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The Island School

Island School alum, CEI Grad Student featured on Cal Bears site

Mackey leads a deep sea trip with Island school students Mackey Violich, a former student from fall 2006, and now a graduate student at the Cape Eleuthera Institute through Florida State University, has been featured on the Cal Bear website. At the University of California Berkeley, Mackey Violich spent 4 years playing division one lacrosse and double majoring in Conservation Resources Studies and Environmental Economics. She is currently working on her masters focusing on the deep-sea ecosystem in the Exuma Sound.

Read about her here!

 

Hurricane Matthew Update #2

Students, interns, faculty, and staff all exited their designated shelters this morning into the bright Eleuthera sunlight. Island School and Gap Year Students filed out of the Center for Sustainable Development through cheering faculty members, interns are moving back into the grad hall, and our staff are returning to their offices to move everything back into place. Besides a few puddles on floors, our campus fared very well throughout Hurricane Matthew.

Island School and Gap Year students excitedly emerge from the Center for Sustainable Development

Another huge thank you to everybody who sent us good thoughts and checked in with us during the past few days. Our CEI network is strong and we are touched by the concern and compassion that was expressed by our families, friends, alums, and associates.

The Gap Year team

We will continue to track the weather in the coming days as classes resume, Gap Year students gear up for their triathlon, and researchers get back in the field.

Hurricane Matthew Update

Wednesday October 5th, 2:10 PM Good Afternoon Parents and Friends,

The surprisingly pleasant, breezy weather stuck around though the night into the morning. The final dinner circle looked a lot different with the central flag pole having been removed, but the energy from students was as high as ever. This morning the weather is rainy and cool with good breezes when the rain bands come through.
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Last night Liz, the Dean of Students, had students gather around the white board to break down the set-up in CSD. The building has been sectioned into Beach House dorm, Treehouse dorm, Quiet Zone, Food area, etc. to make the best use of the open space. The evening ended with a story read by Liz.

A little music goes a long way

Gap year students have moved into the conference room and are taking advantage of the black board to flex some of their artistic talents. The conference table provides a great place to get some work done, pay games, or have meals.

The blackboard in the Gap Year room

Interns have been housed with CEI and Island School faculty and staff on campus and at CEI Director Annabelle Brooks' house. The apartments are built well above any predicted storm surges.  Our unique position on the western hook of South Eleuthera and off the Exuma Sound protects our campus from flooding. Nearly ten years ago, our campus weathered a Category 5 hurricane. The storm surge never came above the deck of our dining hall, providing us all reassurance in our position on the island. For information about how a storm surge might affect our location, please see this graphic provided by Weather Underground.

Interns housed on campus broke out the games and knot-tying skills today

We are ready for today. CSD will remain home base for the students as they participate in morning stretches, class, meals, and community building activities. Check back here for updates as the weather evolves throughout the day. We continue to be touched by the warm thoughts coming our way. As always, please feel free to contact our Boston office with questions:

First Island School Student to Presents Research Poster at BNHC

Andrieka presenting the ponds research CEI was well represented at the regional 2016 Bahamas Natural History Conference, with representatives giving talks on plastics, climate change, rare shrimp, turtles, conch, sharks and lionfish. More excitingly, the first Island School alumni joined with the research team! Andrieka Burrows, BESS scholar of Fall 2015, attended the conference to present the anchialine ponds poster. Anchialine ponds are landlocked bodies of water with marine characteristics that are connected to the sea through underground conduits. There are over 200 of these ponds on the island of Eleuthera, however, there is very little known about these ecosystems. Dr. Jocelyn Curtis-Quick and Alexio Brown, with a team of Island School students, including Andrieka, gathered baseline data on the ponds in order to determine their status and need for protection.

There was much interest in the inland ponds work

Research advisor Alexio Brown and Dr Curtis-Quick were very proud of Andrieka

The students found an alarming number of the ponds were impacted by humans.  To conserve these ecosystems, there is a need to raise awareness. Andrieka did this by presenting the work of her research class at the Bahamas Natural History Conference (BNHC). The conference was hosted by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), who manage the protected areas in The Bahamas. Andrieka spoke about why these ponds are so understudied, and her hopes for more research to be carried out in the future.

“The Bahamas Natural History Conference turned out to be all that I expected,” said Andrieka. “Not only did I get the opportunity to interact with world renowned scientists, who presented their captivating work, but I also got to present my anchialine pond research to these very same scientists.”

Andrieka created much interest in ponds, and did an exceptional job presenting the poster, making her research very advisors proud.

Inland Ponds Update: Two species of critically endangered cave shrimp found in Eleuthera

Over two semesters Dr Jocelyn Curtis-Quick and Alexio Brown led an Island School Research class focused on exploring and assessing the inland ponds of Eleuthera.  These inland ponds are fragile and are under threat from human disturbance, but are rarely visited and poorly studied.   The students assessed 16 sites across Eleuthera; 69% of the ponds were impacted by humans. In the few non-impacted sites, species that are new to Eleuthera were found.  

Two species of critically endangered cave shrimp found on Eleuthera

 

Island School students collecting shrimp.

Just last week, expert Professor Mary Wicksten of Texas A&M University confirmed Eleuthera is home to not one but two species of critically endangered cave shrimp, Parhippolyte sterreri and Barbouria cubensis.This further highlights the need for immediate conservation of the anchialine systems in order to protect this unique habitat and the life it supports. The ponds project is a new and exciting area of research for CEI.  Dr Jocelyn Curtis-Quick presented the research at the 3rd International Symposium on Anchialine Ecosystems in 2015, and two of The Island School Bahamian students will present at the Abaco Science Alliance and the Bahamas National Natural History Conference in 2016. We hope to create awareness for this unique ecosystem and ensure its protection.