BREEF Eco-Schools Coordinator Receives Global Recognition for Excellence in Education for Sustainable Development

On Thursday, the 6th of  June 2024, Grand Bahama Bishop Michael Eldon School Eco-Schools Bahamas (ESB) Coordinator, Mrs. Cheng Bee Selim-Dela Peña was named as one of seventeen teachers worldwide honoured with the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) 2023/2024 Teacher Award. By instituting an award for teachers, the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) aims to recognize the efforts of outstanding teachers from the global network who promote and integrate Education for Sustainable Development in their schools and communities.

Mrs. Cheng Bee Selim-Dela Peña

Through the award, FEE aims to highlight professional excellence, celebrate achievements, and spread inspirational stories amongst stakeholders. The award is not a competition awarded to a select few,but a recognition of teachers’ efforts and a celebration of their work and the impact they have had every day over the last 30 years.

An elated Cheng Bee Selim-Dela Pena, BMES Eco-Schools Coordinator, said, “When we instil genuine passion and character in our students, our environmental voice grows stronger. It’s challenging but possible with perseverance and dedication.”

“Our vision at BREEF is for a nation where all people appreciate the value of our oceans and everyone takes action to protect them,” stated BREEF Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert.  She continued, “Over the years, we’ve reached every school across the country, we’ve had at least one  from every Bahamian school participate in one of our week-long BREEF workshops.”

The Jury was very impressed with Mrs. Selim-Dela Peña’s  application, and one of the members highlighted that, “Cheng is innovative, caring, mentoring, encouraging, and helps students to discover their place in the natural world and what they can do to improve not only their surroundings but themselves as well.”

“Congratulations to Mrs. Cheng Bee Selim-Dela Peña for her unwavering support and inspiring so many young environmental stewards at BMES and in Grand Bahamas as a whole,” said Kevin Glinton, Education Coordinator and Eco-Schools Bahamas National Operator at the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF).

BMES was the first school in Grand Bahama to receive its 1st Green flag in 2016, and successfully renewed its 2nd green flag in 2020, its 3rd green flag in 2022, and its 4th green flag in 2023.  BMES’ Vertical Hydroponics Garden was among the top 5 of the FEE GAIA 20:30 Biodiversity Best Practice Competition winners on August 19, 2022.

Teachers who were involved in any of FEE’s three educational programmes for at least five years  were  eligible for the award. 

With over 100 members in 81 countries, the Foundation for Environmental Education is the largest environmental education organisation in the world.  BREEF officially represents FEE in The Bahamas and operates the Eco-Schools Bahamas and Young Reporters for the Environment  programmes. Eco-Schools is  a global sustainable school programme that is  active in 79 countries.  BREEF’s Eco Schools and Young Reporters  network is spread over six islands with 21 government and 27 private schools.

 Mrs. Cheng (Front, 2nd Right),  members of BMES Eco-Club, and community partners with 161.76 lbs of garbage collected off a beach in Grand Bahama on World Ocean;s Day, 8 June 2024

To learn more about Eco-Schools Bahamas ,YRE and other BREEF environmental education programmes and its work in promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment, please email  and

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BREEF Celebrates World Oceans Day 2024 with Community Snorkel Event

Nassau, Bahamas – June 8, 2024: The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) celebrated World Oceans Day 2024 with a successful public snorkel event at Sea Beach Promenade on West Bay Street, engaging the community in marine conservation activities. This year’s event focused on snorkeling, providing participants with an immersive experience in the underwater world.

BREEF takes out a group of first-time snorkelers on World Oceans Day (photo by BREEF)

Thirty snorkelers participated throughout the day. They were given a tutorial on how to use their snorkel gear before entering the water and fish identification slates to identify various marine organisms during the snorkel.
Snorkelers Explore Reef at BREEF World Oceans Day event (Photo by Michael Freifelds)

Bahamas Youth Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goals and first-time snorkeler Kiran Halkitis shared his excitement, saying, “I had a wonderful time today, I snorkeled twice, because after the first time, I felt so much more comfortable in the water. I would definitely like to do this again.”

