,000 of their $50,000 goal.
The money has provided relief to students and families as they resettle on the island following evacuation to Antigua.
Also, members of the Upsilon Sigma Tribeta National Honor Society at Manhattanville collected books, toys, clothing, food items and toiletries which were sent to Ebenezer Pilgrim Holiness Church in the Bronx and shipped to Barbuda.
The research group has been conducting ecological research on the island of Barbuda since 2010. They survey sea turtle nesting habitat and beach use, reef health and juvenile fish diversity, lagoon water quality, and terrestrial vegetation. Following their GoFundMe campaign, they have partnered with Holy Trinity School (which recently reopened) to purchase 180 uniforms for returning school children.
This week, they will be bringing down two satellite phones, reusable shopping bags and solar lanterns for families, and school and camp supplies for island youth. At this time, much of the island remains devoid of electricity and running water.
The Barbuda Ecological Research Group includes Manhattanville biology professors Wendy McFarlane, Ph.D., and Nancy Todd, Ph.D., as well as Manhattanville alumni, Maxine Montello ('08) and Melissa LaCroce ('11). Montello is now associated with the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation in Riverhead, NY and is representing the Foundation on this trip. LaCroce works with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
McFarlane and Montello have presented sea turtle research at three International Sea Turtle symposia in Peru, Japan and North Carolina, and McFarlane and Todd recently presented at Ecotones 5, The Caribbean: Vulnerability and Resilience, a conference hosted by Manhattanville College in June.
School of Arts and Sciences