ANDROS, Bahamas –- The Joulter Cays, located in Andros just north of the settlement of Lowe Sound, is well renowned as a flyfishing paradise with some of the highest quality bonefish habit in the world. It is also becoming known for the expansive sand flats, which provide the safe habitat for thousands of shorebirds, including the largest congregation of the endangered Piping Plover. The Joulter cays the landscape for the most recent piping plover research and banding project.
The Joulter Cays are an incredibly important area for the Piping Plover, the National Audubon Society (NAS) traveled to the Joulter Cays and other areas in Andros, to work with the BNT Park Wardens to conduct a bird banding (tagging) exercise to help gather more data about the distribution of the bird in The Bahamas.
“It was a great learning experience to work with the team of scientists,” said Stephen Smith, BNT Park Warden. “Holding the piping plover, which I learned is an endangered species, in my bare hands was a great feeling. Then assisting with the banding of these endangered birds helped me to better understand the importance of wildlife conservation and the need for laws to protect wildlife.”
The goal of the bird banding project was to band twenty birds while in Andros. Two scientists, Daniel Catlin from Virginia Tech and Melissa Bimbi from the US Fish and Wildlife Service worked together on the project starting at Stafford Creek and working their way toward the Joulter Cays. In addition to the scientists, the team was comprised of Walker Golder and Matt Jeffrey from the National Audubon Society, Catherine Wise of PBS Newshour along with her camera crew, Stephen Smith, BNT Senior Park Warden and Liz Brace, BNT Education Officer.
The bird banding team started at the Blanket Sound flats where after three full days of survey and banding efforts the team successfully captured and banded 1 piping plover, due to the elusiveness of the birds. The team then moved to the Joulter Cays, where three birds were banded. The last stop on the bird banding trip was Cargill Creek where the team was able to band sixteen piping plovers.
NASSAU, Bahamas -- BTC now has over ninety LTE sites nationally. Just recently three of the six mobile towers in Acklins were upgraded to provide 4G LTE services to the island. The towers located at Lovely Bay, Spring Point and Salina Point, now have 4G LTE services.
In addition to adding 4G LTE services to Acklins, BTC has made significant improvements to its mobile services on the island. Chief Councilor for Acklins, Tyrone Gilbert stated, “I must say that in the last two to three months, we (Acklins) have experienced tremendous improvements in our cellular services. I reside in the Lovely Bay community, and I am pleased with the cellular services.”
In November, BTC announced that it would inject $65m in capital expenditures to complete a full overhaul and upgrade of its landline, broadband and wireless networks. To date, BTC has made progressive steps in upgrading its networks. The thrust to also ensure that the Family Islands are not left behind is a major part of the company’s corporate strategy and focus.
BTC’s chief executive, Leon Williams said, “The Family Islands are of extreme importance to BTC. Whereas it is profitable to provide services in populated islands like New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco, BTC’s mission as the national provider is to ensure that all citizens, no matter their location, have the same access to world-class technology. In addition to having the same access, it is also imperative that all customers pay the same rates for products and services regardless of their location.”
LTE is an upgrade of the 4G network, and provides speeds that are five times, faster and smoother. This high-speed data network was introduced globally just two years ago. BTC was one of the first countries within the Caribbean to offer 4G LTE data services.
ELEUTHERA, Bahamas – When you’re a student, a field trip can turn into a mini vacation, and that’s exactly what students from Queen’s College in Nassau experienced during the Bahamas National Trust’s (BNT) ‘Student Day Away’. Student Day Away is a partnership between the BNT and Bahamas Ferries through which 118 second grade students and their parents were treated to a trip to the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve (LLNPP) in Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera.
“It made my day to see second graders get excited about planting natives,” said Falon Cartwright, Preserve Manager. “Each student took home a native plant seed they planted at the Preserve and I know that they also took with them a greater appreciation for Bahamian plants.”
During their trip to the Preserve, the group toured the bush medicine and edible history gardens, sampled bush teas and got a chance to plant and take home a native seed to grow in their own garden. The students also enjoyed lunch at The Preserve while taking in the beautiful native scenery.
LLNPP is the first and currently only national park in Eleuthera. The preserve, which is located in Governor’s Harbour is an environmental education centre as well as a facility for the propagation of native plants and trees. There are various trails and features at the preserve including a mangrove boardwalk, medicinal trail, freshwater wetland, and much more. The park also boasts a beautiful observation tower that takes visitors above the forest canopy for spectacular views of the surrounding hilly landscape and nearby coast.
BIMINI, The Bahamas -- Resorts World Bimini (RWB) continues to provide a significant boost to the economy of Bimini and the Bahamas as a whole, spending millions of dollars with local businesses in the process. In 2014 alone, RWB spent more than $8.6 million with Bimini and New Providence based businesses for various goods and services including food and beverage, transportation, and entertainment.