Another participant, C.R. Walker High School student, Jayden Adderly, remarked, “It was really eye-opening because in this area, you wouldn’t really believe that there was so much going on underwater because we just see it as a beach. But it was incredible to see what we really have living on our Bahamian beaches.”
First time snorkelers participate in BREEF’s World Oceans Day snorkel (Photo by Michael Freifelds)
Snorkelers swim over reef (Photo by Michael Freifelds)

Heather Brockbank, BREEF’s Outreach Officer, emphasized the importance of these initiatives, stating, “This month is absolutely essential. We are always providing opportunities for the community to join us in the water. These activities will help everyone to grow a stronger appreciation for our marine environment and see a greater need in protecting it.”

BREEF Outreach Officer, Heather Brockbank gives safety briefing ahead of snorkel activity (photo by BREEF)

In conjunction with World Oceans Day, Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis renewed the National Ocean Protection Week proclamation, highlighting BREEF’s critical role in marine conservation. The proclamation for the week of June 3rd to June 8th, underscores the importance of protecting the Bahamas’ pristine waters, crucial for the nation’s economy, culture, and identity.

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Ocean Atlas sculpture at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (CRSG) in New Providence. Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture, created by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, serves as an active symbol of hope in the fight against climate change and a thriving habitat for marine life. 
 (L) Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture, located at BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden beside (R) coral thriving on a coral tree at BREEF’s coral nursery. (Photo by Shane Gross)

In 2023, The Bahamas witnessed a major coral bleaching event due to record high temperatures, and this year, the trend continues with a potentially even hotter summer ahead. Ocean Atlas, an artificial reef covered with living coral, plays a crucial role in our coral restoration efforts, highlighting the importance of protecting these vital ecosystems and the need for climate action. The CRSG, with its coral nursery and underwater classroom, continues to play a pivotal role in BREEF’s coral restoration efforts and marine education programs.

As BREEF remains dedicated to empowering the community to take an active role in protecting the ocean, the success of the World Oceans Day snorkel event reflects the growing commitment among Bahamians to safeguard their marine environment for future generations.
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Embracing Summer Amidst the Reality of Global Warming: A Call to Action

The Coral Bleaching Crisis
Last summer, coral reefs experienced mass coral bleaching due to record-breaking ocean temperatures. The corals growing on “Ocean Atlas,” the focal sculpture of the BREEF Coral Reef Sculpture Garden & Coral Nursery, bleached dramatically, and many corals died as a result of the underwater heatwave. Bleached corals, and mortality resulting from this bleaching, was observed around the country and around the world. As we head into the summer of 2024, it is expected to be even warmer, following spring months that broke all previous heat records.

Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture sits at the heart of BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Lili Wagner)

As the oceans warm due to increased carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, coral bleaching occurs. Corals, stressed by elevated temperatures, expel the algae living in their tissues that provide them with nutrition and colour. If the stress continues, corals can die. This bleaching event highlights the broader crisis facing coral reefs globally. May 2024 was already warmer than May 2023, and the summer of 2024 looks like it will be even hotter.

Close-up of bleached coral at CRSG (Photo by Michael Freifelds)

Celebrating 10 Years of Ocean Atlas
This year, BREEF proudly marks the 10th anniversary of Ocean Atlas at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (CRSG) in New Providence, Bahamas. As an artificial reef for marine life to colonize and inhabit, Ocean Atlas is an active symbol of hope in the fight against climate change. This milestone celebrates both visionary environmental art and crucial marine conservation efforts while highlighting the urgent need to address climate change affecting our coral reefs.

Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture sits at the heart of BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Lili Wagner)

In 2014, BREEF unveiled Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture. The 18-foot, 60-ton sculpture, created by artist Jason de Caires Taylor, symbolises the responsibility we all share in protecting marine environments. Ocean Atlas has become an iconic feature, drawing locals and visitors and serving as a powerful call to action for conservation.

Virtuoso Man sculpture at CRSG (Photo by Shane Gross)

National Oceans Protection Week Proclamation
In conjunction with these efforts, Prime Minister Philip E. Davis has renewed the “National Ocean Protection Week” proclamation, emphasising the nation’s dedication to marine conservation. This proclamation, spanning June 3rd to June 8th, 2024, aligns with World Oceans Day and highlights the critical importance of safeguarding our marine ecosystems. The proclamation underscores the collective responsibility to protect our oceans, reinforcing the vital work of organisations like BREEF in preserving the natural treasures of The Bahamas.

