Sunday, March 4, 2018

Friends of the Environment E-Newsletter

  FRIENDS 30yr logo
Celebrating 30 years of conservation and environmental education!
Friends of the Environment E-Newsletter
Established in 1988
February 2018
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This year FRIENDS celebrates 30 years of environmental education and conservation. The year started off with ASAC and learning about the amazing research happening in Abaco, Plymouth University filling the Kenyon Centre, and rebooking for the next two years, and sighting a rare sawfish on a field trip to Cross Harbour. Come by and see the re-articulation of a false killer whale take shape on the lab porch of the Kenyon Centre, and visit the only Natural History Museum in The Bahamas at the entrance of the offices. In the midst of all this excitement school visits, field trips and after school clubs continue, not to mention two successful Reef Ball fundraising events. All of this takes a lot of team work! To everyone on this team: all the donors, volunteers, board members, and staff of FRIENDS a great big Thank You. I am proud to be a part of this team that is educating and creating awareness that brings environmental conservation to Abaco. 

Cha Boyce
Executive Director
Friends of the Environment

Education Update 

School field trips are back!

Schools are back in full swing for the semester, which means so are our field trips! This month, we hosted field trips with Hope Town School and Angel's Academy. We took both schools out in the mangrove ecosystem where students were able to have a hands-on experience walking through the mangroves. At the end of the field trips, we incorporated a tour of the new Natural History Museum at the FRIENDS office. We are excited to host more field trips for schools around Abaco in the upcoming month! 

Hope Town School poses in front of the FRIENDS office

Angel's Academy learning about the Natural History Museum from Ms. Kelly Delancy of AMMC.
Angel's Academy enjoying a nice picnic lunch after trekking through the mangroves!
Kenyon Centre Update

Whale Project Begins

stranded false killer whale, and bones

This month, FRIENDS started the process of re-articulating the recovered bones of a false killer whale which stranded dead on Duck Cay, off of Cherokee Sound, back in February 2017. Our partners from the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation (BMMRO) responded to the stranding, collected data on the whale and buried the bones for future research. The bones were recovered in December 2017, cleaned of leftover tissue, and placed in converted fish traps in a sheltered mangrove creek to further help the cleaning process. Finally, the bones were transported to FRIENDS where we created a 10% hydrogen peroxide solution to dip the bones in, then they were laid in the sun for bleaching. We welcomed Albert Shepard (former curator of The Whale Museum in Friday Harbour, WA) who is sharing his knowledge of past re-articulation projects. The skeleton will be displayed on the porch of the Frank Kenyon Research Centre. 

false killer whale rearticulation
We've had an amazing group of volunteers from the beginning of this project, and we couldn't have gotten this far without them! Thank you to all who have taken their time to help with this project in any way that they can. In addition to volunteers, we've also hosted two school groups so far. They were given a presentation on false killer whales and marine mammals, and were able to see the progress of the skeleton at the centre. We have ALL learned so much during this project and are grateful for this opportunity to contribute to science! 

Long Bay School and false killer whale
Upper high school students from Long Bay School showed great interest in the project. Agape Christian School 5th grade students also visited the centre to learn about false killer whales.

Kenyon Centre Vision: 
Support the work of FRIENDS by facilitating scientific research and outreach, and promoting sustainable development in Abaco, Bahamas.


This month, FRIENDS celebrated its 30th anniversary at the Reef Ball, first in Hope Town on Feb. 10th and again in Marsh Harbour on Feb. 24th. A delicious dinner, silent and live auction, and live music by Uppercut 242 from Grand Bahama made both of these events unforgettable! Thank you to everyone who showed us support for these events - whether it was contributing to our auction or dancing the night away with us. Your support at these events is what helps make our education program possible and gives us encouragement. These events could not have been made possible without our hosts: The Abaco Inn & The Jib Room, the Board of FRIENDS, and dedicated Reef Ball volunteers. 


Abaco's Environment in Photos:
A lesson and a success story

This Abaco Boa was sighted on Elbow Cay, trapped in some plastic netting that had been used to wrap a fern onto a tree trunk. Thanks to some kindly 
neighbors, the snake was safely freed! Please keep animals in mind when gardening and use only materials that will biodegrade.
Photos courtesy of Mary McHenry