On December 13, six college students from Holland, Michigan’s Hope College arrived on campus to participate in a week-long field course focusing on Island Ecology and Geology. Led by Professor Brian Bodenbender, the group explored the island of Eleuthera- both above and below water. During their many field excursions, they examined the cross bedding of ancient sand dunes and the magnificent coral reefs of Half Sound. Although challenged by the sustainable lifestyle of our small island community, the group returned to the the states with a refreshed understanding of island ecology and the ways in which humans are connected to and impact their environment.by
Isobel Flake, research assistant for the Lionfish Research and Education Program, has been working on a research project during her time at CEI. Here she describes her research:
Like many programs at CEI, the Lionfish Research and Education Program is constantly occupied with fieldwork, data entry, the Island School research class, and miscellaneous other projects. With so little excess time, the program rarely has the chance to get involved with local communities. For this reason, I decided to focus my efforts on community outreach and education by creating lionfish signs for my independent project. Ideally posted in 19 locations across the island, I plan to have these signs posted at community gathering areas such as docks, marinas, and/or community centers. The signs offer information including history of the lionfish invasion in the western Atlantic, why they pose such concerning threats, and what people can do to help. The goals for this project are not only to increase awareness, but also to encourage local consumption of the tasty invasive.by
Last week CEI had the opportunity to host 20 Bahamian students from Freeport, Nassau and Crooked Island for National Geographic’s Photo Camp. This camp was the culmination of the Youth Expression Against Drugs Competition, put together in partnership by the US Embassy and the Bahamian National Drug Council. Cameras in hand, the youth ambassadors (as they are known) explored our family island of Eleuthera to find new ways to express and describe what they value and what is important to them through the lens of a camera.
Each day the group began their day with short lectures that explored different technical and artistic techniques of photography. These lectures, which were coupled with various photo assignments in the field. were led by National Geographic photographer, Raul Touzon, and photo editor, Todd James. Whether it was shooting in local settlements or shooting underwater at Lighthouse Beach and Fourth Hole, students used their time at The Island School and throughout South Eleuthera to express themselves and dig deeper into what they feel is most important to conserve/preserve in their native land. Over the course of the five day program, the students took thousands of photographs of people, plants, animals and landscapes. Continue readingby
Hi all and welcome to the new Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) blog! We are excited to have a new space to highlight the innovative and exciting research being done at CEI. There will also be information on sustainable systems projects on campus, and updates on the many different educational programs that utilize CEI researchers to provide a science-based curriculum.
Check back weekly for new posts on the current happenings at CEI. Past blog posts involving CEI research can be found at www.islandschool.wordpress.com
By Calvin Clapp
Here in South Eleuthera, the past couple weeks have been somewhat of a blur. Whether the blame falls upon camping trips, scuba diving or research, there is no doubt that we have been fully engaged in life on the island. Last weekend, the interns organized a small camping trip to Surfer’s Beach. So we started bussin’ it down the island, making any of the necessary stops to make it a proper camping experience. After sharing stories and laughs, with the fire simmering down, we all headed to bed ready for a fun-filled day of aquatic activities. The last minute decision to camp was not regretted by anyone.
With drowsy eyes and with a trailing stench of campfire, we rolled back to campus ready to take on a couple days of learning in the field with our respective research groups. We soon realized that our recent camping trip was only a pre-game for our exclusive DIT (Down Island Trip) for the gaps and our leader, Scotty.
This served as a great opportunity to explore and experience Continue readingby
The past two days have been primarily taken up with learning about and surveying green sea turtles in the local sounds and creeks. We began yesterday with a mini-class taught by Lucie, a researcher at CEI completing a baseline survey on turtle populations in South Eleuthera. We learned that there are 5 different species in the area–Green, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead, Leatherback and Hawksbill–though some are more abundant than others. All of the species are protected under international treaties, though very little is known about their populations, migratory habits, etc.
After learning about the turtles and how Lucie conducts her studies, we headed out to Jack’s Bay to do our first survey. We hiked in to the beach and got picked up to go out to the seagrass beds where the turtles usually hang out. Spotting turtles requires two people to stand on the bow deck of the boat and look in the seagrass for turtles. It is not an easy job, but once we all saw one turtle, it was much easier to spot them. We saw a few from the boat (and we were all really excited!), but when we got in to snorkel with them, they had all disappeared! We were a little bummed to miss swimming with the turtles, but Lucie assured us that the next day would be even better at Half Sound.
Today (Tuesday), we woke up and completed a run-swim for our morning exercise. Continue readingby