Outplanted coral at the BREEF Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (photo by Shane Gross)

Education and Conservation at CRSG
More than a visual marvel, the CRSG is a thriving underwater classroom and coral nursery. Over the past decade, BREEF has used this underwater wonder to educate thousands of Bahamian children about marine conservation through snorkelling and hands-on learning. BREEF also encourages visitors to come and learn and get involved. The sculptures, now encrusted with live corals, provide habitat for marine life and serve as a living laboratory for students and scientists.

BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden & Coral Nursery is an underwater classroom, used to teach thousands of students about the marine environment 

Restoration Efforts and Community Action
BREEF’s CRSG is a beacon of hope and a platform for raising awareness about climate change. By showcasing the impacts of coral bleaching, BREEF aims to mobilizse individuals and communities to advocate for sustainable practices and policies.
The CRSG also plays a critical role in coral restoration. BREEF’s coral nursery focuses on growing endangered coral and outplanting it to adjacent reefs. Since 2016, over 300 corals have been out-planted, boosting the area’s biodiversity and coral cover. Despite rising temperatures, these efforts demonstrate that resilience in coral reefs is possible with targeted interventions.

BREEF coral nursery at  Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Shane Gross)

A Call to Action
As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ocean Atlas, we reflect on our progress and renew our commitment to protecting our ocean. This milestone is an opportunity to inspire collective action against climate change and to continue supporting BREEF’s marine conservation and education initiatives.
Join BREEF in celebrating this remarkable achievement and in taking action to protect our marine ecosystems. Visit our website to learn more about supporting BREEF’s mission.

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Prime Minister Renews National Ocean Protection Week Proclamation in The Bahamas

Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, Executive Director, applaud Prime Minister Philip E. Davis for renewing the “National Ocean Protection Week” proclamation, spanning from June 3rd to June 8th, 2024, aligning with the global celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8th. This proclamation emphasizes the imperative of safeguarding marine ecosystems for future generations.

Waterkeepers Bahamas (WKB), another esteemed organization dedicated to marine conservation and education, also extends their heartfelt appreciation to Prime Minister Davis for his commitment to ocean conservation. Both organizations emphasize the importance of protecting the Bahamas’ pristine waters, essential for the nation’s economy, culture, and identity.

As a nation uniquely vulnerable to climate change impacts, The Bahamas recognizes the importance of addressing these challenges head-on. By renewing the National Ocean Protection Week proclamation, Prime Minister Davis reaffirms the government’s dedication to mitigating the threats posed by pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

In the spirit of collaboration and environmental stewardship, Our Islands, Our Future expresses its sincere appreciation to Prime Minister Davis and looks forward to continuing to work with his administration to protect and preserve the marine treasures that define the nation.

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BREEF Awards Deep Creek Middle School its 7th Consecutive Eco-Schools Green Flag

Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) in Deep Creek, South Eleuthera, earned its seventh consecutive Eco-Schools Green Flag Award on Tuesday, the 7th of May 2024. The Green Flag Award is the highest award level a school can achieve and is awarded every two years to schools committed to excellence in environmental education and practice. During the recertification process, DCMS Eco-Committee students led the Green Flag assessment team on a tour of the DCMS campus and discussed their sustainability actions and environmental stewardship.

 DCMS Green Award Renewal Ceremony

Eco-Schools Bahamas is part of an international award programme developed in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Eco-Schools is based on the work of student-led teams and recognizes schools for their achievements in Education for Sustainable Development and continuously improving the sustainability performance of the school and the wider community. Eco-Schools engage the creativity of young people to find solutions for local environmental problems and sustainable development challenges in our communities.

 Members of DCMS Eco-Committee being interviewed by Eco Schools National Coordinator Kevin Glinton

“I’ve been eager to participate in Eco-Schools since I was six, I think we are doing a great thing because we are helping to protect wildlife and our native species,” said 7th grader and Eco-club member Gino Guina.
“We want a positive change in our community, we want to see less litter, although we didn’t get everyone onboard, I’m happy that more people are aware of what the change can look like,” said Bria Allen, 8th grade DCMS student and Eco-club member.
“I started to care more when I realised that so many people were unaware of how harmful plastics can be to our environment, and I am determined to make a change.” said Aallieah Rolle, 8th grade DCMS student and Eco-club member.
“We always come together to plan the projects, for this one, we have been making signs around the school and around town to encourage people to pick up their trash and not to litter,” said 7th grader and Eco-club member Bradley Young.

