our planet ...
Seagrass Identification Training Workshops:
-Trinidad, Williams Bay
We want our work to make the world a better place for ALL life.
We achieve this by understanding organisms and ecosystems and then developing mechanisms to work with nature instead of against it.
We work to promote and advocate environmental research and conservation with the integral component of science literacy for all groups in Trinidad and Tobago, the wider Caribbean and beyond.
To research and monitor species and/or their habitats that enhances knowledge and contributes towards conservation or policy development, incorporating citizen science when possible;
To develop sustainable practices or products that will benefit native species and/or their habitats;
To provide educational information on species, habitats or sustainable practices/ products to stakeholders, school children and the public via seminars, workshops, social media, handouts, posters, documentaries, articles or other mechanisms;
To participate in management development and advocacy to better conserve and sustain ecosystem services, environmental resources and biodiversity;
To work with developers, planners, ministries and businesses to establish practices that can benefit both the environment and humans; and
To promote gender equality at all levels of socioeconomic activity in the sustainable use and conservation of species and habitats.
World Ocean's Day
Dr. Kelly Kingon
Dr. Kelly Kingon is the Incorporator of CHaPO and also one of the Directors. She has been wanting to start up her own nonprofit organization since she finished her undergraduate degree quite some time ago! It has been quite a journey for her to get to this point but she is thrilled for a future full of research and conservation. Kelly has been a faculty member at the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) within the Marine Sciences Unit in Chaguaramas since 2014. Currently at UTT, she holds the titles of Assistant Professor and Discipline Lead for the MPhil/PhD Programme in Marine Sciences. She teaches a wide variety or courses with her favourites being Ichthyology (the study of fishes), Biology of Molluscs, Marine Botany, Deep Sea Biology and Marine Research Tools and Techniques. She strives to incorporate lab and field experiences into her curricula to provide students with hands on experiences in the coastal and marine environment. Her research focuses broadly on marine conservation issues and more specifically on the following current projects: studying threatened species within the shark and grouper taxa to understand their biology and identify essential habitats; tracking habitat destruction and restoration for seagrasses while also studying their flowering and pollinators; the impacts of introduced species, including the Regal Demoiselle damselfish and the invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea; and identifying the effects of ectoparasite prevalence on important reef herbivores as an indicator of reef trophic health. Prior to her work at UTT, Kelly worked on similar projects in the Gulf of Mexico and the north-western Atlantic at Florida State University (FSU), where she also completed her PhD in Geography and did a PostDoc at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory. Before her adventures at FSU, she worked for several state agencies in Florida doing a variety of work ranging from seagrass and fisheries monitoring to water quality assessments and wetland delineations. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience working in the environmental sector and spanning habitats across the central western Atlantic region. Her favorite animals are probably nudibranchs (fascinating little sea slugs) but she is a naturalist at heart and feels at peace anywhere outside in nature. Through CHaPO, Kelly hopes to protect not only hammerhead sharks for which the nonprofit is named after, but all species and ecosystems as we are all connected and dependent on each other.
Ms. Sarita Emmanuel
Sarita is a passionate conservationist with over 10 years of experience in Wetland Conservation and Science. Her exposure to wetland conservation began at a young age, having been inspired by close access to ponds in her backyard. This always spurred her imagination about how life is intertwined and their role and function in keeping a thriving ecosystem.
Therefore, science education has been a core part of Sarita’s life having more than 8 years of teaching experience on the BSc. and MSc. Marine and Maritime programmes at UTT (TT), and Ecology and Biology courses as a Graduate Assistant at USF (USA). Additionally, she developed and delivered interactive STEM science modules on Ecology and Mangrove Ecosystems for secondary school students. Her recent love for birding within the Caribbean led her to design and develop a bird-zine on the Jamaican Owl for Birds Caribbean for their Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival. Creativity has been a crucial part of how science knowledge is understood and transferred and she continues to develop this through her artwork and digital channels.Sarita is passionate about wetland ecosystems and has also recently investigated the capybaras present in the Trinidadian wetland landscape, further developing her wildlife skills in camera trapping and the use of AI technology for image processing. Her dedication to science has allowed her to explore tools such as GIS, Camelot, and R-packages, and field and lab equipment used in biogeochemical soil analysis, specifically for wetland soils.
Currently, Sarita works as a Project Officer with the Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre (MTCC) hosted by UTT (TT), where her role is planning and preparing interested countries (Latin America and the Caribbean) in the uptake of environmentally sound technology.
Therefore, working with CHaPO has presented an excellent route for continuing her environmental stewardship and consistently engaging her with opportunities that are committed to protecting our planet's natural resources.
Ms. Sarita Mahabir-Lee
Ms. Mahabir-Lee is a Senior Lecturer with The University of Trinidad and Tobago, engaged in Maritime Training and Education. She has managed academic and seafarer training programmes and demonstrated the ability to engage private sector co-operation, create MOU’s with the private sector and ensure document compliance.She has also been an MTCC Officer with the MTCC Caribbean, a project which was funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Maritime Organization through 5 regional Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres. As MTCC Officer at the MTCC Caribbean, she contributed to project deliverables and the creation and updating of project related documentation, such as conference reports, newsletters, technical reports and publications.
She has been an avid supporter and participant in civic society, as Vice President of Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC) and now as a Director and Secretary of Conserve Habitats and Protect Organisms (CHaPO).Ms. Mahabir-Lee pursued a BSc in Environmental and Natural Resources Management with Minors in Human Resource Management and Marine Biology at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus and an MSc. In Operational Maritime Management, specializing in International Maritime Law, at The University of Trinidad and Tobago.