Last Saturday morning, members from the Deep Creek Homecoming Committee and community partnered up with Deep Creek residents from Cape Eleuthera Institute and students and faculty from The Deep Creek Middle School to do a trash clean-up in an effort to get the streets of the settlement clean for their annual Homecoming in early June.
Trucks and equipment were provided by the Center for Sustainable Development and 5 loads were taken from the main road. All participants were shocked by the amount of trash found on the road and were vocal about the need to continue their efforts with more Clean-ups and education on waste management, as well as additional waste bins and signage around the community to motivate the proper disposal of trash.
The slogan for the Deep Creek Homecoming is Coming Together to keep The Creek Clean, Green and Pristine! and one member from the committee said that “the residents are striving to live and breathe the slogan to truly bring it to life for the Homecoming and afterwards”.
The Clean-up began at 9AM and ended at 12PM, just in time for the start of the Fish Fry, intended to raise funds for the festivities in June. At the Fish Fry, food vendors used all compostable packaging in order to keep plastics and harmful disposables not only off the streets but out of the dumps.
After loading the five truckloads of trash, the members of the clean up crew got together at CEI Intern, Georgie Burruss’s home to celebrate their efforts with snacks and music.
The Clean-up attracted around 40 people and is the first of a proposed monthly effort in Deep Creek and one that hopes to be a model that inspires other communities to do the same.
This past Saturday, the Deep Creek Middle School Early Act and Eco Club teamed up with Preston H. Albury High School’s newly formed Eco Club to sort plastics 1, 2, and 5. It wasn’t the prettiest job – sorting plastic bags and food containers and removing bottle caps from a few hundred bottles – but friendly competition made it fun as three groups each tried to sort the most! Continue reading →
CEI researchers were busy in Nassau over the past week. On March 4th, Aaron Shultz and Kate Kincaid attended an IUCN Red List Workshop, held at The Bahamas National Trust. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization (www.iucn.org). As an expert commission member for several IUCN groups, Kate is regularly involved in IUCN work. This workshop was open to scientists to come together and discuss plans for a National Red List for The Bahamas. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (www.iucnredlist.org) promotes conservation and is an assessment of the conservation status of species to highlight taxa that are threatened with extinction. Species are evaluated using set criteria; this catalogue of threatened species is an internationally recognized inventory and important for conservation, decision making and highlighting biodiversity loss.
Many species have not yet been assessed and many countries are conducting national Red Lists. A national Red List for The Bahamas can be used for conservation planning and to assess their progress towards the 2020 Conventional on Biological Diversity Aichi targets. At this workshop, Kate and Aaron expressed CEI’s interest to be involved in the planning process and in species focus groups for sharks, corals and turtles.
Following this workshop, CEI researchers Aaron Shultz, Kate Kincaid and Kristal Ambrose attended the 2nd Bahamas National Natural History Conference. This was a 3 day conference from 5th-8th March led by the Bahamas National Trust (www.bnt.bs) that highlighted the importance of research, conservation, and environmental stewardship in The Bahamas. The conference began with an opening ceremony at Atlantis followed by 3 days of talks. Continue reading →
This past fall, CEI’s resident plastic researcher, Kristal Ambrose teamed up with local high school teacher Joanna Parker’s geography class to conduct two consecutive beach plastic surveys for their BGCSE course work, a national exam required for graduation. Their plastic lesson began when Kristal visited the high school to talk about plastic pollution and her research being done on the island. They were very receptive and interested in learning more about the issue.
The students surveyed two beaches in South Eleuthera and compared how debris levels varied between beaches. Thirty two students from grades 10, 11 and 12 at the Preston H Albury High School in Rock Sound ended their lesson on the beach to test the hypothesis for their project. The educational programs team assisted in this venture and helped to make it a success. Students were impacted by the amount of debris discovered on the beaches and are excited to conduct more surveys!
FRIENDS of the Environment hosted the 6th Biennial Abaco Science Alliance Conference (ASAC). The conference goals were to provide a forum for networking and information sharing for Abaco and Bahamas-based research projects, to encourage the use of research for local education and environmental management purposes and to stimulate further research in The Bahamas.
