Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Friends of the Environment E-Newsletter

Happy Holidays!
Established in 1988
December 2019
Christmas hummingbird. Photo by Charmaine Albury
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Palm Beach Reef Ball
Wishing our FRIENDS 
family a Happy Holiday and a New Year filled with hope and happiness.  

How do we look back at 2019?  Let's first remember, with pride, all of the Abaco children that were able to participate in our programs, learning about their environment and the importance of conserving our natural resources. Let's remember the scientists that stay at the Kenyon Centre and their important research that helps protect Abaco's environment. Let's remember the partner organizations that lend support and encouragement. Let's remember all those who support FRIENDS so that our work can continue.  As much as we would like to forget, we cannot look back at 2019 without remembering the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. We've had to weave our way these past few months. As we identify our new normal, I am grateful for our dedicated staff and the full support of our Board of Directors. Looking forward, there is a whole lot of work to be done around conservation and environmental protection here in Abaco. On top of that, we have the big project of rebuilding our facility. We are planning a Reef Ball in March, in Palm Beach... Please come!  Through these hard times we also recognize that we have much to be grateful for. Your support has been amazing and is what keeps us going. Together, with our people behind us, we know that we can come back even stronger. Thank you for reaching out with your concerns and for your continued support, and thank you for being "our people"!  

With gratitude and best wishes,

Cha Boyce
Executive Director
December 1st-February 28th

Respect the closed season for this critically endangered species! During the closed season Nassau Grouper are mating and spawning for future generations. Practice sustainability and awareness by choosing an alternative catch during this period. Please support fishermen and restaurants who follow the closed season. 
Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), solar micro-grids and 60 Minutes

FRIENDS was in discussion with RMI this past summer learning about solar projects they have been working on in The Bahamas and researching the possibilities of bringing sustainable energy to Abaco. Since the destruction of the power grid, and the recognition of the need for a change in Abaco's power distribution, RMI is now working on behalf of the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Works and Bahamas Power and Light to advance solar micro-grids for critical facilities in Marsh Harbour. They're also working with government and utility stakeholders to provide a battery pilot project for Elbow Cay for power stability and increased resilience.

(Left) Chris Burgess of RMI discusses logistics of solar micro grids with Bill Whitaker from 60 minutes. (Right) Bill Whitaker gets an outlook from our Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Minnis, on sustainable power for the future of 
The Bahamas. 

60 Minutes, television program broadcast on the CBS network, recently joined RMI's team and The Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Minnis, in Abaco to investigate the possibility of a more resilient and renewable power grid for the future.  Look for the program to air in January or February of 2020. 
FRIENDS has been happy to help with local knowledge and logistical planning for RMI's endeavors.

FRIENDS' Executive Director Cha Boyce with Bill Whitaker and Rome Hartman of 60 minutes after a day of filming in Abaco.

RMI has worked in many areas throughout the Caribbean

FRIENDS' Partnership with "Abaco 
Sunny Waters"

"Abaco Sunny Waters" is an initiative created to raise awareness on and to transform our fresh water systems in Abaco after the impacts of Hurricane Dorian. This is a solarization project in collaboration with The Water and Sewage Corporation of The Bahamas (WSC), UNICEF, Water Mission, The Goodness Tour, Friends of the Environment and Samaritan's Purse. This project will transform the old water systems in Abaco into a safer system that is more resilient to withstand the impacts of hurricanes for the future. 

In December, FRIENDS joined with these partners at the water pumping station in Marsh Harbour to launch this initiative with adults and children in the community. We were able to arrange over 70 students from North and South Abaco to attend this event. At the event, WSC discussed future plans to install water systems firstly in schools in Abaco, with the assistance of Samaritan's Purse. In the near future, FRIENDS will be partnering with Water Mission and WSC to launch a program called "WASH" in local schools. Our goal in WASH is to educate students on water quality, sustainability, learning how to monitor water quality and more. 

Attendees listen to James Albury's (M.P. of Central and South Abaco and the cays) welcome address at the event. 

The Goodness Tour tied into this event by adding creativity, literacy and beauty to the water tank system in Marsh Harbour. The Goodness Tour is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to bringing free music and art to places facing adversity around the world. Founders Benjamin Swatez and Luc Reynaud played a huge role in painting the water tank and working with Abaco kids in singing/dancing at this event, respectively. Inspired by cave diver Brian Kakuk and our fresh water system in Abaco's exquisite blue holes, this painted water tank will serve as a reminder of the beacon of hope for our new and improved water systems. 

The final product of the mural painting on the water tank in
Marsh Harbour, thanks to "The Goodness Tour". 
Photo credit: The Abaconian. 

Abaco students had the opportunity to contribute to the art on the water tank at the event.
FRIENDS is excited to work with Abaco schools in the near future to continue this program. Thank you to all of the partners that made this event possible, including principals and teachers in North and South Abaco. 

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