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Plastics

Joining forces to make Deep Creek Clean, Green, and Pristine!

Last Saturday morning, members from the Deep Creek Homecoming Committee and community partnered up with Deep Creek residents from Cape Eleuthera Institute and students and faculty from The Deep Creek Middle School to do a trash clean-up in an effort to get the streets of the settlement clean for their annual Homecoming in early June.

The cleanup team!

Trucks and equipment were provided by the Center for Sustainable Development and 5 loads were taken from the main road. All participants were shocked by the amount of trash found on the road and were vocal about the need to continue their efforts with more Clean-ups and education on waste management, as well as additional waste bins and signage around the community to motivate the proper disposal of trash.

Sorting through trash

The slogan for the Deep Creek Homecoming is Coming Together to keep The Creek Clean, Green and Pristine! and one member from the committee said that "the residents are striving to live and breathe the slogan to truly bring it to life for the Homecoming and afterwards".

Starting to load up the truck with garbage

The Clean-up began at 9AM and ended at 12PM, just in time for the start of the Fish Fry, intended to raise funds for the festivities in June. At the Fish Fry, food vendors used all compostable packaging in order to keep plastics and harmful disposables not only off the streets but out of the dumps.

After loading the five truckloads of trash, the members of the clean up crew got together at CEI Intern, Georgie Burruss's home to celebrate their efforts with snacks and music.
The Clean-up attracted around 40 people and is the first of a proposed monthly effort in Deep Creek and one that hopes to be a model that inspires other communities to do the same.

PH Albury & DCMS Eco Clubs Team Up for SEEP Recycling

All volunteers and adults congratulate themselves on a job well done!  Photo credit: Nicole Elliot This past Saturday, the Deep Creek Middle School Early Act and Eco Club teamed up with Preston H. Albury High School's newly formed Eco Club to sort plastics 1, 2, and 5. It wasn't the prettiest job - sorting plastic bags and food containers and removing bottle caps from a few hundred bottles - but friendly competition made it fun as three groups each tried to sort the most!

seep recycling

All plastics will be sent to Cans for Kids in Nassau and then sent to the United States for recycling. Cans for Kids is a Bahamian non-profit that recycles cans, and recently plastics, to raise money for schools and youth organizations. This event was an effort to spruce up the recycling center at the South Eleuthera Emergency Partners (SEEP) in Tarpum Bay and to implement a One Eleuthera grant-funded recycling program in South Eleutheran schools over the next few months.

seep recycling

Twenty-two students from both schools and nine adults from One Eleuthera, Cape Eleuthera Institute, Deep Creek Middle School, Rotaract Club of Eleuthera, and the Rotary Club of Eleuthera participated. Big thanks to Nikki for the great pictures from the event, Sophia for rallying her Early Act Club, and Luanette for coming out to support!

CEI Researchers present at the 2nd Bahamas National Natural History Conference in Nassau

CEI presenters at the conference. CEI researchers were busy in Nassau over the past week.  On March 4th, Aaron Shultz and Kate Kincaid attended an IUCN Red List Workshop, held at The Bahamas National Trust. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization (www.iucn.org).  As an expert commission member for several IUCN groups, Kate is regularly involved in IUCN work.  This workshop was open to scientists to come together and discuss plans for a National Red List for The Bahamas.  The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (www.iucnredlist.org) promotes conservation and is an assessment of the conservation status of species to highlight taxa that are threatened with extinction.   Species are evaluated using set criteria; this catalogue of threatened species is an internationally recognized inventory and important for conservation, decision making and highlighting biodiversity loss.

Many species have not yet been assessed and many countries are conducting national Red Lists.  A national Red List for The Bahamas can be used for conservation planning and to assess their progress towards the 2020 Conventional on Biological Diversity Aichi targets.   At this workshop, Kate and Aaron expressed CEI’s interest to be involved in the planning process and in species focus groups for sharks, corals and turtles.

Aaron Shultz presenting.

Following this workshop, CEI researchers Aaron Shultz, Kate Kincaid and Kristal Ambrose attended the 2nd Bahamas National Natural History Conference.  This was a 3 day conference from 5th-8th March led by the Bahamas National Trust (www.bnt.bs) that highlighted the importance of research, conservation, and environmental stewardship in The Bahamas.  The conference began with an opening ceremony at Atlantis followed by 3 days of talks. 