The research and educational programs team traveled from South Eleuthera to Marsh Harbour, Abaco to represent the Cape Eleuthera Institute. The team presented on various research topics currently conducted at the Institute. From mangrove restoration to deep water sharks, here is list of ASAC attendees representing CEI:
Stephen B Cone Jr, an outstanding 2013 summer flats intern, gave a talk titled “The mangrove action plan: an adaptive outreach and ecosystem rehabilitation initiative.”
Dr Owen OʼShea, research associate for CEI’s shark research and conservation program, gave a fantastic talk on deep water elasmobranch surveys. His deep sea videos caused much excitement!
Dr Jocelyn Curtis-Quick encouraged all to eat lionfish and talked about her study on the interactions between the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus, and Invasive Lionﬁsh, Pterois volitans.
Kristal Ambrose gave a passionate talk on the spatial and temporal patterns in the abundance and diversity of plastic marine debris on beaches in South Eleuthera.
Megean Gary presented on her turtle research examining the spatial dynamics of immature Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) within a foraging ground on the Atlantic coast of Eleuthera.
Dr. Owen O’Shea, research associate for the Shark Program at CEI, recently had research published looking at the negative effects of weather balloons, after thousands were recorded from community beach cleanups.
Check out this press release describing the research!
Last month,CEI Research Associate Kristal Ambrose had the opportunity to work with the “mini scientists” at the Early Learning Center (ELC) on campus, giving a presentation on plastic pollution. Kristal said, “To my surprise, these guys knew a lot about the issue, and even taught me a thing or two!”They acted out the North Pacific Gyre current, sang and danced to a song about how plastics break down, went to the beach to collect plastic, and then made art from it. It was such a great experience for everyone involved!
Recently, twelve smiling faces from Mrs. Sweeting’s 6th grade class at Wemyss Bight Primary came to visit Cape Eleuthera Institute to supplement their pollution unit. The afternoon started off with a lively game to lighten the mood, followed by an engaging lesson on natural resources and pollution in the scenic “floating” gazebo. Students then explored some of the sustainable systems on campus including the mangrove wetland, CEI’s green buildings, the resource center, solar & wind power, the wetlab & aquaponic beds, as well as the farm. The adventure continued with fun activities on ocean pollution with CEI’s outdoor educator, Liz Slingsby, followed by a short clip from the movie “Bag it” on gyres and the North Pacific garbage patch.
Two weeks ago, several CEI team members went up to the Eleuthera Arts and Cultural Center in Tarpum Bay to participate in a beach plastic Christmas ornament workshop, hosted by artist Barbra Devries. The event was a success and inspired everyone to think creatively and view beac hplastic in a different light.
The goal of the workshop was to empower locals to utilize discarded resources found on a beach and use it to develop artwork for a profit. CEI team members were able to participate and create their own plastic Christmas ornaments, and everyone had a great time!
Fall is off to a fantastic start in Educational Programs! CEI jumped back into the academic year with two amazing weeks of programming. Along for the ride were our students from Round Square, a collaborative group of 17 young adults from Canada and Massachusetts, followed by Palm Beach Day Academy of Florida.
Round Square ambassadors spent time on Eleuthera before heading to the annual Round Square conference. Students focused on their “IDEALS of learning: Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service” while at CEI, and investigated the concept of what it means to live and travel well. Round Square students had the once in a lifetime opportunity of launching the Medusa with the Shark Research team, along with dissecting a lionfish, conducting shuttle box experiments, and surveying the local beaches for marine debris.
To emphasize the international element of the program, CEI organized and launched a Round Square-DCMS Plastics Seminar! The day began by pairing each Round Square student with a DCMS student, and quickly launched into round table discussions on plastics pollution and its impact on environment and our bodies. All DCMS and the Round Square students were insightful and reflective on plastics in daily life, and each left with recycled plastic jewelry to remind them to keep continue thinking about plastic’s role in our world. Continue reading →