Last Thursday was The Island School Research Symposium! It is a highlight of Parent’s Week, and a time for parents to hear about the good work being done by their sons and daughters. Throughout the semester, The Island School students have collaborated with CEI researchers, contributing to ongoing research projects. They have been studying various ecosystems around Eleuthera, including inland ponds, the pelagic zone, the deep sea, shallow water sandbars, and tidal creeks .
In all, nine projects were presented, and Dr. Craig Dahlgren, Senior Research Scientist for the Bahamas National Trust, concluded the event with a talk on the state of coral reefs in The Bahamas. All nine projects are being featured on our Instagram (@CEIBahamas) and Facebook pages, so please check them out for more details on the amazing research done this semester!
The main objective of the project is to tag oceanic whitetips in The Bahamas, a shark sanctuary, and to track their movements. This can be compared to areas of protection vs. potential threats. This information can then be used to influence policy and management on a national level.
Friday, July 24th marked the culmination of the 20th summer of the South Eleuthera Children’s Camp at Cape Eleuthera. Fourteen children between the ages of 8 and 14 attended the one-week camp designed to introduce campers to the ocean and teach them about marine issues and conservation. For many young campers, this was their first contact with the ocean and on day one they are taught to face their fears of the sea as they dive in and learn how to swim. One camp counselor describes her first day as “inspiring” and “of real importance to children who live in such close proximity to the ocean”. All 14 campers passed their swim test and three days later dove into the deep blue of the Exuma Sound. When asked about their favorite part of camp, many children stated that facing their fears and jumping into the deep blue sea was the highlight of their journey.
Aside from learning to swim, the campers learned about ocean conservation and the marine creatures that inhabit their waters. At the end of the week, each camper gave a presentation of what they had learned to an audience of master student scientists from around the world.
Two current, CapeEleuthera Island School employees were among the first campers in the two-decade-old tradition. Sammy Dorset of Tarpum Bay, attended the camp at age 15 and Shamara Burrows of Waterford, attended at age 9.
For both Sammy and Shamara, this camp was their first encounter with Island School founders, Chris and Pam Maxey and, for Shamara, her first encounter with the ocean and learning to swim.
Both Shamara and Sammy are now key contributors to The Island School community. Sammy is a Biodiesel Technician where he works to convert used cooking oil into usable diesel to supply Island School vehicles with a sustainable, alternative fuel. Shamara is part of the accounts team and works diligently to compensate and maintain good standing with our various vendors and suppliers. They both remember their experience at camp fondly and attribute much of their current success to their first contact with The Island School – at summer camp.
When asked about the origins of the Summer Camp, Chris Maxey said, “Our true roots here for supporting educational opportunities on Eleuthera began back in the summer of 1995 with the start of our South Eleuthera Camp. Long before The Island School or the Deep Creek Middle School we camped along the shore in the Casuarina forest. I am especially proud that two of our pioneer campers who back in the beginning lived in tents by Sunrise Beach are now working with us at Cape Eleuthera Island School. The camp journey is focused on exploring the marine environment and helping instill a conservation ethic in this next generation of South Eleuthera citizens; now this summer in our 20th year of running the camp we have reached well over 250 campers. We give special thanks to the Cotton Bay Foundation for funding this opportunity since it’s inception.”
The South Eleuthera Summer Camp is a tradition here to stay and to continue to inspire young people to understand, explore and love their environment.
Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot step up to the top of our giving pyramid with a $2 MM total pledge. In addition to helping us build the new Anderson Cabot Graduate Hall, the new leadership pledge allows us to focus on our campaign promise to Share Solutions. The commitment will help us leverage over $1 MM toward our endowment and $350 k toward developing a communications journey that will enable the school to share best practices with a wider community. In addition, funds have been allotted to collaborate with From the Bow Seat and help build awareness around the serious global challenge of plastic pollution in our oceans. Lastly, there is an effort to develop a film that can help call attention to the successful model and power of experiential and collaborative learning. In the gift letter Linda sums up their desired outcomes,
“Ed and I believe in the Island School mission and the transformational power of experiential learning. At the Island School students tackle real world sustainability issues, conduct independent research, engage in collaborative learning and challenge their personal best. These powerful experiences develop meaningful skills that will help students thrive in the real world and protect our natural environment. This is why we are proud to make a gift that will help sustain the curriculum and enable the school to inspire and share best practices with learning communities around the globe. We hope our actions inspire others to give generously as we believe that community efforts yield the largest and most positive effects”.
Ed and Linda’s leadership comes at a pivotal moment in our history as we look down the last year of our five-year campaign. With their gift we are approaching $17 MM and feel confident to be able to announce now that our new campaign goal is $20 MM. Mary Kate Barnes, Island School parent, Board Vice Chairman and Chair of our campaign shares, “It is amazing to witness a young school embark on a bold first campaign effort with the potential to stride so far past goal. Much of this effort is designed to build an endowment and strategic sustainable fiscal plan that looks out generations. I am also proud of the young development team, Mary Assini Sp 00 and Cameron Powel Fall ’04, both alumni living the mission of The Island School — Leadership Effecting Change.” The Cape Eleuthera Foundation Board thanks Ed and Linda for believing in us and helping The Island School strive towards a new level of sharing.
Both Ed and Linda are proud to say that their daughters Georgianna Sp ’11 and Noelle Sp ’13 both graduated as Class Caciques and to this day lean back on The Island School experience as the most transformative time on their journey through school.
Aaron Shultz, Director of the Cape Eleuthera Institute, has had his graduate work, under the direction of Dr. Cory Suski, highlighted in a report for the University of Illinois. Aaron was the 2011 recipient of the International Graduate Student Achievement Award. Please check out the link to the report here.