Under the theme “Ocean Champions” the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation held yet another successful summer Sea Camp programme reaching over one hundred children on the islands of New Providence, Exuma, Eleuthera and Andros.
BREEF’s annual Sea Camp is an empowering, educational and fun experience that every child in The Bahamas should have at least once. The camp provides hands-on experiential learning for students, using the natural environment as a teaching tool, and engages campers in protecting our oceans and their resources. Sea Camp fosters a sense of appreciation for the Bahamian marine environment; it inspires campers to become environmental stewards while teaching them practical water skills to help them safely explore Bahamian marine coastal ecosystems.
“Observing the progress in their swimming ability throughout the camp and their enthusiasm while identifying fish and coral below the surface is truly a rewarding experience,” said Allison Longley, BREEF Outreach Officer, and Lead Camp Coordinator.
Dale Pinder, age 14, explains what motivates him to protect the marine environment, “Having the opportunity to experience the coral reefs during the BREEF camp has made me want to protect the environment even more so that the next generation can enjoy it.”
According to Leilah Mackey, age 9, “Overfishing and plastics in the water is harming fish and will make them go extinct. Turtles are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of plastics. I am motivated to educate people about how they can help so we can have fish for future generations.”
Ethan Cordona, age 11. “I have learned that many fish species are endangered, and so fish need more protection all around the world and not just here in The Bahamas.”
BREEF kicked off the summer of 2022 by hosting its Sea Camp programme in New Providence. During the camp, children experienced our marine environment by immersing themselves in the coral reef and mangrove ecosystems, which included a snorkel field trip to Bonefish Pond National Park, Saunders Beach, and Long Wharf Beach. For many campers, this was their very first time snorkeling. “Ocean Champions” were spotted on Saunders beach taking action and combatting plastic pollution by conducting a beach cleanup, collecting over 40lbs of garbage, and using some of it to create ocean conservation art.
“Leaving garbage on the ground leads to it ending up in our waters and harming our marine life. If we don’t take action to protect our marine life, they will die.” – Evante Haven, age 9.
Photo 1: Group photo of BREEF Sea Camp (Nassau) at Saunders Beach.
Photo 2: Snorkelers enjoying red mangroves and spotting juvenile fish at Bonefish Pond.
Photo 3: BREEF Sea Camper displaying his plastics pollution art project.
BREEF traveled to Georgetown, Exuma conducting a Sea Camp day experience full of ocean adventures in partnership with the British American Financial Group (BAF) camp. Campers learned more about our blue Bahamas through an interactive coral reef and fish identification presentation followed by a fun afternoon snorkeling session.
Photo 4: BREEF’s Sea Camp Coordinator, Allison Longley taking campers for a snorkel adventure.
Photo 5: Group photo of BAF Summer Camp during BREEF’s “One-Day Partner” experience.
Governors Harbour, Eleuthera
Next stop, Eleuthera! The highlight of this camp was a memorable snorkel trip to Twin Coves located in Governor’s Harbour. Throughout the week, campers learned about the importance of fisheries regulations, marine protected areas, and climate change. BREEF Sea Campers also had fun in the sun while learning about renewable energy by using a solar panel to collect and store energy and power various devices.
Photo 6: BREEF Sea Camper charging a battery with solar panels.
Photo 7: BREEF’s Sea Camp at Twin Coves, Eleuthera.
Photo 8: Campers snorkeling at Twin Coves, Eleuthera.
Photo 9: BREEF’s Sea Camp (Eleuthera) hosted by Haynes Library.
The final fun-filled Sea Camp took place at award-winning Kamalame Cay, where campers enjoyed the remarkable island off the north side of Andros. The Sea Camp had a diverse group of campers, including children from The Bahamas, the United States of America and Italy. It was a great experience for all to have such diverse backgrounds, but share a common ground—their enthusiasm for the water. Students had a fantastic time on the cay learning about the Bahamian marine environment, including mangroves and coral reefs.
Photo 10: Campers taking a closer look at invasive Lionfish.
Photo 11: Campers enjoying a fun boat ride to the Andros Great Barrier Reef.
Photo 12: Eleuthera Sea Camper experiencing the underwater world for the first time.
BREEF extends their gratitude to all of their partners who hosted camp to include, Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre, Haynes Library, Kamalame Cay, BAF Global Group Ltd and to all of the BREEF volunteers who assisted during the duration of the camp.