“Resorts World Bimini continues to demonstrate its commitment to help fuel Bimini’s economy,” says RWB President Edward Farrell. “Bimini businesses are experiencing exponential growth as a result of our presence, and this will only get better as our project continues to expand.”
One of the businesses directly and indirectly impacted by RWB’s operation is Stuart’s Conch Stand which supplies the resort with seafood for its restaurants as well as services many of the visitors who come to the island in search of the Bahamian delicacy. Proprietor Fabian Stuart says business has been on an upswing since the advent of RWB.
“We are grateful to Resorts World for their support,” he said. “Business has been so good that we are in the process of expanding our operation and I’m really excited about what the future holds.”
Another food vendor that has been servicing the Resort is Nate’s Variety of Bimini Bread, which supplies bread to RWB’s six restaurants.
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Several Harvard University students, who are conducting ethnographic studies on Mayaguana in order to preserve the island’s cultural heritage, spent some time with President of The College of The Bahamas Dr. Rodney D. Smith on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015. Dr. Smith is also an alumnus of Harvard University.
The students – in The Bahamas for a three-week period – are conducting the research under the auspices of Dr. Thomas Burke of Harvard University, who is also chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Division of Global Health and Human Rights. The I-Group of Mayaguana is a partial sponsor.
In addition to the interviews that they are conducting of Mayaguana residents, the Harvard University students are also interviewing persons from Inagua, Crooked Island and Acklins. A report will be produced and provided to The College.
Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, whose company BedfordBakerGroup is acting in the capacity as a consultant to the I-Group, accompanied the students on their recent visit to The College of The Bahamas.
From left are: Lana Idris, undergraduate at Harvard University; Stephanie Hadley, undergraduate at Harvard University; Dr. Rodney D. Smith, President of The College of The Bahamas; Faith Jackson, undergraduate at Harvard University and Barnabas Gilbert, medical student at Oxford University, currently pursuing graduate studies in medical anthropology at Harvard University.
ELEUTHERA, The Bahamas -- Students throughout South Eleuthera were in for a wild treat last week, as Bahamas National Trust (BNT) Education Officer, Scott Johnson traveled across the island to teach them about the Kirtland’s Warbler. The Kirtland’s Warbler is a bird that spends half of its life in Michigan and the other half in The Bahamas – most notably in Eleuthera.
During his trip, Johnson launched a poster competition for students in Eleuthera, and their fellow students in the state of Michigan, to be published in a 2016 calendar on the Kirtland Warbler, created by the Nature Conservancy.
“Because of its restricted home range and unique habitat requirements, the Kirtland's Warbler has always been a rare bird,” said Portia Sweeting, BNT Director of Education. “The Kirtland’s Warbler competition, and the school visits that our Education Department is conducting, will provide information and educational outreach necessary for the management of this endangered species.”
Johnson visited Eleuthera schools including Windemere, Preston Albury, Tarpum Bay Primary, Rock Sound Primary, Wemyss Bight Primary, Green Castle Primary and Deep Creek Middle School. Students ranged from kindergarten through grade seven and over 300 students participated in the presentations.
The poster competition is going on from now until the end of March, when the BNT Education department will collect the artwork from students in Eleuthera and ship it to Michigan to be added to pictures from competing schools there. Twelve winners will be selected to be a part of the 2016 Kirtland Warbler calendar.
EXUMA, Bahamas -- The pristine, aquamarine waters of Exuma in The Bahamas served as the ideal backdrop for the dream wedding of Texan couple, Lauren Gough and Stephen Swangstu. They were one of sixteen American couples that won a complimentary dream wedding on 16 islands in The Bahamas, in The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s (BMOT)“16 Islands 16 Weddings One Priceless Day” social media contest. All weddings took place on January 16, 2015 at 16:00 hours.
Ms. Kathryn Gough and Judith Swangstu the mothers of the bride and groom respectively, served as witnesses for the couple while some twelve other family members shared in the intimate, elegant and conch shell-lined beachfront ceremony. Live steel pan music entertained the guests in the “seaside serenade” themed ceremony. Guests ate an assortment of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, red velvet wedding cake, and sipped on green caramel apple martini, the signature drink for the couple.
Advocacy group hits out at Christie administration’s broken promise of a more environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive development model
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The government’s continued support for the controversial “anchor project” policy of national development is the subject of a new video by prominent social and environmental advocacy group Save The Bays (STB). The video, narrated by STB education director Joseph Darville, documents how the current administration promised to create sustainable local economies on each Family Island that would benefit Bahamians, only to revert to the shortsighted old model of mega-resorts owned by wealthy foreign interests.
“Anchor resorts and mega-resorts are continuing to flood our Family Islands, and as more and more invade our shores they are being kept secret from the Bahamian public,” Darville said. “But hold on, didn't we hear that Perry Christie and his government had abandoned the anchor project plan? Didn’t they mention something about full-circle economies in the Family Islands? Something must be dead wrong, since all these new developments are like the old failing ones.”