As we come to the end of this crazy
year of 2020 we recognise there has been hardship, but are hopeful that
silver linings have been found and cherished. At FRIENDS, despite the
destruction and disruptions we have found silver linings. The
opportunity to build back better, help our community in new ways, create
exciting new programs, form partnerships through Zoom, and remain
connected with you, who continue to support FRIENDS, all help to bring
positivity and gratitude to the end of this year.
Because of your continued support
and belief in the work of FRIENDS we are excited about taking the first
steps towards rebuilding FRIENDS' new Learning Centre. We are grateful
for the initial support that is helping to meet our fundraising goals by
the end of the year. With your continued contributions, we will be able
to move to the next steps! As Abaconians come home and recovery and
rebuilding continue all over the islands it will be important to once
again have facilities, enabling FRIENDS to become a destination where
students are engaged in conservation and discovery of their
As the holiday season is upon us, I
wish you all a safe holiday and hopefully some time with family and
friends. My Mom just moved back home, her house is almost repaired from
hurricane damage, and both of my children are home. Time with my family,
feeling lucky to be able to be on this beautiful island, and sharing
the work at FRIENDS with so many wonderful people who support us are my
own personal silver linings. I am grateful and I wish you a holiday
season filled with silver linings of your own.
Double Your Donation!
We are grateful to have received an amazing grant from GlobalGiving to set a matching challenge. Every donation that we receive before December 31st, will be matched, up to $100,000! Will you help us match, meet, and raise what we need to make it to the next step in our journey to rebuild our Learning Centre?
Want to learn more about our plans? Feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to share!
Teaching remotely: Challenging, but never boring!
Implementing WASH and DRY, virtually!
You may remember us sharing information
about our new program, WASH & DRY (Water, Sanitation and Disaster
Recovery) with you a few months back. We were able to do a few lessons
in our virtual summer camp, but this month, we succeeded in
virtually implementing the entire six lesson program with our first
in-school classes! These were students of grades 1 and 2 from Crossing
Rocks Primary, Cherokee Primary and Moore's Island All Age School.
Despite the challenges of virtual learning, these classes were very
productive and interactive. We enjoyed being "back in the classroom"
with our students. Thank you to Mrs. Brenell Higgs and Ms. Denise Pinder
for their patience and cooperation in these classes!
Other Virtual Lessons offered
We are offering
interactive, informative virtual lessons for all Abaco schools! This
month we hosted several interactive coral reef presentations for
students of Every Child Counts (left). Other options include mangroves,
blue holes, pine forests, conservation, and more.
Click the button below to see the full list of what we offer.
UNDP GEF SGP Grant Makes an Impact on Young Apprentices
are in the midst of implementing our grant from the UNDP GEF SGP and
are proud to say that we have already repaired our solar array and begun
our pilot sustainable livelihoods apprenticeship program. Check out the
video below for an update from two of our solar trainees, Stevano
Greene and Earelle Reckley. Earelle says "it's been an educational
experience". We are so impressed with the trainees progress and can't
wait to see where our sustainable livelihoods program goes from here!
FRIENDS Partners with IDEA Relief for Green Turtle Cay
FRIENDS recently received a grant
from UNDP Jamaica to support a Hurricane Dorian marine debris cleanup
program. This grant will focus on cleanup of the coasts and nearshore
waters of Green Turtle Cay, however we would like to see the project
replicated in other communities. Part of the project will support
community recovery by hiring short term workers and young apprentices
(recent high school graduates from Abaco). If you would like to apply
for the apprenticeship program, please click below to learn more.
International Education Week was this
month, and we used this time to reflect and celebrate our partners from
around the globe. We highlighted Amy Heemsoth from the Khaled bin Sultan
Living Oceans Foundation (LOF), our long-time partners in mangrove and
coral reef education. When asked the importance of international
education, Amy said: "As
an educator, I think it’s important to watch and listen. This is when
the magic of international education happens - when knowledge is
exchanged between people from different cultures.” We agree!
In return, the LOF highlighted Lianna Burrows, our Outreach Coordinator. In her interview, she says "Bringing
in an educator from another avenue outside of the students’ regular
realm of teachers has a huge impact on the way they learn".
We are so grateful for our
partners and for the knowledge that can be shared between communities
and cultures about our environment.
Top: Students with Miss Amy Heemsoth of the LOF during the Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (B.A.M.) program
Bottom: FRIENDS' Outreach Coordinator, Lianna Burrows.
Bahamians concerned over oil drilling
Over the past several months, Bahamian newspaper headlines have been covering exploratory offshore oil drilling set to begin at the end of 2020
by The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC). This drill ship is currently on
its way to The Bahamas to begin drilling an exploratory well. Many
Bahamians have voiced their concerns over the risks that come with oil drilling in our pristine waters. You can add your voice by signing the petition.
Creative Ways to Gift and Give
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!
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
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
more than ever is the time to protect our natural resources for the
future. Did you know that Nassau Grouper have been added to the
critically endangered species list? This means that, like pandas and
gorillas, they are at extremely high risk of extinction within three
generations or approximately 10 years. Let's do our part to respect the
closed season from December 1st-February 28th, when they are reproducing
for future generations.
on the Board of Friends of the Environment is a real privilege. FRIENDS
has been involved in so many amazing projects over the years and their
contribution to Environmental Awareness and Education is
huge. Abaconian young people are perhaps some of the most
environmentally aware Bahamians due to the Field Trips, presentations,
after school clubs and summer camps provided by FRIENDS. None of this
would be possible without your generous support for which we sincerely
been on Abaco continuously since Hurricane Dorian and
the COVID pandemic I am very aware of the incredible challenges that we
have locally with marine debris and habitat destruction and waste
management. We also have not had any real face to face education for
most of the school children in over a year.
of the Environment staff have risen to these challenges. They have been
involved in clean ups and environmental assessments. They have created
and implemented many on line education presentations for the school
children and even held a highly successful virtual summer camp. And now
we also have several paid interns working in fields such as solar energy
installation which may lead to future job opportunities.
All this whilst planning the rebuild of the Friends of the Environment Education Centre. We are not sitting still!
the assistance of generous donors none of this would be possible and so
at this Thanksgiving time of the year I would like to give a very big
THANK YOU to each of you and let you know how much you are appreciated.
During these difficult times we have often been humbled by the heart warming assistance and kindness of others.
We are grateful.
Joy Chaplin, Board Member
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!