The importance of education to address current sustainability challenges in small island states has been widely recognized. Environmental education may increase knowledge, while also increasing environmental awareness and motivating students to become agents of change. Student engagement in introductory environmental science courses may benefit from operationalizing abstract concepts by embedding course material and activities within this local context. Here, we describe an introductory course in environmental science that has been tailored to the local context of a small island state in the Caribbean. In addition to reaching academic course goals, pre- and post-course surveys showed that course participants’ environmental awareness increased on the dimensions ‘Personal Value System’ and ‘Willingness to Take Environmental Action’. The described course provides a template for the development of a low-cost introductory environmental science course that integrates general theory and application within the context of Caribbean island states.