One Eleuthera Foundation President & CEO Keyron Smith, assisted with the evaluation process. He said, “It’s wonderful to witness Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) achieving their 7th green flag recertification with the eco-schools programme. The dedication and zeal of the students advocating for sustainability and environmental conservation, and implementing these practices within the school, is truly exceptional.”

DCMS Eco-School Committee Members, Aallieah Rolle (L) and Bria Allen (R)

Speaking about the special event, former DCMS parent and Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation’s (BREEF) Executive Director. Casuarina McKinney-Lambert said, “DCMS students are a model for the country and the world, and they should be very proud of their achievements.”

DCMS 8th grade student, Lorenzo Larrimore gives tour of school garden

According to DCMS’ principal and Eco-Schools Coordinator Chelle Marshall, “This year, we challenged ourselves to expand our Eco School Action Plan to our wider community, initially by conducting stakeholder discussions within the community last fall and then engaging with Island School and the Centre for Training and Innovation resources in the spring. We look forward to moving forward with informed initiatives for the remainder of this year and continuing next year.”

BREEF’s Education Coordinator and National Operator for the Eco-Schools Bahamas Programme, Kevin Glinton stated, “On the 7th of November 2011, Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) had the singular distinction of becoming the first school in the English-speaking Caribbean to receive the prestigious Green Flag, the top award of the Eco-Schools Programme Under their original school Eco-code, “DCMS can be green if we work as a TEAM,” DCMS continues to be a pacesetter in BREEF’s Eco-Schools Bahamas network.”

Eco-Schools is implemented in 73 countries by FEE member organisations and in 26 countries through International Schools. BREEF runs Eco-Schools in The Bahamas. Schools interested in joining the Eco-Schools Bahamas programme can contact BREEF at 327-9000 or email:

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BREEF’s Earth Week: Empowering Youth for Conservation

Throughout Earth Week, BREEF dedicated its efforts to engaging youth in environmental stewardship through a series of impactful initiatives. The team embarked on a journey across various school expos in New Providence, including St Andrew’s International School’s Sustainability Eco Fair, Adelaide Primary’s Career Fair, and L. W. Young’s Environmental Expo. Here, they passionately educated students on the critical importance of conservation and sustainability, sparking inspiration and awareness among the younger generation.

BREEF BESS intern Christopher Clarke teaches students at L.W. Young about sustainability

In addition to these local endeavors, BREEF ventured to Grand Bahama to attend a Clinton Global Initiative event, where they not only spread their message beyond the capital but also networked with other environmental NGOs, fostering collaboration and collective action. Furthermore, the team actively participated in the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection STEM Career Fair, engaging in meaningful conversations with numerous senior high school students who shared their enthusiasm for sustainability in STEM fields.

BREEF’s dedication to spreading awareness extended to the airwaves, as they were featured on Guardian Radio’s Morning Blend Earth Week Series. During the segment, the team delved into the crucial topic of fisheries regulations in the Bahamas, emphasizing the significance of sustainable practices for the nation’s future.

BREEF Outreach Officer Heather Brockbank is a featured guest on Guardian Radio Earth Week Series with Morning Blend host, Dwight Strachan

The culmination of Earth Week was marked by a beach cleanup and fun day at Saunders Beach, where participants not only contributed to environmental restoration efforts but also gained valuable insights into coastal degradation, invasive species, and local fisheries regulations. Through engaging games and camaraderie, BREEF fostered a sense of community and empowerment among attendees, highlighting the importance of hands-on experiences in environmental education.

Waterkeepers Bahamas’ Youth Environmental Ambassadors participate in BREEF Earth Day Beach Cleanup & Fun Day

By empowering youth with knowledge and fostering meaningful experiences, BREEF continues to lead the charge in promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment, recognizing its pivotal role in sustaining our way of life now and for generations to come.

