Category Archives: Educational Programs

Another visiting program experiences Eleuthera!

This eyewitness account was written by a student in the University School-Hathaway Brown Program:

Before getting started, allow me to explain one reason why the Island School was such an eye-opening, incredible experience for my group and me. We are from Cleveland. Between the incessant snow and cloudy days, it seems that conservation is the last thing on our minds. So when our science research-based school club (the Anderson Scholars) of five boys, in addition to five girls (also interested in science research) from our all-girls sister school Hathaway Brown, received the notice that we would be spending a week in the beautiful, sunny Bahamas, we didn’t know what to expect.


The Island School is its own microcosm of shape shifting individuals. From the engaging curriculum, an individual becomes a motivated student. From the hands-on outdoor activities, one becomes a teammate. From the encouragement of others, one transforms into a leader. While most schools are trying to discover a way to make their curriculum applicable to the outside world, the Island School has already developed several tried and true methods to make it a precedent for said schools. The school is a place where the words “when will I ever use this outside of class?” will never be uttered from a student’s lips. The students are warm, outgoing, and most importantly, passionate; they are passionate about school, conservation, and lifting each other up. The science researchers are driven, and extremely helpful. Continue reading

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Earthwatch visits CEI

For ten days, seven volunteers representing four countries came to CEI to assist with data collection for a long term research project led by Dr Alastair Harborne from the Marine Spatial Ecology Lab. School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland. The group was looking at mangrove and reef connectivity, along with scientists Rod Wilson and Kat Sloaman, who were investigating parrotfish behavior. Every day they ventured out to the patch reefs to conduct fish surveys and physical reef data.

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Wemyss Bight Primary School visits CEI!

On Tuesday morning, CEI had an exciting visit from a local South Eleuthera primary school, Wemyss Bight Primary. Mrs. Paul’s grade 4 class came for a morning field trip as a way to supplement their curriculum on the topics of ocean resources, ocean pollution, and ocean movement (tides & currents). While visiting our campus, they explored the various sustainable systems including the farm, orchard, biodiesel lab, resource center and the wet lab.

The wetlab proved to be one of the most exciting spots on campus, as this group of 10 year olds was able to see juvenile lemon sharks, yellow stingrays, checkered pufferfish and the freshwater tilapia found in our aquaponics system. This gave them a taste of some of the current research projects at Cape Eleuthera Institute and the valuable marine resources found here in the Bahamas. Continue reading

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Gap Year Update #2

An excerpt from the Gap Year Student update from Gapper Will Fox:

Beach Plastic
Gap year beach plastic CEIOne of our last activities of the Gap student beach plastic CEIweek was on beach plastics with Kristal. We started in the presentation room, watching Kristal’s presentation on her experience researching the Pacific Ocean gyres. We then went out to a beach in Wemyss Bight to do some surveying. The results we got were pretty surprising — we found a ton of micro plastic pieces in each of the quadrants we surveyed in. The microplastics came from larger pieces of plastic in the ocean breaking up, a current environmental issue that researchers at CEI are hoping to learn more about in order to affect change both locally and globally. Continue reading
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CEI is teeming with young scientists!

Last week, 22 middle school students from the Lillian and Betty Ratner School in Pepper Pike, Ohio visited The Islands School and CEI. Over the course of the week, Ratner dove into our various programs on campus. Many of the students experienced snorkeling  for the first time, visiting  our off-shore wreck, the reefs off fourth hole and the mangroves of Paige Creek. This group also learned firsthand about plastic pollution circulating throughout the worlds’ oceans through a plastics workshop with our own plastic guru Kristal Ambrose.






The final days of this energetic group were filled with lionfish dissections , permaculture explorations, cutting lettuce in the aquaponic grow beds, and getting a real taste for the sustainable lifestyle of our community. Continue reading

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Vermont Commons visits CEI and has a blast under the sea!

