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Family Island News
Kids learn about corals and climate change at BREEF San Salvador Sea Camp
Submitted by Chauntez Wilson   
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 10:35

Sea campers are pictured with BREEF staff and volunteers at Columbus Landing, San Salvador.SAN SALVADOR, The Bahamas -- “Pants can help you float” - one of the safety tips Joshua Storr and thirty-nine other campers learned at BREEF’s eighth annual Sea Camp at Gerace Research Center in San Salvador held from July 21-25.  

During the week-long sea camp, children learned water safety skills and how climate change is affecting coral reefs and people in The Bahamas.

Campers eagerly participated in activities including snorkeling and free-diving, games, crafts, science experiments and a beach clean-up.  

“The best thing about sea camp is learning how much CO2 we let out in our environment and how I can reduce it to help protect the coral reefs,” stated sea camper Jamillah Rolle.

By the end of the camp, children also set personal goals to help slow down climate change. Daverelle Major pledged to “stop leaving on my TV when I am not watching it” and Shante Pratt wants to “grow gardens, plant vegetables, (and) ride my bike more instead of riding cars."

Three campers also completed their prerequisite water skills and are now eligible to be trained as certified scuba divers.  

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U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Lisa Johnson discusses business entrepreneurship with youth during Andros visit
Submitted by the US Embassy Nassau   
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 10:12

The U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Lisa Johnson presents a certificate of achievement to a member of the Andros Youth Outreach Program.ANDROS, The Bahamas -- On Thursday, August 7, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Lisa Johnson discussed business entrepreneurship with members of the Andros Youth Outreach Program and formally donated a collection of 110 books to the Central Andros District Council Office Resource Center.  Office of Defense Cooperation Commander Sam Wartell and Island Administrator for Central Andros Cleola Pinder were also present at the event.  

During the meeting, over 20 teenagers from the Andros Youth Outreach Program provided a presentation on a business entrepreneurship program they recently completed.  Each youth presenter spoke briefly about their experience in an assigned position operating a simulated business venture under the program.  

Chargé Johnson presented all of the participants in the business entrepreneurship program with certificates of achievement and gave remarks promoting entrepreneurship, leadership, and teamwork.  Although the simulated business venture did not turn a profit, the Chargé emphasized the valuable lesson the participants had learned and the importance of understanding that everyone may not succeed the first time.

At the end of the meeting, Chargé Johnson officially presented the Central Andros District Council Office Resource Center with a collection of books donated by the U.S. Embassy to assist with increasing the resource center’s recently established reading collection.  This latest donation of books in Andros is part of the U.S. Embassy’s continuing support to improve education and learning resources in The Bahamas.

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EcoCampers return from Andros ready to take on the world
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 16:12

EcoCampers Return from Andros Ready to Take on the World! EcoCampers from throughout The Bahamas recently returned to their various islands after participating in an exciting week-long camp for students aged 13 – 16, where they learned about the ecology and culture of Andros Island, and the importance of conversing our natural resources. (Photo courtesy of BVS for Barefoot Marketing)ANDROS, The Bahamas -- The 2014 EcoCampers from throughout The Bahamas recently returned home after participating in an exciting week-long camp for students aged 13 – 16, where they learned about the ecology and culture of Andros Island, and the importance of conserving our natural resources.

During the camp, students spent time learning about wildlife in Andros, the importance of conservation, the Andros barrier reef, critically endangered species, blue holes and much more.  Campers also visited various areas in Andros including Red Bays, Lowe Sound, Andros North Marine Park and Blue Hole National Park. 

They were had a special visit by Owner/Operator of Stafford Creek Lodge, BNT Council member and President of Bahamas Sportfishing Conservation Association (BSCA), Captain Prescott Smith who gave a presentation and inspired campers to continue on their journey in learning about the environment.

“The experience afforded to me this past week is one I will never forget,” said Janae, an EcoCamper from Nassau.  “I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge from this amazing programme. Attending EcoCamp introduced me to new things, new people and new ideas.”