Earth Week Expos & Eco-Fairs

BREEF Earth Day 2024 Beach Cleanup & Fun Day

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YRE 2024 National Competition Winning Entries

1st Place
Confronting the Devastating Effects of Marine Pollution in The Bahamas
by Dejae Woods
University of the Bahamas

The Bahamas, a paradise with breathtaking beaches, nearly 700 islands and cays (Albury et al., 2024), and the most transparent water on Earth, is under a ticking time bomb. Despite its natural splendor, it grapples with numerous environmental challenges, notably significant marine pollution. The country, heavily reliant on tourism, could face a catastrophic impact if this issue is not promptly addressed. This article aims to shed light on the urgent situation of marine pollution in The Bahamas, exploring its causes, consequences, and viable solutions.

Picture this: a pristine ocean, teeming with life, now tainted by chemical contamination and trash. Marine pollution is not just a distant problem, it’s a grim reality when chemicals and trash are washed, blown, or dumped into the ocean (Texas Disposal Systems, 2020). Marine pollution introduces harmful substances or materials into the sea, directly or indirectly affecting marine life and habitats. Sources of marine pollution include oil spills, sewage discharge, plastics, chemicals, and agricultural runoff.

Every piece of plastic still exists today, and it will continue for hundreds of years, potentially harming marine life and ecosystems. “The marine litter concentration for The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean is almost 3x the global average, and in 2025, the projected plastic accumulation for the Bahamas is expected to increase by some 600 80 million metric tons.”- Kristal “Ocean” Ambrose.

Figure 1.  A rope and other microplastics in the sea, Saunders Beach in Nassau, Bahamas. Photo by Dejae Woods

Marine pollution is widespread across the entire archipelago of The Bahamas. The most affected areas are those close to urban centers and industrial sites, where pollutants are directly discharged into the sea. In Nassau, pollution often comes from cruise ships, urban runoff, and tourism impacts beaches and coastal waters; Freeport industrial discharge and shipping activities also contribute to water pollution. Even remote areas face pollution from local waste generation and ocean currents carrying debris. Remote Islands like Andros’ Barrier Reef suffer pollution from agriculture, and development endangers coral reefs. In Bimini, tourism and coastal development pose pollution risks to marine ecosystems.

Marine pollution affects marine life and the human population. It not only threatens aquatic life but also endangers the health of Bahamians. Consuming fish caught in polluted waters can lead to severe health issues, including congenital disabilities, liver damage, and cancer (EPA, 2014). Chemical pollutants accumulate in fish tissues, posing significant risks to locals and tourists who consume them.

Tourists are drawn to our country for its pristine beaches and clear waters, making tourism a vital economic driver. Yet, marine pollution diminishes the visual appeal of beaches and coastal areas, deterring visitors and impacting local economies heavily reliant on tourism revenue. Water pollution discourages tourists from participating in popular water-based activities like snorkeling and diving, leading to decreased visitor numbers and substantial economic repercussions for coastal communities.

Figure 2. An aerial view of the oil spill in Exuma, Bahamas. Photo by: Reno Curling

 Marine pollution can damage or destroy habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, and wetlands. These habitats provide essential nurseries, feeding grounds, and shelter for aquatic species to grow and reproduce; marine life will decline significantly without these habitats.

Marine pollution has been a persistent concern in the Bahamas for decades. As industrialization and urbanization accelerated globally, pressures on aquatic ecosystems have increased. The issue has worsened recently due to rapid tourism growth, urban development, and escalating plastic production. Marine pollution remains an ongoing challenge in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas as time passes, steadily worsening each year.

Marine pollution presents a pressing issue in the Bahamas due to its heavy reliance on tourism, pristine beaches, and coastal ecosystems. Rapid urbanization and coastal development contribute to increased pollution, while the rise in global plastic production leads to a surge in plastic waste entering marine environments. Industrial activities, including chemical pollutants and oil spills, further exacerbate pollution levels.

Climate change compounds these challenges, threatening coastal ecosystems and aquatic life. Altogether, marine pollution jeopardizes the health of ecosystems, undermines the tourism industry, and poses risks to human health and livelihoods in the Bahamas. Addressing this issue demands concerted efforts to mitigate pollution sources, promote sustainable practices, and protect marine biodiversity.

