Health Sciences students at the HCT-Abu Dhabi Women’s Campus (ADW) got to experience the environment out of the classroom as they, and social workers based at the HCT- Khalifa City campus, recently visited Sammalia Island as part of their Ecology course.
As part of the field trip the students toured the island and learnt about the conservation efforts of the Emirates Heritage.
The visitors walked around the mangrove forests and were able to observe closely the incredible ecosystem of the island and its associated fauna and flora. The students learnt how the mangroves play an important role in the local environment, providing food, shelter and nursery grounds for a variety of marine, as well as land animals such fish, crustaceans, turtles, birds and even mammals.
The UAE’s mangroves also provide valuable ecosystems in terms of carbon sequestering, which helps mitigate the impacts of global warming. UAE authorities are currently transplanting hundreds of thousands of mangrove trees in areas of Abu Dhabi and its nearby islands as they also stabilize the soil in coastal areas and minimize erosion resulting from waves and tidal movements.
Students were thrilled to visit the island’s breeding facility where species of wild and domestic birds are bred under a programme that aims to protect endangered wildlife. Other species are being bred to determine their adaptability to the UAE climate, such emus and ostriches.
“After this trip, we feel proud that our country is not only achieving great success in terms of economic and social development, but also environmental development that helps preserve and restore important ecosystems. This is the first time for us to observe mangroves so closely and see how they enhance the biodiversity in our country,” students Mariam Abdulhameed and Manal Mubarak said.
Suad Rashed and Fatima Saleh said they were very happy to see the emu, an Australian bird that is being successfully bred on Sammaliah Island, for the first time.
“It’s an interesting bird and seems to be adapting nicely to our desert environment,” Sara Khaled said .