This was a well-attended conference held at the College of the Bahamas and was a great chance to catch up with colleagues, make new connections and network with scientists, NGOs and stakeholder partners working throughout The Bahamas.  A highlight of the conference was a chance to listen to Dr Sylvia Earle as a guest speaker.  Dr Earle is a living legend, has logged more than 7000 hours underwater and is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence (www.mission-blue.org).  As a TED prize winner, it was a true privilege to hear her speak in person and she highlighted The Bahamas as a global beacon for Marine Conservation.  When Dr Earle spoke, the whole room was captivated by her passion and dedication to ocean conservation and exploration.

Kate Kincaid presenting.

Among the many presenters, CEI joined in to highlight the research being done through CEI in Eleuthera. Kate presented on the first day and talked about her work involving local fishers in ecological research and assessing willingness for marine protected areas.  Aaron presented the following day on his work on the responses of mangrove fish to climate change.  Kristal presented on the final day on her citizen science work with beach plastic. Kristal was also the moderator for the final session and succeeded in keeping everyone focused through to the final talk.  Dr Edd Brooks was due to attend to present his historical research on shark diversity and abundance in the Eastern Exuma Sound comparing his dataset with Stephen Connets work done in the 70’s. Edd was unable to attend, but his work was still presented by Stephen Connet of Family Island Research and Education.  Overall, it was a fun and productive week with a chance to share ideas, network and mix with fellow researchers in The Bahamas.

Plastics outreach with Preston H Albury school

A PHA student searching for plastic debris This past fall, CEI's resident plastic researcher, Kristal Ambrose teamed up with local high school teacher Joanna Parker’s geography class to conduct two consecutive beach plastic surveys for their BGCSE course work, a national exam required for graduation. Their plastic lesson began when Kristal visited the high school to talk about plastic pollution and her research being done on the island. They were very receptive and interested in learning more about the issue.

The students surveyed two beaches in South Eleuthera and compared how debris levels varied between beaches. Thirty two students from grades 10, 11 and 12 at the Preston H Albury High School in Rock Sound ended their lesson on the beach to test the hypothesis for their project. The educational programs team assisted in this venture and helped to make it a success. Students were impacted by the amount of debris discovered on the beaches and are excited to conduct more surveys!

A group shot from the surveys groups

CEI attends Abaco Science Alliance Conference 2014

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FRIENDS of the Environment hosted the 6th Biennial Abaco Science Alliance Conference (ASAC). The conference goals were to provide a forum for networking and information sharing for Abaco and Bahamas-based research projects, to encourage the use of research for local education and environmental management purposes and to stimulate further research in The Bahamas.

The research and educational programs team traveled from South Eleuthera to Marsh Harbour, Abaco to represent the Cape Eleuthera Institute. The team presented on various research topics currently conducted at the Institute. From mangrove restoration to deep water sharks, here is list of ASAC attendees representing CEI:

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Stephen B Cone Jr, an outstanding 2013 summer flats intern, gave a talk titled "The mangrove action plan: an adaptive outreach and ecosystem rehabilitation initiative."

Dr Owen OʼShea, research associate for CEI’s shark research and conservation program, gave a fantastic talk on deep water elasmobranch surveys. His deep sea videos caused much excitement!

Dr Jocelyn Curtis-Quick encouraged all to eat lionfish and talked about her study on the interactions between the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus, and Invasive Lionfish, Pterois volitans.

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Kristal Ambrose gave a passionate talk on the spatial and temporal patterns in the abundance and diversity of plastic marine debris on beaches in South Eleuthera.

Megean Gary presented on her turtle research examining the spatial dynamics of immature Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas) within a foraging ground on the Atlantic coast of Eleuthera.

Tiffany Gray represented the flats research program and educational team, presenting a poster titled "Collaborative outreach: a model for high impact experiential education". The poster presented the cost effective model of science-focused visiting and local programs at CEI, with a case study on the Abaco Flats Course held by Friends of the Environment in partnership with CEI.

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The conference was a great success with the audience full of students, locals and visitors. A big thanks to FRIENDS of the Environment , and we look forward to the next conference in 2016.