Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Friends of the Environment December E-News


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

During this holiday season I want share my appreciation for all of you. I am beyond grateful for all the support, encouragement and dedication from our donors, volunteers, students, parents, teachers, staff, Board members and partner organizations, including Global Giving for the generous $100,000 matching challenge to help with the rebuilding of the new Learning Centre. We needed our FRIENDS' team this past year and you were there, thank you! 

Although there have been challenges over this past year, there has also been a lot of growth and forward momentum. It is encouraging to look at where we are today; continuing our programs, developing new opportunities and now, as Abaco continues to rebuild, rebuilding the new Learning Centre at FRIENDS with completed plans in January to start off the new year. Through it all we have proven that team work is powerful, and we are a team that I am grateful to be a part of. I am very much looking forward to sharing the exciting future of FRIENDS with all of you. 

Thank you for being a part of our amazing FRIENDS family!
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday.

With much gratitude,

Cha Boyce
Executive Director

Happy Holidays
from all of
us at
Friends of the Environment!
2020: A look back
2020 was a year for the books for many of us. While we faced a lot of hardship, we also rejoiced in many shared accomplishments between our organization and the Abaco community.
Matching Campaign is on a roll!
We are so encouraged by your response to our matching campaign to launch the construction of a new Learning Centre which will serve the environmental education needs of Abaco. We are getting closer to our goal of $100,000 to match the grant from GlobalGiving! Would you consider joining the ranks of matching donors and helping us reach our goal by year's end? Choose your amount - it all counts! Please contact us if you would like to discuss naming opportunities in relation to your donation.
Learning Centre
Our architects and building consultants at Link Lab and Homebound have been hard at work taking all of our criteria into account to design the best facility for FRIENDS' environmental education programs. There are a few more tweaks to make. We are so excited to share the full plans with you in January!!
FRIENDS Outreach Influencing Environmental Education across The Bahamas
Reconnecting with Abaco teachers who relocated to Nassau

Many Abaco families relocated to other Bahamian islands after Hurricane Dorian, resulting in a number of our teachers being transferred. This month we had the pleasure of reconnecting with Farrah Cartwright, a former teacher from Agape Christian School. Ms. Cartwright is now teaching Grade 4 at Summit Academy in Nassau. We gave her class a lesson on Bahamian mangrove ecosystems, where they learned about the different species found in The Bahamas, their importance and more. Virtual learning has allowed us to do several lessons in Harbour Island and Nassau. It's always heartwarming to reconnect with our Abaco teachers and we hope to do more of this in the New Year!
100k Tree Planting Initiative Update
The progress of businesses and homeowners who are rebuilding in Abaco is encouraging! As part of FRIENDS' contribution to recovery efforts in Abaco we have partnered with The Sustainable Lifestyle and the Department of Agriculture in their 100k Tree Planting Initiative to distribute plants to assist with re-greening our communities. Trees that Feed Foundation, represented by Kenneth Banks and Mary McLaughlin, donated five hundred breadfruit trees to Abaco. Josefina Adderley-Curry, from the Department of Agriculture spearheaded the Abaco Breadfruit Initiative with a select group of farmers. We were excited to receive our first shipment from Sustainable Lifestyle and began by distributing coconut palms in the Hope Town community on October 7th. Thanks to the Trees that Feed Foundation, 299 breadfruit trees were distributed among members of the Abaco Breadfruit Initiative as well. Kiwanis Club of Central Abaco was provided with an assortment of over 40 native, edible and medicinal plants that were planted at Central Abaco Primary School on November 28th and Patrick J. Bethel High School on December 5th. We have an assortment of other fruit trees and ornamental plants remaining to distribute throughout Abaco.