The campers camped in the wilderness, swam in blue holes, enjoyed music around the camp fire, swam along the barrier reef in Andros, participated in an outreach event, spoke to spongers, straw crafters and wood carvers and even spotted a Bahama Oriole.  The Bahama Oriole is a critically endangered bird that is found only on the Island of Andros, and there are fewer than 260 individual birds left on earth.

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Teachers dive into marine conservation at the BREEF workshop
Submitted by Serena Williams   
Monday, 21 July 2014 16:52

BREEF teachers visit proposed marine protected area dive sites to see coral life first hand.SAN SALVADOR, The Bahamas -- Teachers from Grand Bahama to Inagua and many islands in between gathered together on San Salvador last week for the annual BREEF Marine Conservation Teacher Training Workshop. For many of the twenty-eight teachers, this was their first glimpse of the world underwater, and it was a life-changing experience. Kimberley Rolle from Nicoll’s Town Primary School in Andros described her first ever snorkeling experience as “priceless” and committed to creating more hands-on experiences for her students where the she can make the school curriculum come to life.  

Raymond Knight from Aquinas College stated: “Without doubt, the benefits of coral, wetland, sandy and rocky shore ecosystems to the future of The Bahamas came to life during this BREEF workshop.” Trilene Neeley, a teacher at C.R. Walker Senior High School, described her experience swimming above a reef for the first time, and put it in a conservation context pointing out that, “ the coral reef is so vital to the conservation of our environment, our economy and even our cultural heritage.”  

All of the participants described how their knowledge and understanding grew. Their statements were backed up with evidence from pre and post-tests showing a dramatic increase in the teachers’ knowledge by the end of the week.  

These educators will soon be returning to their home schools around the country to share information about Marine Conservation to thousands students and their communities throughout The Bahamas. Keturah Duncanson from Treasure Cay Primary School stated: “The time with BREEF showed me how to use our country’s nature resources to educate our students. I have been motivated to be a better steward of the environment.”  

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SuperFast cruise ship promotes Bimini businesses
Submitted by Michelle Malcolm   
Saturday, 19 July 2014 14:49

BIMINI, The Bahamas -- A promise made by Resorts World Bimini (RWB) to promote businesses on the twin islands onboard the Bimini SuperFast cruise ship has been fulfilled, and the featured establishments are already feeling the effects.

The series of five videos which airs onboard the ship as it sails from Miami to Bimini, informs passengers of what they can expect upon arrival to the island in the areas of dining, historical sites and attractions, water sports and ecotourism, sports fishing, and accommodations.

RWB completely underwrote the production cost of the videos as a goodwill gesture to the business community on the island, a promise that was made during a meeting with members of the Local Government Town Council. Many business persons have since reported that they have been receiving positive feedback from visitors who advise that they saw their establishments advertised on the videos. One such business person is “Bonefish” Ebbie David, who says he has seen a direct result from the videos.

“I just took some people fishing who told me they got to know who I was through the video,” he said. “People keep telling me about it. I’ve gotten some really positive feedback.”

Nate Hanna from Nate’s Variety of Bimini Bread had a similar report.  “New and old customers are coming in, telling me that they saw me on the ship,” he said. “Even the new customers are telling me how nice I look in the video, and all I do is laugh and say thanks. I’ve been getting good response from it.”

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First tourist wedding makes history on Ragged Island
Submitted by Charlene Lockhart-Bain   
Thursday, 17 July 2014 08:12

Report by: 'The Voice in the Wilderness' Ragged Island, Bahamas

RAGGED ISLAND, The Bahamas -- Happy couple Martin and Paula travel all the way from the United Kingdom to say “I do” on the beautiful shores of Hog Cay, Ragged Island this week. 

The history-making ceremony was performed by Senior Deputy Administrator Theophilus Cox and arranged by Ministry of Tourism representative Charlene Lockhart-Bain and is reported to be the first tourist wedding on Ragged Island.

Post-wedding, the reception was held at Maxine’s Beach Party Shack, Hog Cay and was attended by most residents of Duncan Town.

