Saturday, July 4, 2020

Friends of the Environment E-Newsletter

Preserving the environment of Abaco, The Bahamas through education, conservation and research facilitation. 
Friends of the Environment E-Newsletter
Established in 1988
June 2020
Save the Date

...going VIRTUAL! 

Nature Detectives (ages 12-16): July 13th-17th, 11:00am-12:30pm.

Eco-Scouts (ages 7-11): July 20th-24th, 10:00am-11:00am.

Sea Beans (ages 3-6):
July 27th-29th, 10:00am-10:45am.
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Dear Readers,

I am writing this from The Kenyon Centre! We have turned the lab into a temporary office space, and it feels good to be back!  As we look around it reminds us of the enormous task of rebuilding that is ahead of us, but also how far we have come in the past ten months. Despite all the work that needs to be done, we are functioning and moving ahead with programs and plans.  

As we move into summer we have been busy converting to virtual summer camp. The education team has been creative with planning fun activities for kids to do at home. It's not how we wanted to have summer camp, but we're making it happen. What a crazy time of discovering ways to overcome challenges!

Thank you to all those who joined our ZOOM meeting. I was so happy to see all of your familiar faces! I look forward to the time when we can all be together celebrating successes that we have all worked together to make happen. 

Thank you for your continued encouragement and support!
Enjoy summer and stay safe.

Cha Boyce
Executive Director 
Education Update

Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (B.A.M.) Partnership
FRIENDS is grateful to have a long-standing partnership with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation for the B.A.M. program. Usually, this program is hosted a few times a year, and educates students grades 10-12 at two major high schools in Abaco about the importance of mangroves. B.A.M. has been tailored to the Bahamas Science Curriculum, helping students to meet critical benchmarks while giving them real world experience through field research and mangrove restoration. 
B.A.M. May 2019 with students from Patrick J. Bethel High

Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Dorian, our B.A.M. program hasn't been able to happen in Fall 2019 or Spring 2020. Living Oceans Director of Education, Amy Heemsoth shared her sincerity with us in a blog she wrote about the program and Abaco's great loss. We are touched by her passion for our students here in Abaco. Check it out here.
We are in discussions for hopefully resuming this program
in Fall 2020. Stay tuned! 

Summer Camp 2020 - Now Virtual
After extremely careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to postpone this years regular summer camp until further notice. We believe that some regulations that are being required are simply impossible for us to meet during summer camp. This past year has been one of the most challenging that Abaconians have faced, from Hurricane Dorian to now COVID-19, especially for the kids. We can't express how much we were looking forward to having this summer with them, but for both their safety and ours, we feel this is the responsible decision. 

In lieu of our regular camp season, we are currently in the process of creating a virtual summer camp alternative.
  We are still accepting registration for virtual camp as material packets will be limited. Register here!


Thank you: FRIENDS Member Update!
We'd like to thank everyone who attended our ZOOM member's meeting on Tuesday, June 23rd. It was overwhelming to see so many familiar, faithful faces who have supported and encouraged us for years. We wouldn't be FRIENDS without you!
Reminder: Crawfish & Stone Crab seasons are currently CLOSED

Crawfish season is closed through August 1st. Stone Crab season is closed through October 15th. Let's support a sustainable fishery and respect the closed seasons!
In the meantime, why not try lion fish?
Kenyon Centre Update 

Thank you, Samaritan's Purse!
As many of you might know, Samaritan's Purse have been our incredible tenants at the Kenyon Centre since October 2019. We can't thank them enough for all their hard work not just on our property, but throughout Abaco. They have recently relocated their base from the Kenyon Centre to the gym at Agape 
Christian School. 

We thank them for keeping the Kenyon Centre in such good condition in our absence, and are excited to be back to begin future planning for our programs. We and many other Abaconians don't know where we would be without them. 

Bahamas National History Conference 
Webinar Series

The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) has announced their plans to host this years Bahamas National History Conference (BNHC) as a virtual webinar series. This virtual webinar will take place weekly on Wednesday's. The series will continue into August. 

If you are interested, please register here.
For more information, visit
National News: Bahamas Plastic Ban 2020
As of July 1st 2020, The Bahamas has banned single-use plastic bags, styrofoam containers and cups, plastic utensils and plastic straws within the country. The Ministry of Environment and Housing spearheaded this ban being implemented. 
Learn more here.
Let's #RespecttheBan as we move towards a plastic-free Bahamas! 

Partnership with Eco-Blue & Dive Guana for Mermaid Reef Cleanup
Back in January 2020, you may remember us sharing our partnership with Eco-Blue Projects and Dive Guana for the cleanup of Mermaid Reef. Mermaid Reef is one of the most frequently visited reefs around Abaco, and sadly suffered a lot of damage during Hurricane Dorian, mainly caused by debris. This video highlights the project and describes the conditions that inspired Eco-Blue Projects to seek us out for this partnership.

Restoring Mermaid Coral Reef, Bahamas, After Hurricane Dorian
While land-based cleanup has made some big strides (with more to go), we will likely be dealing with marine debris for a while into the future. You can help by reporting large debris and cleaning up any small debris you find when you are out on the water!
Marine Debris Assessment
We are investigating priority areas for debris cleanup in each community. Help us out by sharing your community's concerns!

Click here to complete survey and help identify marine debris locations in The Sea of Abaco
Shout Out to Local Solar Companies:

Please email us with contact information and we can pass it on to those interested in going solar in Abaco.

Environmental Highlight:
Shearwater Die-off around The Bahamas

Recently, we have been receiving a lot of reports of injured or dead seabirds appearing along our coastlines in Abaco. Some of our staff have spotted this themselves on beach walks. 

This seems to be a "recurrent phenomenon", as explained by Rolling Harbour Abaco, and seems to happen frequently in the month of June. The species that you might see include Audubon's, Cory's, or Manx Shearwaters.

You might see a shearwater exhausted on the beach like pictured above, floating in the water, injured or maybe even dead on the shoreline. 
Photo credit to Rolling Harbour Abaco.

Read more on the most recent phenomenon here
Friends of the Environment, PO Box AB 20755, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas