Wednesday October 5th, 2:10 PM
Good Afternoon Parents and Friends,
We wrapped up the week with a South Eleuthera road trip to learn about and see different parts of the island. Team Gap is looking forward to the next 8 weeks of learning and laughs. Stay tuned for more updates on our adventures.
Education and research may be the staples of CEI, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. As part of the Gap Program, the students train throughout their semester for a culminating event- a Triathlon. Tuesday marked the third bi-annual Gap Triathlon.
Comprised of three events, the triathlon aims to challenge the students using all aspects of our environment and our resources. Individually each aspect is more than manageable – ½ mile swim, 13 mile bike, 3 mile run; together they provide a veritable challenge for any competitors. In our typical unconventional style, each competitor must complete the triathlon on one of the schools beach cruisers, giving our triathlon an island feel.
On Tuesday, nine competitors completed the course we have fondly come to know as the Talapia-thon (after our aquaponics system). The effort put into the event by the competitors was matched, if not surpassed, by the support the community gave during the event. Congratulations to all who competed, assisted, and cheered, and here’s to the next bi-annual triathlon later this year.
Here is an update from our Spring gappers:
Travel. A new place. A different rhythm. Novel colours, sounds and smells assail many a traveler as they set foot on foreign land. With this often comes the unmistakable adventure; something is just different as if the air itself was charged with anticipation. Arrival at CEI was no different (well maybe a little). With warm smiles and enthusiastic introductions, we were welcomed inside the community. The openness of those already here seemed to mitigate the shock of adjustment as we fell into the tight yet comprehensive embrace that defines the community.
From Aquaponics and permaculture, to ocean research with conservation in mind, we witnessed stimulating, cutting-edge projects that radiated a vibrant atmosphere of purpose and progress to the facility. Being exposed to this environment where sustainability is the main focus in all aspects prompted a plethora of concerns and reflections shared by the Gap students in the Human Ecology and Environmental Issues classes. How we’ve lived here will undoubtedly influence the way we act in relation to our environment and resources for the better, inspiring those around us, as we were here, to achieve a society where we can live in harmony with nature and its flows. And so on we strive. Continue reading
We’re officially back on campus safe and sound! Over the past two weeks we have been embracing the adventure and outdoor education component of the Gap Year Program here at CEI. We have had the time of our lives traveling along the island of Eleuthera by kayak one week and by van the next.
Our kayak trip took us along the Eleutheran coast through the Bahamas Banks. Paddling by day, in the evenings we would bring our kayaks onto the beach and set up camp, cooking dinner on an open fire despite what turned out to be one of our biggest challenges – the bugs! Every night bar the last one a storm rolled in with lots of rain and some lighting and thunder. Despite it all, though, we still had a great time. We also all survived our solo experiences – 27 hours of solitary thought and reflection on a secluded beach on the banks. Continue reading
The Fall Gap Year Program is underway and boy have the gappers come a long way since we met, as seven strangers, at the Rock Sound Airport three weeks ago. With our fearless leaders, Liz and Pat, we have become a tight-knit family. Between getting SCUBA certified and oriented to campus, we had an action-packed first week.
At the start of our second week, we really got into the swing of things. We began our classes, Human Ecology and Environmental Issues, where we learned how to live more sustainably in our daily lives. Each of us chose a topic of interest to research and present to the rest of the group. Continue reading
Gap Year students spent an afternoon with the sustainable fisheries program, dissecting lionfish and engaging in discussion about the invasive species. During the dissection students poked at lionfish visceral fat and removed the fishes’ venomous spines, among other organs. The dissection was a hands-on way to see how these habitat and feeding generalists thrive in the Bahamas. They eat during all hours of the day and, as a result, have more visceral fat than most fish. Understanding mechanisms which make lionfish such successful invaders is an important first step to effective management of the species.
After learning about the latest research regarding lionfish prey preferences and feeding habits, Gap Year students headed into the field to try their hand at catching prey fish for the lab. Armed with fins, snorkels, and hand nets, the team of 5 targeted juvenile fish which could be used in lab choice trials. Despite initial setbacks (catching fish has a learning curve!) the excursion was ultimately a success and a collection of damselfish, silversides, and grunts made their way back to the CEI wet lab.
The Spring 2014 Gap Year students are nearing the end of their program here at CEI. The last portion of the course is a three week internship with one of our research programs at the Institute. Below are accounts from both students on how their experience has been since joining the Sustainable Fisheries and Shark Research and Conservation Program, respectively.