(Photo by Sade)

 
BNT educates future environmentalists with various presentations
Submitted by Barefoot Marketing   
Monday, 14 July 2014 11:42

Photo 1: The Bahamas National Trust wishes to encourage the youth of The Bahamas to conserve and protect their environment. Over the last few weeks, Director of Parks, David Knowles have been speaking to students throughout the Bahamas on the importance of national parks and other protected areas. Below is Knowles and a group of students who are currently enrolled at at the Friends of the Environment Abaco Research Center (ARC) in Marsh Harbor, Abaco. (Photo Courtesy of The Bahamas National Trust for Barefoot Marketing) ABACO, Bahamas - The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is on a mission to educate the youth on conservation and the environment, throughout The Bahamas and internationally with the help of BNT’s Director of Parks, David Knowles.  

Knowles has been working with the BNT for more than six years and is proud to be apart of an organization that strives daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas, through stewardship and education for present and future generations.  

Just recently, he gave a presentation to students who are currently enrolled in summer courses at the Friends of the Environment Abaco Research Center (ARC). Friends of the Environment have been in operation for almost thirty years, but the ARC has just recently been established in Marsh Harbor. The center is used for hosting high school and University programs, conducting field courses and presents opportunities to partner with scientists on long-term research projects. The summer courses will help students take a more in depth look at diverse ecosystems and marine life.  

In his presentation, Knowles covered an array of topics such as habitat conservation, environmental careers and opportunities, as well as Abaco’s Protected Areas and the BNT’’s role in managing and establishing protected areas. When asked about the experience, he commented, “It was great to present at this workshop for Friends of the Environment, particularly where Bahamian students are involved. These students are the future leaders of our country and their knowledge is critical to the decision-making process that they will be involved in the future.” Data gathered in the courses will also be used to assist on-going research and support other conservation programmes.  

Knowles then traveled to the Cape Eleuthera Institute, to present at the school’s Research Symposium. This event was a culmination a semester-long research class, where students became involved in all aspects of research. His presentation covered National Parks with a specific focus on Marine parks, BNT’s conservation goals and the research needed to help with national park management. 

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Guy Harvey Outpost’s inaugural Beach Bash Bonfire and Tournament brought crowds to Bimini Sands Resort & Marina
Submitted by Alina Quintana   
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 11:02
Photo: The inaugural Guy Harvey Outpost Beach Bash (Ned Stone/Guy Harvey Outpost).More than 300 guests Attended Burning Marlin Celebration  

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida -- The inaugural Guy Harvey Outpost Beach Bash, Bonfire and Tournament came to a close on June 29th with Captain Bouncer Smith guiding Victor Bermudez to a first place finish and award of the Burning Marlin Trophy. The weekend’s closing ceremonies included a sky diving performance and the lighting of a 30-foot-tall Blue Marlin steel sculpture designed by acclaimed artist Bobby Little before a crowd of more than 300 at the Bimini Sands Resort & Marina on South Bimini. Proceeds from an on-line auction of weekend fishing charters with Captain Bouncer Smith benefitted Bimini marine conservation programs.  

Made from recycled rebar, the Burning Marlin sculpture will be dropped next Spring into the Bimini waters where it will function as Biorock®. This will enable species of coral to grow faster within the sculpture than they would in natural reef structures. “I am always looking for ways to give back to the islands that have given so much to me,” noted sculptor Bobby Little.  

“Sustainable tourism is always at the heart of what we do,” commented Outpost President Mark Ellert. “Bimini is in our DNA and we’re thrilled to be back. We also know a few things about art, and with our plans to create an annual Burning Marlin festival for artists, anglers, families and friends of Bimini we intend to start of a new tradition on South Bimini.” Guy Harvey Outposts celebrated its return to Bimini after two years of growth throughout the Caribbean, Central America, the Galapagos and elsewhere in the Bahamas.  

The Beach Bash opened with Jesse Cors of Outpost Extreme Sports leading a sky diving team that parachuted into the Friday night beachside cocktail party, setting up a second jump the following evening to light the Burning Marlin.  Days were filled with family-friendly beach and watersport activities organized by the Bimini Sands Activities Center, including scuba diving with world record-holder Neal Watson of Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center and excursions to Honeymoon Harbour to snorkel with wild stingrays, tours of the mangrove lagoons, Bimini Nature Trail, and the Bimini Sharklab.  

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