Thursday, June 6, 2019

Friends of the Environment May E-News

Preserving the environment of Abaco, The Bahamas through education, conservation and research facilitation
Preserving the environment of Abaco, The Bahamas through education, conservation and research facilitation. 
Friends of the Environment E-Newsletter
Established in 1988
May 2019
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It's been another busy month at FRIENDS and the Kenyon Centre with local high school students building coral nurseries in the yard, the Kenyon Centre being filled with a wide variety of interesting scientists, and traveling to Cape Eleuthera for the Island School Symposium where we were inspired by their work and our shared visions of environmental sustainability for the future.

Despite all this excitement the moment that stands out the most was when I overheard a student's mother talking about the impact FRIENDS is having on her son.  Among other things he shared with his family the importance of protecting coral... but when she said "I never knew that sand on our beaches came from parrot fish poop!" I jumped from behind my desk to see who this was. When parents are excited to be learning from their children who share what they learn from FRIENDS' environmental educational programs... that's what it's all about!  Thank you to all of you who support the great work that is being done through FRIENDS, these impacts happen because of you!  Please share in the pride we feel at the differences we are making through teaching the next generation. 


Cha Boyce
Executive Director 
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.

Crawfish Season is closed (April 1st-July 31st) 
Please note, use of compressors for fishing is also prohibited during this time.

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

Photo credit (left): Tim Higgs, (right): Abaco Scientist

Program Update 

Project Coral
Last month, we completed construction of our coral nursery trees with the help of students from Long Bay School. All five of our nursery trees were then installed at Fowl Cay Reef with assistance from Hayley-Jo Carr of the Reef Rescue Network and Dive Guana. The nurseries were populated with coral fragments from other reefs, with boat assistance from Froggies Out Island Adventures. These nurseries will be maintained through volunteer efforts and the coral fragments, once grown, will help with restoration efforts at reefs along the Sea of Abaco. 

Our education team followed through with the installation of our coral tree nurseries at Fowl Cay Reef. Left: Lyndeisha securing the air in the buoy at the top of the tree. Right: Lianna adding one of the staghorn coral fragments to a tree. 

Summer Camp: Full Enrollment!
All of our Marsh Harbour camps are fully enrolled, except for Nature Detectives, our 13-16 year old summer camp from July 22nd-26th. We have also hired two young Bahamian interns to help implement the camps. We are looking forward to a summer full of adventure and learning!

Project Coral:
We are excited to share our new video!

"The Coral Reefs of Abaco: Our Future"

The Coral Reefs of Abaco: Our Future
The Coral Reefs of Abaco: Our Future
Produced by Friends of the Environment and Conch Salad Films, along with Executive Producers at the BEP Foundation, this video highlights the value of coral reefs in Abaco while raising awareness about how they function, the threats they face, and how research is addressing those threats. Fun and educational, "The Coral Reefs of Abaco" has a unique Bahamian flare! We hope you will take a moment to watch and learn how you, the viewer, can help coral reefs through simple actions in your daily life. This video was developed as part of "Project Coral", which was sponsored by the BEP Foundation.
If you would like to host a showing of The Coral Reefs of Abaco at your classroom or community group, please contact our education team . 
Follow our Facebook and Instagram pages for tips on how you can change your routine in simple ways to help coral reefs! Thanks to BEP Foundation for their support of Project Coral.
Kenyon Centre Update:

Ducky: Take a look at me now!
Volunteer John Calogero visited the Kenyon Centre last month to lend his expertise and artistry to continuing Ducky's re-articulation. He did an amazing job creating a support frame for the rib cage and re-articulating Ducky's pectoral fins. We are so thankful for his contribution! We have a few more small projects before Ducky is complete. Stay tuned...and please come by to check it out. 

Ducky with rib cage frame

John and Ducky
Ducky's pectoral fin
Upcoming Events:

Abaco Wide Beach Clean Up
"Save a sea turtle - clean the beach!"

Calling all communities across Abaco! Let's clean up our sea turtle nesting beaches to help the mother turtles nest and help the hatchlings survive!  Join the effort and host a beach cleanup in your area on June 8th.

June 8th Cleanups are already planned for:
North Beach, Hope Town, 9am (hosted by St James Youth Group)
Turtle Hill Beach, Hope Town, 9am (hosted by On Da Beach Bar & Grill)
Guana Cay (hosted by Baker's Bay Golf and Ocean Club)
Rolling Harbour Beach (hosted by Delphi Club)
Winding Bay Beach (hosted by The Abaco Club)

If you would like to join the effort and have your cleanup promoted on our event pages, please let us know! We can also send you a template flyer to help promote your cleanup.

Rockin' with FRIENDS
June 20th, 6:00pm 
Celebrate the summer solstice with a selection of fun and talented local musicians in a great open air venue at Hope Town Inn and Marina. The event will be raising funds to support environmental summer camp in several Abaco communities. Raffle tickets will be available!
Get more details on our Facebook event page!  
Rockin with FRIENDS 2018

Community News

Ministry of Environment Visit to Abaco
Ministry of Environment and Housing (MOEH) is working on getting us all prepared for the 2020 nationwide ban on single use plastics. Environmental Officers Kendria Ferguson and Lyndee Bowe visited Abaco from May 23rd - 25th to host a town meeting and business consultations to raise awareness on the upcoming ban on select single use plastics. Issues addressed included: the "4bidden" plastic items which include point of sale plastic bags, plastic utensils, plastic straws and styrofoam containers, alternatives for these items, and the positive impact this ban will have on the environment and waste management in the country. To conclude their visit, the MOEH officers partnered with Maxwell's Supermarket to distribute over 500 free reusable bags. This initiative is very exciting; upon implementation, The Bahamas will join more than 60 countries worldwide that have already enforced or are in the process of formulating bans on selected plastic and Styrofoam products.

Environmental Officer, Kendria Ferguson, handing out reusable bags at Maxwell's Supermarket. Photo Credit: Ministry of Environment and Housing

Fishing for Plastic Derby
Worldwide, plastic pollution is a major concern. Seasoned sailors Angela Burns and Bill Atherholt coordinated their first Fishing for Plastic Derby here in Abaco to bring awareness to the issue, highlighting plastic as an "invasive species". The turn-out at the weigh-in on May 25th at The Jib Room exceeded expectations with a total of 10 teams and 80 persons made up of local businesses (Abaco Print Shop, BTC & Bahamas Compostables), community members and visiting cruisers. All together, 4,194 pounds of plastic debris were collected from across the island's coastlines, leaving everyone with a sense of pride and accomplishment in aiding the battle against plastic pollution.

Winning Teams:
Yellowtail (Abaco Print Shop) - 1,177lbs
Meet it Dirty, Leave it Clean - 747lbs
Pelican - 567lbs
We are so happy to have been a part of this exciting initiative and look forward to see what all they have in store for Abaco. Fishing for Plastic hopes to expand their reaches by introducing a program where persons are paid for collecting plastic waste.

Fishing for plastic Derby winners and the FRIENDS team. 
Photo credit: Fishing for Plastic. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for more photos.
Abaco's Environment in Film:
What's so great about 

An oldie, but goodie! This video was narrated 8 years ago by 14 year old Abaco student, James Boyce, who explains why turtles are so amazing and worth preserving while telling the story of turtles and how Bahamians responded to the 2009 ban on turtle harvesting. James won a student contest as part of one of FRIENDS' programs and his prize was to make a short film on the topic of his choice in partnership with Conch Salad TV. 

What's so Great about Turtles?
What's so Great about Turtles?

Friends of the Environment, PO Box AB 20755, Marsh Harbour, Abaco, Bahamas