Tag Archive | environmental awareness

#Earthday: I have a Dream, that Eleuthera’s Going Green

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Group photo of Sustainable Fisheries and Center for Sustainable Development from Cape Eleuthera. Photo courtesy of Gacintha Gordon of One Eleuthera Foundation.

Sustainability Fisheries, and Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) gathered under one booth in honor of #Earthday in Governor’s Habrour, Eleuthera.

Children came flocking over to do some ‘science’ with our very own Mike Cortina by making biodiesel from CSD. High schoolers seem mainly interested in the Aquaponics system and how it works from Michael Bowleg, another portion of CSD.

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Last but not least, Sustainable Fisheries drew in the crowd with the live lionfish display, diagrams, and simple to follow fillet guide.

Other organizations that were there were One Eleuthera, BREEF, and Preston Aurbry High School representing Bahamas Plastic Movement just to name a few. They had a large interactive banner that people would place their hand print on and write one disposal plastic they will not use anymore (or at least try to if had the option).

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High School marching band.

The outreach was a huge success thanks to the community coming and working together. Many signed up for the CEI Newsletter, while others became intrigued on our YOU SLAY, WE PAY campaign.

Until next time!

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Lionfish mantra inspired by #Chikfila #eatmor’lionfish. Made by yours truly. 

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#ConservationAdventure So Much, Too Little Time

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Driving the boat for our quarterly patch reef surveys. These are conducted every three months on 16 patch reefs. Half are lionfish removal sites while the others are untouched. For more info, click here.

It has been a while since my last post.  Its interesting to me how busy I have become that the thought of writing up a blog, makes me weary inside. Yet, despite this, I am excited to write about the adventures I have had in the recent weeks.

Down Island Trip

So individuals from CEI call any trip going North ‘down island’ despite the institute being South (literally down on the map). I was curious as to why and found out something nifty. ‘Down’ refers to the direction the current runs. 🙂

A group of us took a shuttle to Lighthouse beach. I have never felt sand so soft before in all my life. It felt like a very fine exfoliant on my entire body. you know I scrubbed my body with that before taking a dunk in the sea. There’s this cliff that outlook ont he beach between 7-10m high and a calm inlet on the other side. There is an abandoned lighthouse on top of this place with three levels.

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The Glass Window Bridge with the hollowing Atlantic on the left and the calm Bahama Bank on the left.

After exploring that area for a bit, I felt comfortable that I could live there in that small place. All you really need is a place to sleep, cook and use the restroom. The hardest part would probably be the treck to and from Lighthouse since the roads are not the best and climbing the cliff.

Earthwatch:

The wonderful Dr. Alastir Harborne had his final trip down here for research on the patch reefs with the Earthwatch group. it was a wonderful experience and I hope to meet with him in the future. I even had a patch named after me and found a very rare species out in this area that he had said he hadn’t seen before: the Jackknife fish.

Island School:

The semester for the spring is 100 days of intense learning, physical, and mental activity for not only students from around the world but for adults as well. It teaches us to expand our point of view and engage with young researchers (not students) on a daily basis. If you know anyone who is interested in spending a semester abroad, check it out here.

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Lighthouse Beach:

Lighthouse Beach has been featured in many magazines as one of the top beaches in the world. The water was cool to the burning sun, and the sand like baby powder.

Triathlon:

The Gap Years trained for a triathlon this year that included a 1/2 mile swim, 13 mile bike ride and a 3 mile run. The winning time was about 1.5 hours while mine was 2.5 hours. It’s all good though because I got this epic medal as my reward.

The Gap year program is for any individual who is a recent high school graduate or college students taking a semester or so off from school. It is a wonderful opportunity with lots of experience including an internship. Check it out here.


So much has happened and yet my time here is still for another several months. Anything in particular you want to learn about the institute  or the programs I have mentioned above? Let me know in the comment section below.

#ReduceReuseRecycle: Initiative Begins at Home

Image courtesy of Nikki Elliot from DCMS.

