Guttman Science Professor and Students Join Mangrove Restoration in Partnership with British Virgin Islands College



August 28, 2023 | Academics, International Education

New York, N.Y., and Tortola, B.V.I. (April 28, 2023) – Guttman Community College science faculty member, Professor Karla Fuller, along with second-year science students Alexander Cordova and Demi Uwechue, participated in applied conservation research of the coastal mangrove biomes of Tortola and Anegada over the summer. The group, led by Susan Zaluski, director of Marine and Maritime Studies at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC)’s Centre for Applied Marine Studies, laid the groundwork for teaching and field research exchange.

“Experiential learning is a key facet of our instructional principles here at Guttman. Our faculty are dedicated to preparing global leaders who will tackle issues that impact us here and abroad. By working with H. Lavity Stoutt Community College we are able to provide reciprocal experiences for both faculty and staff across campuses and coasts,” said Dr. Nicola Blake, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs.

In addition to the research activities of their exploratory trip, Fuller and the students mapped out the details necessary to implement rich experiential learning opportunities for student field research in climate resiliency and other areas of study, as envisioned by Guttman President Larry Johnson and HLSCC President Richard W. Georges when they formally authorized the partnership in December 2022.

“Offering students an inclusive, global view of their studies has been a component of Guttman’s experiential education since we began the college. It’s only natural that we enlist the students’ input in building this new opportunity from the ground up, especially one focused on climate resiliency with vital applications to the livability, labor, and disaster preparedness of our own small island of Manhattan,” said Dr. Fuller.

Decimated by back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, over 90% of the islands’ mangrove habitats were destroyed. Mangrove conservation and propagation are essential in stabilizing the coastlines against further climate-related damage and in supporting marine and tidal wildlife.

Guttman is the newest college to partner with the British Virgin Islands college in the restoration efforts by offering HLSCC students needed courses in microbiology and genetics. Over the past five years, HLSCC students and graduates have led extensive mangrove restoration efforts in collaboration with scientists from the University of the Virgin Islands and the University of New Hampshire.

Lavity Stoutt Community College is a community-minded two-year college preparing students for continued study and the world of work. Located in the British Virgin Islands, the College is primarily government-sponsored and comprehensive with the main and south campuses in Paraquita Bay on the larger island of Tortola and a smaller center on Virgin Gorda. With a range of degree and certificate programs, affordable tuition, and outreach, HLSCC students receive the quality education and training necessary to obtain good jobs, transfer to four-year institutions, upgrade skills, or acquire new ones to be competitive in the global marketplace. The College’s Centre for Professional Development partners with local businesses and industries to offer cost-effective and competitive contract and customized training, other workforce development training, industry certifications, English as a Second Language, and lifelong learning opportunities. The Robert Mathavious Institute offers certifications with several certifying bodies to prepare financial services industry professionals for work placement.

Stella and Charles Guttman Community College was CUNY’s first new community college in more than forty years. Reimagining what community college could be, Guttman opened its doors in Manhattan in August 2012 to create a research-based, innovative model focused on moving students efficiently toward graduation. Offering associate degree programs in a nurturing environment, the College’s three-year graduation rate consistently surpasses the national average, and most graduates transfer to senior colleges. Guttman is federally designated as a Hispanic-serving institution and minority-serving institution with more than 85% of the student population identifying as Latine or Black/African American. The College was named the best community college in America in 2020 and the top community college in New York State for 2020, 2021 and 2022 by and other ranking agencies.