ADD Sandwatch first field exercise

Sandwatch first field exercise

Association pour le Développement Durable

Sandwatch Programme at La Gaulette SSS Brief on the First Field exercise at La Preneuse Beach

Date: Friday 16 March 2018 at 10h00

1. Participants

Initially, in view of the expected windy and bad weather, the Rector decided that only one car would be used to transport a couple of teachers and some students to keep up the momentum of interest. However, in the morning of Friday, the weather was quite comfortable for an outing. The Rector decided to take the whole group of 15 students of Grade 10 and 5 teachers to La Preneuse. Activities carried out The activities planned within the framework of the sandwatch programme were reviewed. It recalled that these were highlighted during the training conducted on 20 February 2018 at the college. This enabled the students and teachers to have a better idea and assessment on the site of the expected activities to implement the sandwatch programme. The sandwatch manual and the UNESCO database would be used concurrently to carry out efficiently the planned activities. The Martello Tower is a landmark of the La Preneuse beach. The students were encouraged to search for information on the tower and include it in the description of the site. They were also prompted to take photos during the visits to make mural posters for display during the presentation of sandwatch outcomes and achievements at the end of the project.

2. Distribution of UNESCO sandwatch manual

Each teacher was provided with a copy of the sandwatch manual make available by UNESCO. About 10 copies were provided to the students to ensure that at least a copy is available for 2 students. The Rector would discuss with the teachers how the manual copies could be retrieved from the students and redistributed to other students to ensure that all participating teachers and students benefit effectively from it. The teachers and students were guided how to use the manual and carry out activities as described in it.

3. Past changes of La Preneuse beach.

One of the sandwatch activities is to gather information on the historical changes of the La Preveuse beach. The students met and discussed with Mr. Michael, a resident of Riviere Noire, who knows very well the public beach since his childhood, about his recollection how the beach was long ago. He has observed gradual and drastic changes taking place on the beach and in the lagoon. According to him, erosion has been very severe in the past decade. The shoreline was almost 50 m away seaward from its present position about 5 years ago. Four rows of sandbags have been placed along nearly 200 m of the beach about 3 years ago to protect it from further erosion. Climate change was mentioned by a teacher as one reason causing accelerated erosion in recent years. There is a natural channel in the lagoon which facilitates boat passage. Mr. Michael has noted also marked destruction of the coral reefs.

4. State of the sandbags

The students were asked to observe the state of the sandbags. Many were ripped open with most of sand lost. This could be due to natural forces – effect of strong waves – and trampling by human activities. The first row was now almost covered with sand. In the medium term, this line of defense could disappear and the beach would be again exposed to wave action giving rise to further erosion. Alternative measures ought to be found and students were requested to ponder on them for discussion at the end of the project.

5. Weather observation

A fact sheet and a form were provided to each teacher and student for recording their observations. A first set of weather observation was made. The data would be entered in the form provided in the UNESCO Database.

6. Description of the beach

Students were requested to note the state of the beach and human activities. The beach is covered almost entirely with light yellowish white sand. It was quite clean with sunbathers and people jogging. A few debris and litter could be found scattered on the beach. Main prominent features could be identified including a canon ball and a canal discharging rain water into the sea.

7. Transect lines for in-depth study

Four reference points/objects would be identified and transect lines would be drawn from them to the shoreline for in depth studies. These are along the river canal, a white wall, the canon and region where accretion is taking place. The transect lines would be divided into 3 zones for the study: high ground (terrestrial) landward of the beach, beach and sea (low and high tide limit) Studies would include:

• Plants and animals in the 3 zones

• Debris and litter gathered along transect lines

• Beach width and beach profile along the transect lines using a measuring tape and a simple equipment

8. Other observations and measurement

Sea surface temperature, salinity and pH would be measured using a portable water quality meter. This has been ordered from the supplier and should be available in about 2 weeks. Information would also be gathered from the public using the beach to prepare a brief on human activities and interest.

9. Work in class

A session in class would be organized to discuss the visit and field exercise. Students with the help of the teachers would prepare a report on the visit, in particular description of the beach, weather observation and activities to be carried out. Marks would be allocated to each student on the quality of the report and an assessment made at the end of the project. A special session would be considered whereby by ADD members would provide further assistance on data entry in the UNESCO Database, planning of subsequent field exercise and preparation of report.