Addressing marine pollution is a shared responsibility that requires a collective effort from the government, private sector, and public. The government must strengthen environmental regulations, enforce them effectively, and invest in waste management infrastructure. The private sector should adopt sustainable practices and technologies to reduce its ecological footprint. Reducing single-use plastics is crucial in combating marine pollution, as items like bags, bottles, and straws contribute significantly to the problem. Encouraging reusable alternatives and implementing plastic bans can curb plastic waste entering the ocean.

Promoting proper waste management practices, including recycling and responsible disposal, is essential in preventing litter from reaching waterways. Strengthening regulations and investing in spill response technologies are vital in addressing the threats of oil spills from shipping and industrial activities. Educating the public about marine pollution is essential for fostering individual and collective action. Together, these measures can effectively safeguard marine ecosystems for future generations.

In conclusion, marine pollution seriously threatens the Bahamas’ natural beauty, biodiversity, and economic vitality. Urgent action is needed to address this pressing issue, which jeopardizes the health of marine ecosystems and communities. We can work towards a cleaner, healthier future for our oceans and shores by implementing stringent regulations, promoting sustainable practices, and raising public awareness. Collaboration and collective effort are vital to confronting the devastating effects of marine pollution and ensuring the long-term resilience of the Bahamas’ marine environment.

Works Cited

Albury, E. Paul, David Russell Harriss, and Gail Saunders. “The Bahamas | History, Geography, & Points of Interest.” Ed. The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica 1 Mar. 2024. Web. 4 Mar. 2024.

EPA. Should I Eat the Fish I Catch? A Guide to Healthy Eating of the Fish You Catch for More Information. 2014. Web. 5 Mar. 2024.

One, Only. “Plastic Warriors.” only. One. N.p., 25 Mar. 2021. Web. 24 Apr. 2024.

Texas Disposal Systems. “Ocean Pollution: Causes, Effects and Prevention | TDS Blog.” Texas Disposal Systems. N.p., 1 Dec. 2020. Web. 4 Mar. 2024.

2nd Place
The Shape of Things to Come

Shania Higgs
C.R. Walker High School

Mangrove Deforestation near Bonefish Pond
Photo by Shania Higgs

Caption: You and I would be knee deep in hot water if it weren’t for
mangroves. Between marine and terrestrial communities, mangroves are a
physical buffer. During times of severe weather, they protect the coastlines
and reduce soil erosion. Additionally, they house premature marine
organisms to give them a proper chance to develop. Yet, in the last twenty
years, many mangroves have been lost due to human greed and urban
expansion. With only a simple stroll to a nearby mangrove forest, the eye
is met with a shocking yet truthful juxtaposition, illustrating the shape of
things to come.

3rd Place
For Our Islands, For Our Planet: Voices of The Bahamas

Lauren Scriven
Lyford Cay International School

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BREEF’s Sculpture Garden Marks a Decade of Coral Reef Restoration

Nassau, The Bahamas – April 22, 2024 – In celebration of Earth Day, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) proudly commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and Coral Nursery (CRSG), as a testament to a decade of unwavering commitment to marine conservation and environmental stewardship.

Established in 2014, the BREEF Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden stands as a beacon of hope and resilience, embodying the intersection of art, education, and conservation. Conceived as a living art gallery and underwater classroom, the CRSG has flourished into a thriving ecosystem, fostering the growth of coral, fish, and invertebrates while serving as a vital educational resource for both locals and visitors. 

The brainchild of Bahamian artist Willicey Tynes, the CRSG was brought to life through a collaboration with renowned sculptors Jason DeCaires Taylor and Andret John. Three breathtaking sculptures—Ocean Atlas (Taylor), Virtuoso Man (Tynes), and Lucayan Face (John)—now grace the ocean floor, alongside sixty-six reef balls, each providing structure to help sustain the rich biodiversity of the area.

At the heart of the CRSG stands Ocean Atlas, the largest underwater statue in the world, 18 feet tall and weighing 60 tonnes. Ocean Atlas depicts a Bahamian girl holding the future of the ocean on her shoulders,  and symbolises a call to protect our oceans for future generations. These sculptures pay homage to both the natural beauty and cultural heritage of The Bahamas.