Several weeks ago, the Deep Creek Middle School Early Act and Eco Club teamed up with Preston Albury High School‘s newly formed Eco-club to sort plastics 1, 2, and 5. This is the first initiative within South Eleuthera to implement a larger scale recycle center. The plastics will be shipped to Nassau, New Providence, then shipped internationally. The idea is to begin more of these stations throughout the island to increase awareness of plastic consumption, dangers, and practices.
Plastics can be separated into several categories. Each category can be found on the tag or at the bottom of the bottle. Here is an example:
It wasn’t the prettiest job sorting plastic bottles, food containers, and removing bottle caps from a few hundred bottles, but we made it fun with a competition between 3 groups to see who could sort the most! Who knew there were so many types of recycle numbers, what they can be used for, and the steps needed to separate. Such as taking the covers off, the plastic ring portion, and removing and paper labels.
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Image courtesy of Luanettee’ Colebrooke.

All plastics will be sent to Cans for Kids in Nassau and then sent to the States for recycling. Cans for Kids is a Bahamian non profit that recycles cans, and now plastics as well, to raise money for schools and youth organizations. This event was an effort to spruce up the recycle center at the South Eleuthera Emergency Partners, SEEP, in Tarpum Bay to implement a One Eleuthera grant funded recycle program in schools in South Eleuthera in the next few months.

Image courtesy of Nikki Elliot from DCMS.

We had 22 students from both schools and 9 adults from One Eleuthera, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Deep Creek Middle School, Rotaract Club of Eleuthera, and the Rotary Club of Eleuthera.

Leaders from Preston Albury High School, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Rotaract Club of Eleuthera, and Deep Creek Middle School come together and join the young scholars in their initiative to encourage environmental awareness within their community,

Special thanks to Tiffany Gray, Environmental Educator & Outreach Coordinator for the Cape Eleleuthera Institute for allowing me the chance to partake in such a fun activity.

Adventures at Cape Eleuthera

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Working hard after morning chores 🙂

For the past week, I have been on a whirlwind of an adventure here in Eleuthera. I have been given the opportunity along with another Bahamian, Alexio, to work at the Institute as a Research Assistant. It is not only he and I that arrived on the island. There were several interns that flew in as well from all over the world. Just by meeting them, I was given a small glimpse of the size and scope of the Cape Eleuthera Institute with its outreach and research.

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Taken from Cape Eleuthera website: http://www.ceibahamas.org/

The campus itself is much larger than I would expect. I had just come from Forfar Field Station in North Andros where I spent two weeks with student’s from University of Saint Francis and Luer’s High School for Doc’s last Bahamas Field Studies trip that he would be leading. The torch has now been handed to an alum that joined us on the trip, Dr. Leo Procise.

For the first few days, it was orientation. During this time we got to know each other, the several interns and the RAs. Our fearless leader, Alp, took us around the campus, handing the baton to other staff members depending on the area. When I say this place is large, I am not exaggerating. It has its own aquaponics area where they grow Tilapia which is hooked up in a cycle with the garden; a wet lab where they can house sharks, stingrays, lionfish, basically most marine animals for research; solar panels on several buildings; a wind turbine; a sustainability office; several small dorms; a middle school further in the community; a farm with some chickens, geese, goats, and pigs; an orchard; boathouse; and several other buildings.

Currently, the RAs and several others are taking a course called WFR (wolf-er): Wilderness First Response. *edit: definitive care* It is an American based course that teaches first response emergency scenarios and training for wilderness areas (ocean, mountains, desert, etc.) or areas further than 1+ hour from definitive care. The skills that we learn here have been tailored by the medic, Jai, for being on an island. So drowning, snorkeling, boat incidents, construction incidents, etc. The way that Jai teaches this course is a fine balance between scholastic reading, notes, and personal research, and simulated incidents. The incidents have varied from constipation to shallow water blackouts.

The instructor teaches us to the extremes of reality around here. Fire or chemical burns from the biodisel area, cuts from power tools, back injuries from falling from a high place or not lifting properly from the legs, choking while eating, car accidents due to drunk driving, etc. Everything extreme he can think of because he knows in his mind that if we fall short of extreme fixer uppers, then he can depend on us to come to the call at any instant.

