Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Friends of the Environment July E-News

Preserving the environment of Abaco, The Bahamas through education, conservation and research facilitation.

Established in 1988
July 2019
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FRIENDS' summer camps truly make a difference for the future of Abaco. I am incredibly grateful and want to express a huge thank you to all of you who make FRIENDS' environmental education programs possible.   Starting as young as 3 years old, "Sea Bean" campers learn about ecosystems through fun, crafts and songs. The 16 year old "Nature Detectives" went to Fowl Cay Reef for the first time, learning the importance of coral conservation. Biodiversity of our islands is incorporated into all the lessons, and becoming "plastic warriors" with special guests from Bahamas Plastic Movement instilled pride for the Bahamas wide 2020 plastic ban. Field trips are on the top of the list of favorite activities and there's nothing like getting out there to see it all for themselves. With the continued help of great partnerships, incredible donors and an amazing staff we are dedicated to continuing to make a difference and helping to instill pride for this amazing little part of the world we all care so much about.


Cha Boyce
Executive Director 

Program Update 

Sandy Point Summer Camp
We concluded our Marsh Harbour camps and traveled south this week to host a three day camp for ages 8-12 in Sandy Point! Even though our education centre is located in Marsh Harbour we want to make sure that students outside of Central Abaco benefit from our fun and educational summer programming! We had an excellent group of 16 students who learned about the mangrove, blue hole, and sandy beach ecosystems close to where they live. 
Campers are all smiles underwater enjoying "beach day" at 
Sandy Point camp!

B.A.M. Makes A Difference for Local Students
This year marks the 5th anniversary of our educational partnership with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation and the Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (B.A.M) program. Students from two local high schools participate in the multi-phase program that leads them through mangrove ecosystem exploration and scientific investigations.

BAM 5 Year Anniversary Logo
Mind Your Meals!
You can be a sustainable consumer by ensuring that you only catch, purchase, and eat seafood that is in season and up to measure. Please support the closed seasons by choosing an alternative fishery (or protein source) during this time.

Stone Crab Season is CLOSED (June 1st - October 15th) 

Crawfish Season is now open: 
August 1st-March 31st  
Minimum size limit is 3.25 inches carapace length or 5.5 inches tail length. Possession of egg-bearing females is prohibited, as is removing the eggs. Visitors are limited to 10 crawfish per vessel at any time. Visitors in a foreign-owned boat must also obtain a fishing permit (can be obtained at same time as Cruising Permit). SCUBA and spearguns are prohibited. Visitors may not use air compressors (hookahs) for fishing; residents must obtain a permit.

Upcoming Events:

North Abaco Camp: SC Bootle High, Cooper's Town
August 6th (10am-3pm), August 7th (9am-3pm), and August 8th (9am-12pm). Students ages 8-12 are invited to join us! Parents: registration begins at 9:45am on Tuesday August 6th. 

Science Teacher Workshop
FRIENDS received a grant from the Lyford Cay Foundation to design a high school teachers resource guide on Bahamian ecosystems. On Thursday August 29th, we are hosting a workshop in Marsh Harbour for science teachers. We will be reviewing the material and designing classroom activities to complement the content. Please contact us if you would like to participate!

Seeking Volunteer Artists for an Education Project

Seeking volunteer artists who would be interested in contributing small drawings and diagrams to a teachers guide on Bahamian ecosystems. You will receive credit for your artwork and have the satisfaction of being involved in a worthy project that reaches high schools all across the country! No piece of artwork needs to be more than 8.5x11 inches printed size. For more information, please email us!
Abaco Science Alliance Conference:
Call for Abstracts

We invite all researchers studying in The Bahamas to particiate in our upcoming conference (January 7-9, 2020). Researchers are invited to submit talks and posters on research findings in natural history and environmental science of Abaco and The Bahamas. Abstracts will be accepted based on their technical merit and contribution to our knowledge of species, populations, communities, ecological processes, management practices, conservation initiatives, education models or policy issues. Abstracts are due by October 25th, 2019. 
More details and submission forms available on our website, or contact us with questions.
Community News

Fish Rules App
The app is especially convenient if you are traveling between Florida and The Bahamas as it will notify you when you reach Bahamian waters. Keep all the fishery regulations at your finger tips! There is also a logbook feature so you can keep records of your catch.

BNT Celebrates 60 years!
The Bahamas National Trust made history by being one of very few non-governmental organizations to manage national parks around the world. Now they've shown that they can go the distance by celebrating their 60th anniversary! We congratulate them on all of their efforts to preserve our Bahamian natural resources. 

Sands bottle recycling to start in Abaco!
Sands is now accepting beer bottle returns at the old Cost Rite warehouse in Marsh Harbour! Those interested in participating can take their Sands brand beer bottles in a beer box to the warehouse on Tuesday afternoons from 2-5pm. Bottles must be clean and not broken. You will receive a receipt for $1.50 credit/box which can be redeemed in cash at Jimmy's liquor store. 

Abaco's Environment: Shark Sanctuary

Sharks are an extremely important group of animals in the oceans of The Bahamas and around the world. In 2011, The Bahamas became the second country in our region to become a shark sanctuary, taking action to protect shark populations. 
This means that sharks are protected in The Bahamas, and it is illegal to fish for, harass, or sell any sharks or their by-products. 

Sharks are apex predators, meaning they are at the top of our ocean food chains, maintaining a healthy balance of species in our oceans. They also clean up decaying fish and other animals. Economically, sharks bring in around $114 million per year to The Bahamas through our shark diving industry. 

Let's do our part to respect and protect these species! 

A nurse shark gliding by Manjack Cay. Photo credit: Samantha Regan
Friends of the Environment, PO Box AB 20755, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas