The Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute Research Symposium was held last Saturday, November 29. As with previous years, The Island School students prepared scientific posters about their Applied Research Class projects, which they presented to Symposium guests. Some students also manned stations in the wet lab, showing guests how their experiments were run in real time.
Attendees then had the chance to tour the Center for Sustainable Development, and learn about the sustainable systems on campus, such as the wind turbine, the solar panels, and the biodiesel. After the tours, guests moved on to the boathouse, where students had set up games aimed at outreach and conservation.
Hands-on activities included demonstrations of the runoff effects caused by coastal development and illustrations of long-lining's indiscriminate harvest aimed at educating audiences about the dire need for conservation initiatives. Trivia games detailing the CEI aquaponics system discussed programs in place to cope with some of these issues. Other games included a broad-scale true/false game about ocean conservation, and a "Choose the Mature Conch" game, which delved into the incredibly regionally-relevant issue of conch overfishing and explained how to tell if a conch is mature (its lip thickness will be greater than 15mm!).
The event culminated with a keynote address from Imogen Zethoven, Director Global Shark Conservation, The Pew Charitable Trusts that discussed shark finning, one of the largest threats to shark populations globally. Zethoven described the steps that Pew has taken and is taking to conserve dwindling shark numbers in an inspirational talk that detailed her organization's success story. She encouraged students to continue their participation in conservation efforts, wherever their passions may lie.
Other notable guests in attendance:
- Keith and Wendy Bishop, Islands By Design
- Joseph Darville, Save the Bays
- Sharon Glover, Save the Bays, Youth Environmental Ambassadors Leadership Trainer, along with some Youth Ambassador facilitators
- Mallory Raphael, BREEF Coral Reef Sculpture Garden Coordinator
- Eddy Raphael, The Nature Conservancy
A big thank you to everyone who supported and attended the Symposium; it was a huge success!