During each incident I have become more aware of how important keeping myself safe and uninjured is. In general society, you are taught that when someone needs help, you go and help them. In WFR, if someone is injured, needs help, unconscious, etc. YOU are number one. Your safety comes first above all else. I cannot help anyone if I become a victim as well by rushing in without assessing the situation, environment, or resources available to help this person. Do I have gloves? Am I wearing closed toed shoes? Are my legs protected from possible blood/fluids? These simple questions for yourself before interacting with the victim can save oneself a lot of trouble.

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It has been over a week and I am truly enjoying it so far. They are long days but its fun. I’m tired at the end of the day but if there is a get together with the other interns or colleagues, I manage the strength to go and hang out for a bit for relaxation.

The next several months are going to be epic.


If you would like more information on Cape Eleuthera Institute, you can check out their website.

Student Conference for Conservation Science, NEW YORK (SCCSNY) 2014

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Such an honour to be here at this event with my friends and fellow conservation colleagues. #SCCSNY2014

This past week I have had the privilege to attend a science conference at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. I was given this opportunity by a fellow scientist, Tami Lapilusa. We both met each other formally at another conference this past year in The Bahamas: the 2nd Annual Natural History of The Bahamas Conference held in Nassau, New Providence. Since then, we have kept in contact.

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What LaPilusa posted. Thank you so much for this!

I found out about this conference for high school and college students, graduates, recent graduates (in the past 4 years), PhD canidates and PhDs from Lapilusa on her Facebook. If it wasn’t for that one moment, I would not have known about this. She is a long time ‘commuter’ between the United States and The Bahamas as most become once they discover its natural beauty. She has worked at Forfar Field Station and knows Doc and Dr. Joe very well. At the Natural History of the Bahamas Conference, she presented on her findings on the genetics on the Bahamian Land Crab. For SCCSNY, she presented a poster during SCCSNY on her research for the land crab and she had her own mentor table.

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I was tempted to join her but realized…I shared a hotel with her 🙂 So no need to sign up for lunch if we stayed and slept in the same building. Can anyone say sleep over?

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Left to Right: LaVana Colebrooke, Luanettee’ Colebrooke, Tami LaPilusa, Brittany Marie.

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Tami’s poster on the Bahamian Land Crab genetics. Left to Right: Luanettee’ Colebrooke, Tami LaPilusa, and Brittany Marie

There were so many excellent talks from all walks of life. What I loved the most? The overwhelming majority of diverse females that were there. Black, White, Asian, Caribbean, African, etc. so many walks of life from my gender that it was amazing. I was so honored to have met so many forward thinking women, many of whom who are PhD candidates. it is completely empowering for someone such as I. Not only am I black, but I have natural hair that has been deemed by society as not acceptable for the business world.

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Left to Right: Luanettee’ Colebrooke (Me), Dr. Kiki Jenkins, and LaVana Colebrooke (my younger sister)

This is what I have to say about that: Dr. Kiki Jenkins, Dr. Ayana Jenkins, and PhD candidates Rae Wynn-Grant and Alexandra Sutton. Look these powerful ladies up and see what work they have done and continue to do. Dr. Kiki has dreadlocks and the others have afro hair such as myself. Because of these ladies, I have a new vigour to continue in this conservation realm and not double think about my hair. The tag home message: don’t let the standards of society dictate who you are as a person. Show them with your hards work ethic. If they don’t want you because of your physical appearance, there is someone out there who would want you because of what you produce in your work.

I have always been told about how my hair looks for the business world, especially conservation. That in itself is another post that is in the making.

Back to the conference: It was a three day event from the 15th to the 17th of October with the first two days focusing mainly on presentations and networking purposes. The final day was left for morning and afternoon workshops which I attended both. Both very informative and personalized to the group that attended.

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Speaking with Dr. John Cigliano of Cedar Crest College, a FEMALE STUDENT ONLY college.

The main purpose of this conference, in my opinion, was to encourage more individuals to pursue conservation and network. The networking is huge for college students, graduates, recent graduates, and potential PhDs. This is because for many of us, we do not know what the next step in our career should be except school, school, school. We are unaware of the opportunities that are available and how to go about them. Little things such as liking your school and advisor to grant writing and funding opportunities.

I have met so many wonderful people. Thank you AMNH and LaPilusa for this opportunity. I would not have grown so much if it wasn’t for both of you.