In addition to installing the sculptures in 2014,  in 2015 BREEF installed coral propagation units within the garden, and has been growing corals in an underwater coral nursery at the site ever since. This coral nursery serves as a flagship site for coral propagation and restoration that has been replicated around the country. Endangered staghorn coral is grown  suspended in the water column, and these fragments are later outplanted on adjacent reefs to restore diversity and structural complexity. 

Coral reefs are vital underwater ecosystems that provide food and shelter to an incredible diversity of marine life including key species such as the Nassau grouper, queen conch, and spiny

lobster. Coral reefs are also the nation’s first line of defence against storms and hurricanes, breaking up to 97% of wave energy before it reaches land.  Coral reefs in The Bahamas and around the world are facing catastrophic bleaching due to warming waters from  climate change. In addition to coral bleaching, coral reefs are also impacted by pollution from land and physical damage from boat anchors and ship groundings, especially in heavily trafficked areas such as around Western New Providence. 

The CRSG is located in the waters off Clifton Heritage Park and within Southwest Marine Managed Area and it is intended to serve as a sanctuary for marine life, and a beacon of hope for coral restoration initiatives.

As BREEF celebrates this significant milestone, it reaffirms its commitment to promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment for future generations. The CRSG stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and conservation in safeguarding our precious marine ecosystems.

Join BREEF in celebrating Earth Day and the 10-year anniversary of the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden by visiting to learn more about how you can contribute to ocean conservation efforts.

Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture sits at the heart of BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Shane Gross)

BREEF coral nursery at  Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Shane Gross)

Outplanted coral at the BREEF Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (photo by Shane Gross)

Bleached coral during the summer 2023 underwater heatwave. (photo by Michael Freifelds)

Spotted Eaglerays swim beside Ocean Atlas and a reef ball sculptures at CRSG (Photo by Michael Freifelds)
Virtuoso Man sculpture at CRSG (Photo by Shane Gross)
BREEF has taken thousands of students snorkelling at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden
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BREEF Announces Winners for 2024 Young Reporters for the Environment Competition

The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) announces Dejae Woods, age 19 from the University of the Bahamas as the first-place winner of the 2024 Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) National Competition. 

The winning photo entry “Confronting the Devastating Effects of Marine Pollution in The Bahamas“ calls attention to the many issues that contribute to marine pollution in The Bahamas. In her article, Ms. Woods, a UB Journalism major, highlighted the socioeconomic consequences of marine pollution.

“Marine pollution diminishes the visual appeal of beaches and coastal areas, deterring visitors and impacting local economies heavily reliant on tourism revenue,” she wrote. 

Ms. Woods will receive a brand-new laptop and a Bahamas Underwater book gifted by BREEF to support and inspire her future in environmental reporting.

Shania Higgs, age 16, wins the second place prize, a cell phone and a Bahamas Underwater book for her single photo reportage, “The Shape of Things to Come”.  The entry sheds light on the destruction of natural ecosystems like the Mangrove Wetlands under the ‘Loss of Biodiversity’ theme.

YRE Photo entry, “The Shape of Things to Come” by Shania Higgs

In third place, the Climate Change campaign video “For Our Islands, For Our Planet: Voices of The Bahamas” by Lauren Scriven, age 16, amplifies the impacts of strong hurricanes and sea level rise in The Bahamas and makes a call to action for more climate efforts. She wins an underwater camera and a Bahamas Underwater book.

Lauren Scriven calls for urgent climate action in her video Entry, “For Our Islands, For Our Planet: Voices of The Bahamas”

These three winners will now represent The Bahamas in the 2024 Young Reporters for the Environment International Competition hosted by the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE). 

BREEF commends all the YRE participants for submitting their articles, photos and videos. Entries focused on various real-time issues such as the effects of climate change in The Bahamas, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

YRE is a leadership programme that aims to empower students aged 11-25 to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about. It gives them a platform to call attention to these issues through writing, photography, or video. There are more than 350,000 young reporters in 45 countries across the world.

Speaking on behalf of the YRE programme in The Bahamas, Crystal Darling-Sargent, National Operator for the Young Reporters for the Environment, said, “The YRE programme supports youth who are passionate about the environment to give nature a voice in such a fun and creative way. The YRE National Competition is a key part of the programme, however, throughout the year students can engage with nature and feel inspired to share what they have learned as they enhance their storytelling skills through this initiative.”

