Location: Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda
To start the day, the Rebuilding Island Life and Preserving Paradise groups split off to undergo two separate, enlightening projects. Preserving Paradise took a taxi up to Coppermine, a deteriorated site surrounded by cool rock configurations. Led by BZ, everyone managed not to fall as we made it across the rocks and took in the view of huge, crashing waves. After finding our way down to the rocky beach, we began a search for trash and other harmful materials to the environment. This beach cleanup then extended to a nearby beach covered by sargassum, which leaves a terrible smell that has hurt tourism and the habitat of other marine species. We also talked about the seven types of plastics and how harmful each is to the environment. By the end of the day, we had full bags that helped with the progress to clear the beaches. Rebuilding Island Life visited a school and finished many small projects, including building a swing set and painting picnic tables on a huge construction site. In the afternoon, the groups rejoined to take part in swimming lessons on the beach for the second time. As the day came to a close, the groups split again, where Preserving Paradise watched a documentary that was funded by the government to promote tourism, but instead revealed the terrible environmental conditions in the BVI and Rebuilding Island Life read chapters from the Irma Diaries. I was also just surprised with brownies for my 16th birthday, which was delicious and a great way to end the day. Stay tuned for more stories and photos from our high school summer abroad!