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St. Kitts Destination Guardians In Action: Thuvia Browne

“If we want to change the culture then we have to start with the youth – the children are the future.” 

We caught up with Thuvia Browne, a primary school teacher based in St. Kitts who joined our two-day Destination Guardian workshop on the Caribbean island back in April 2019. 

During the workshop, participants learned about what it means to be a Destination Guardian who takes care of their island home. Topics ranged from reducing water use and protecting wildlife, to supporting local businesses and sharing St. Kitts’ culture. “The workshop really impressed me because every single session meant something,” Thuvia said, “I was able to connect it to home, school, or play, and see the impact of being a Destination Guardian.”

Thuvia Browne receives her Destination Guardian training certificate

Thuvia receives her Destination Guardian certificate

In speaking with Thuvia, it was clear that there was one topic that particularly resonated with her during the workshop – reducing plastic litter and waste is certainly now one of Thuvia’s passions. “When I was growing up, more beverages came in glass bottles. Now, there are a lot more plastic containers being used,” she explained, “when you are walking, you see plastic, styrofoam, and all this rubbish that is just scattered everywhere. It is becoming unsightly to see.”

Since our workshop, Thuvia has been inspiring and educating the future generation of Destination Guardians, starting with the students in her own 5th grade classroom. “If we want to change the culture then we have to start with the youth,” says Thuvia, “the children are the future.”

A group of Thuvia’s students

As soon as Thuvia returned to school after the workshop, she got to work as a Destination Guardian. “I started off by focusing on the three R’s of “reduce,” “reuse,” and “recycle” within the classroom,” she said. Realizing that the best way to learn is by doing, she had her class roll up their sleeves and collect litter from around the school area. 

For Thuvia, the cleanup was just the beginning. She incorporated various craft projects into the curriculum to get students in the habit of reusing or repurposing items instead of throwing them away. Her class made pencil holders out of discarded popsicle sticks, vegetable planters out of old tires, and raincoats out of used plastic. 

With the school’s science fair on the horizon, it seemed natural to Thuvia to incorporate the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle theme. Students were invited to think creatively and to use the materials that would have gone to waste in order to build their projects. The results included waterfalls made of plastic bottles and cups, volcanoes made of discarded paper, and fans demonstrating how wind can be used as energy.

Repurposed items created by Thuvia’s students

Repurposed items created by Thuvia’s students

Along with these hands-on activities, Thuvia helps her students understand why it’s so important to be a Destination Guardian and protect where they live. One way that Thuvia does this is by engaging her students in thoughtful discussions about the impacts of their actions. “I ask them what they think would happen if they continue to throw plastic bottles and cups along the ocean and beach,” she said. Thuvia talks with students about how their actions impact the island’s ecosystems, for instance how plastic litter wreaks havoc on turtles and fish. She also builds connections to her students’ own lives, highlighting how pollution affects cleanliness and poses a threat to their health and the tourism economy. 

“My role as a teacher is to educate. After the workshop, I have a bigger voice not only in my school, but also within my community.” 

Thuvia also talks to her students about their own role and shares ideas of what they can do in their own lives. She encourages them to “use a reusable bag that you can take to the store on many occasions instead of always collecting new plastic bags that just pile up at home.” Thuvia follows her own advice and leads by example in the classroom. During the workshop, she received a reusable bag and cup. “When I brought the bag to school with me, everyone wanted it,” she said, “and I still use my cup now.”

“Following the workshop, I recognized that there is a lot to be done and it would need a lot of togetherness and people coming together for a common cause,” said Thuvia, “my role as a teacher is to educate. After the workshop, I have a bigger voice not only in my school, but also within my community.” 

 

→ We hope you enjoyed reading about Thuvia’s experience as a Destination Guardian. Click here to see the story of one of our other Destination Guardian interviewees, Phynora Ible.

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