A group of 12 students, 8th – 12th grade, from Vermont Commons School in South Burlington, Vermont, is off after a week of SCUBA diving and research. This was their first time visiting CEI and they say it exceeded their expectations! They especially enjoyed night wading for octopus with Brendan Talwar, lionfish dissections with Elizabeth Underwood and Jocelyn Curtis-Quick, learning reef fish ID with Kristal Ambrose, ultimate frisbee with Jason Kincaid, and volunteering with SEEP (South Eleuthera Emergency Partners)! Each and every one of them loved our local lettuce and all the food provided by our kitchen staff. We couldn’t have done it without this amazing community!

Check out the link to their blog for a step by step log of their trip down to Cape Eleuthera Institute!

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The Island School Hosts New York Harbor School SCUBA Divers

Last week The Island School hosted 12 SCUBA divers from the New York Harbor School. Accompanying the divers were dive instructors Liv Dillon and Joe Gessert and board member Eli Smith. The divers continue the relationship between the New York Harbor School and The Island School, which includes dive trips such as this one as well as bringing students to enroll in Island School semesters as part of the City Bridge program. Students participated in up to 22 dives (four per day), 10 received their Advanced Open Water Certification, while the other 2 students (who had already completed their Advanced Open Water) worked towards their Divemaster.

For more information on the New York Harbor School, check out their website, and for a glimpse of what the students experienced, check out these photos and the video below:

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Gap Year Program Update

This first GAP year update was written by a gapper reflecting on their first week:

When I asked the copious newcomers that arrived at Cape Eleuthera Institute in the past week or so if they could describe their experience so far, they responded ultimately a plethora of words: surreal, funky fresh, refreshing, really salty, lots of lettuce, and extremely informative. Personally, I would not object to any of those, but due to lack of time, as I am a gap year student here at The Cape Eleuthera Institute, and have to finish my prerequisites for SCUBA training, I am only going to focus on the week being “surreal, informative, and refreshing.”

Along with four other gappers (for the sake of an easier flow to this blog post, and a more real description of our time here, I am going to refer to a gap year student as a “gapper”, what everyone else has come to call us), we arrived at the sunny south side of the island Eleuthera, and it immediately seemed as if the luminous sun hovering the enticing, crystal, teal waters sucked out the oxygen from the moment, where we were all amazed at how perfect a place can really be. Continue reading

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Carleton University visits CEI to study coral reef communities

From December 27th, 2012 to January 10th, 2013 a field course from Carleton University, led by Dr. Nigel Waltho and coordinated by the Ontario Universities Program in Field Biology, came to CEI to conduct reef ecology research.  Through snorkeling and scuba diving, 8 teams of students studied the distribution and community organization of various marine habitats as it relates to ecological processes.  Some examples of projects included studying the effects of the lionfish invasion on fish community structure, studying fish species richness and abundance relative to a gradient of habitat types, as well as interspecific competition for space among corals, sponge and algal species.

The course included writing a proposal, species identification, project design, data collection, statistical workshops, and a final scientific paper.  These final reports, in addition to their publication potential, will have the opportunity to be used by the Bahamian government to inform local conservation efforts.  Highlights from the trip included seeing a whale shark, squid, eagle rays, a hammerhead shark as well as attending local Bahamian Junkanoo festivals and exploring the island!

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Visiting program gets up close and personal with sea turtles!

Recently, students from the Maine School of Science and Mathematics (MSSM), hailing from Limestone, Maine, spent their 2 week J-Term learning about sea turtle research and conservation at CEI.While here they learned about how the Bahamas is a unique foraging ground for juvenile green sea turtles. The students traveled to Half Sound, located northwest of the Cape, on the Atlantic side of the island. This site provides a protected habitat with a small opening to the ocean, a seemingly ideal place for juvenile green sea turtles to forage.

For their research, MSSM students built on research conducted by Annabelle Brooks and The Island School Fall 2012 research group. During their field time they conducted habitat mapping and surveys of the sound- observing shoreline habitat, taking depth measurements, and noting bottom type. They also set up the first baited remote underwater video (BRUV) in the sound to capture footage of the possible predators in the sound. Boat surveys were conducted, where students did actual counts of sea turtles, and a seine net was set up in the mouth of the tidal creek, to capture and tag sea turtles. The tagging of sea turtles done at CEI is in partnership with the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida, which aims to form a global database of sea turtle tagging data.





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