Caribbean scientists and marine conservationists honoured during Black in Marine Science Week
News > The Caribbean
By STEM Caribbean | Posted on December 9, 2020
Last week, a 7-day series of online events from November 29 to December 5 brought together black marine scientists from around the world, highlighting their stories and experiences. The week kicked off with a “roll call” on Twitter involving the hashtag #BlackinMarineScience. Proud marine scientists across the globe tweeted introductions of themselves, expressing their passion for marine science and their excitement for participating in Black in Marine Science Week.
As part of the celebrations, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) in the UK featured three Caribbean nationals in marine science working in the UK Overseas Territories (UKOT).
“We’ve been working with Caribbean scientists and marine conservationists for close to two decades now, so it’s fantastic to be taking part in #BlackinMarineScience week, highlighting and crediting our amazing colleagues in this region,” said UKOT Conservation Officer Amdeep Sanghera.
One of the individuals featured is Ms. Argel Horton, a marine biologist at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration in the British Virgin Islands. The passionate biologist said that adventures with her dad, a captain and a fisherman, and the knowledge he shared about ocean life, sparked her love for the sea and the environment at a young age. She was captivated by what she saw and learnt and decided to further her education in studies related to the environment.
Ms. Horton loves that her job is not stagnant and enjoys sharing her knowledge with others.
“My job is not stagnant and I love it. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others and seeing their eyes light up when I tell them about the environment. This inspires me to continue to do my best to preserve these natural resources,” she told the MCS.
The other marine scientist featured is Ms. Kafi Gumbs from Anguilla, who is currently the Director of the Fisheries & Marine Resources Unit of the Anguillan Government. Ms. Gumbs said she was interested in science from a tender age and credited her grandfather and grandmother, both fishers, with introducing her to the sea, fish, and fishing.
“From a very tender age I was interested in science. As a child my grandfather and grandmother were both fishers. They played a major role in raising me and introduced me to the sea, fish and fishing. As a teen, I enrolled in a job training program and signed up to be placed at the Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources – more than 20 years later I am still here!” said Ms. Gumbs in the feature by the MCS.
She also expressed that she’s “a strong believer in education and stewardship being the most effective tools for environmental protection.”
Fellow Anguillan, Ms. Carencia Rouse, was also featured by the MCS.
“As a child I fell in love with nature and decided that I must actively participate in the lifelong work of protecting the value and integrity of natural resources,” she stated in the feature.
Ms. Rouse, who works at the Department of Natural Resources with the Government of Anguilla, finds fulfilment in her work involving taking action against climate change.
“It is fulfilling to be involved in work which responds to the universal threat of climate change which has multigenerational implications. I am a part of a movement that is bigger than me,” she told the MCS.
Despite the challenges that she faces, she hopes that her “work will contribute to the positioning of Anguilla as a poster child for environmental stewardship amongst Small Island Developing States (SIDS).”
The Black in Marine Science Week celebrations garnered recognition and a broad following across social media, including a tweet by American rapper MC Hammer. Following the “roll call” were curated events, including exploring aquariums with black marine scientists and discussing topics such as natural hair care while working in field of marine science.