When asked what motivates her to protect nature, Ms. Woods stated, “My motivation to protect nature stems from a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth. I recognize that the health of our planet directly impacts our well-being and the survival of countless species.”

The Young Reporters for the Environment programme was launched in The Bahamas with the support of Moore Bahamas Foundation, The Builders Initiative and Primat Foundation to enable children around The Bahamas to get involved with the Young Reporters for the Environment programme and take part in the international competition. 

To learn more about the Young Reporters for the Environment programme and how you can get involved, please visit

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BREEF’s Photojournalism Workshop Inspires Passionate Young Voices for Conservation

Nassau, Bahamas – The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) hosted an Environmental Journalism workshop for youth at the New Providence Community Centre under the theme, “Young Voices for Conservation”.

Our News Reporter, Marlena Leonard gives an interviewing presentation to students at YRE workshop

Thirty eco-conscious students between the ages of 11-25 participated in a range of hands-on activities geared toward improving their writing, video and photography skills. Participants learned techniques to communicate effectively through storytelling; shedding light on local environmental issues in unique and creative ways. 

The Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) event inspired students as they learned through discussions with environmental and media professionals. These experts gave inspiring presentations while showing the young participants how best to communicate authentically in the age of social media and artificial intelligence. 

Eyewitness News Videographer/Photographer Marley “Jayy” Johnson shares insights with YRE Journalism Workshop participants 

Our News Environmental Reporter,  Marlena Leonard, Eyewitness News Photographer, Marley ‘Jayy’ Johnson, Creative Writing Expert, Valene Rolle and BREEF Communications Officer Crystal Darling fully engaged students throughout the day teaching them about the importance of conservation and sustainability.

At the end of the event students crafted their very own environmental campaigns and gave presentations on either Marine Pollution, Loss of Biodiversity or Climate Change. This activity assisted students in organizing their ideas for their entries in the YRE National Competition.

Students practice photo angles with cameras in YRE Journalism Workshop photography activity

C.R. Walker student, 16 year old Jayden Adderley, said she was inspired by the event.

“I mostly liked that we were being interactive with one another, but it was very informative and I had fun learning about current environmental issues that I plan to share with others.”

Another participant, 19 year old Dominic Beneby expressed that as a young aspiring photographer he made it a point to attend the event,

Students participate in outdoor photography YRE Journalism Workshop activity

“Photography drew me into this workshop but I was also able to sharpen and build confidence in my interviewing skills,” he said.

“A Lot of the things were really hands-on and it was so good to get some fresh perspectives from the presenters,” another student, 16 year old Lauren Scriven from Lyford Cay International School said. She continued, “Maybe I’ll start making a difference in my school, maybe I’ll start a blog or add something to our school newsletter to try and inform more students in my school about this because I want to see more of us here.” 

Young Reporters for the Environment Competition Flier

Students explained that they were excited to interact with young professionals in the media and conservation field at the workshop. One of the youthful presenters, Marley “Jay” Johnson from Eyewitness News said,

“You have to connect with the students from where they are.” She continued, “Helping young people to tell their stories through photographs allows them to express themselves creatively and make long-lasting memories capturing perspectives, experiences and emotions.”

Students participate in group activity on environmental storytelling with ImproVibes Creative Educator Valene Rolle

Encouraging young people to speak up about environmental issues is essential, according to BREEF Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert. She noted that the youth are the future and will play a crucial role in creating a more sustainable future for the country.

“The Young Reporters for the Environment programme challenges young people to look at the ocean and the land around them, identify threats and solutions,  and think about effective ways of communicating about what’s going on in the world around us to drive positive change,” she said.

Students present group environmental campaign at YRE Journalism Workshop

BREEF runs the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) programme in The Bahamas. The global programme aims to empower students aged 11-25 to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about and give them a platform to call attention to these issues through the media of writing, photography, or video. There are more than 350,000 young reporters in 47 countries across the world. The deadline for the 2024 Young Reporters for the Environment competition is 14th April. 

The YRE workshop was made possible through the support of the Moore Bahamas Foundation, The Builders Initiative and Primat Foundation. To learn more about BREEF’s Young Reporters for the Environment Programme and its work in promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment, please visit or email

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