Contact us if you'd like to coordinate on a project in your community!
Hurricane Recovery Progress at FRIENDS' Campus
FRIENDS' campus has seen a lot of progress these past months. Our solar system has been fully restored thanks to UNDP GEF SGP, Engineered Electric Services and our 3 apprentices who have been training with them. Recently, we had the opportunity to have a walk through of the system led by our apprentices where they explained the new and improved features of the system. We are very grateful to be "off the grid" once again!
In addition, we are renting an office space to Mercy Corp at the Frank Kenyon Centre. This allows them to have a safe space to carry out the good work that they are doing for our Abaco communities. Their current focus is helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reopen their doors following Hurricane Dorian and increase their sales.
Sustainable Livelihoods Apprenticeship
Green Turtle Cay Marine Debris Program
FRIENDS is partnering with IDEA Relief and the UNDP GEF SGP for a Marine Debris removal project along the coast and nearshore waters of Green Turtle Cay. FRIENDS is assisting with program awareness and recruiting applicants for the apprenticeship program. Successful applicants will get to be part of data collection, learn about the impacts of marine debris and how removing it can limit future damage. They will gain hands-on knowledge on disaster response, solid waste management and safety. This is a one month project running through December and January. FRIENDS is happy to be part of this project and looks forward to offering more sustainable job training for young Abaconians in the near future. Learn more.
Sustainable Saturday with Hope Town Zero Waste, Driftwood Farms & Air2O in Hope Town
Hope Town Zero Waste organized a "Sustainable Saturday" in Hope Town this month with FRIENDS, Driftwood Farms and Air2O Bahamas. Items including reusable ziplock bags, take-out cutlery packs, reusable bags and water bottles, fresh produce, eggs and more were on sale for community members, just in time for Christmas! This event highlighted the importance of sustainability in an island community and offered alternatives to everyday plastic products.
A reminder this Giving Season

Would you like to treat someone you haven't seen in a while, or perhaps buy some Christmas presents? Here a few options for meaningful holiday gifting that benefit the recipient and Friends of the Environment!

Don't Send Me a Card!
Save paper and help the planet while supporting FRIENDS' programs! Use the money you would have spent on traditional cards and postage to purchase one of our unique e-cards. Available for Birthdays, Christmas, and other special events! Choose from the crystal caves of Abaco, native flora and fauna and more...
Choose your e-card here, with options to send as a business or an individual!

Check Out Our New Redbubble Store
Redbubble is an online platform where you can purchase products with FRIENDS' logo on it. Choose from our classic logo or a mermaid design! Mugs, socks, notebooks, phone cases
and more! Check it out here.

Amazon Smile
Every time you shop on Amazon a portion of your purchase could go to FRIENDS! It's as easy as clicking here and selecting FRIENDS as your charity. Whenever you shop, remember to go to smile.amazon.com.
News in The Bahamas...
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis recently stated that he is "totally against" oil drilling in our waters, however the drillship "Stena Ice Max" is now anchored about 60 miles off of Freeport, Grand Bahama. The Bahamas National Trust responded to Minnis' statement, stating that their hope is that Dr. Minnis still has a chance to renegotiate the agreement with Bahamas Petroleum. Our Islands Our Future continues to seek public support for a petition against oil drilling, if you haven't signed yet you can add your voice to over 73,000 others who have stood up against oil drilling.

Local and National NGOs and community stakeholders expressed their concern over the insufficient environmental impact assessment and planning for the proposed "South Abaco: Hotel, Marina and Residences" project which is speculating for development of a 100-room 6-star hotel, 75 residential lots, an 18-hole golf course, a 136-slip mega-yacht marina, a marina village with retail stores, and a water park in ecologically, culturally, and historically significant plots at Lantern Head and Southwest Point in South Abaco. The nation's second largest fresh water lens, historical landmarks, bonefish, and birds such as Abaco parrots, white crowned pigeons, and the endangered Kirtland's warbler are at risk, amongst other important resources.

Last week, Parliament unanimously passed a new 2020 Fisheries Bill, which will replace The Bahamas' existing Fisheries Act (1977), tightening policies for enforcement and management of Bahamian marine resources including management plans for commercial fishery resources, improved licensing procedures for commercial and sports-fishers and their vessels, and improved stakeholder consultation. In his address to Parliament, Minister Pintard (Agriculture and Marine Resources) expressed a plan to continue weaning off commercial exports of conch until 2022 when a full ban on commercial exports will be enacted.
Don't Forget...
Nassau Grouper season is still closed through February 28th. Please choose another protein for your holiday boil or stew! Choosing to eat sustainably is something that we can all do to make a positive impact on our environment and communities.
Nassau Grouper student poster
1% percent for the Planet
1% Giving for 100% Impact
Learn more about how 1% for the Planet and businesses like Plaine Products help groups like FRIENDS make the world a better place!

Thank you to everyone who has read, shared, supported, and donated to help make this work possible.
Friends of the Environment | PO Box AB 20755, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas