BREEF News

BREEF Partners with Children Around the World to Support 12 Abaco and Grand Bahama Eco-Schools

The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) is pleased to announce the disbursement of $6275.55 raised through a joint Children For Children Campaign with the Foundation For Environmental Education (FEE). The campaign was initiated in November 2019 in response to hurricane Dorian to support severely impacted Eco-Schools Bahamas students and teachers in Abaco and Grand Bahamas.

“Though born out of adversity, the Children for Children campaign united the global Eco-Schools network with the children of The Bahamas not only to show that they care but to lend their financial support to the ongoing recovery of children affected by Hurricane Dorian. We greatly appreciate the compassion of children around the world and their efforts to help children in The Bahamas recover
from Hurricane Dorian, ” says Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, Executive Director of BREEF.

During the campaign, BREEF and FEE mobilized their global network of 70 countries and 19.5 million children to unite children from around the world to promote empathy for affected Bahamian children, raise awareness of Climate Change, provide education on disaster resilience, and organize support in cash for the replacement of educational resources and materials for the 12 affected Eco-Schools in
Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Students from an Eco-School in Spain and the Czech Republic made videos that were shared on the Young /reporters for the Environment (YRE) social media platforms. Students from the Escola da Colina Educação Infantil e Ensino Fundamental in Brazil made and sold handicrafts to raise money for the Children for Children Campaign. At Escola Básica e Secundária Dr. Serafim Leite in Portugal,
students designed pencils, pins and bracelets that were sold as part of the fundraising in a combined Children for Children campaign that raised money for schools in Angola and The Bahamas. And, during the 2020-21 school year, the Wilhelm Bracke Comprehensive School in Germany held virtual sponsored fun-runs to raise money for the campaign.

The Abaco schools in the Eco-Schools Programme are Every Child Counts, Forest Heights Academy, Hope Town Primary School, Man-O-War Primary School, S.C. Bootle High School, Patrick J. Bethel High School, and Central Abaco Primary School. The Grand Bahama Eco-Schools include Bishop Michael Eldon School, Freeport Gospel Chapel School, Holmes Rock Primary School, Hugh Campbell Primary School, and Lucaya International School.

Cheques in the amount of $522.96 for each of the twelve Schools in BREEF’s Eco-Schools Bahamas programme were presented by Eco-Schools Bahamas Steering Committee members, Ms. Olethea Gardiner of Keep Grand Bahama Clean, and Ms. Lianna Burrows of Abacos’ Friends of the Environment on behalf of BREEF.

Accepting on behalf of Lucaya International School, head girl Amelia Baptista said, “ I’m overjoyed, we’re blessed to be here to accept this donation. I think it’s going to be an incredible bolster for the plans that I know we already have but have been a little hesitant to put in motion for fear of lack of support.”

Forest Heights Academy’s principal, Jim Richards said, “THANK YOU for your support of FHA and our rebuild post-Dorian and we are truly appreciative!” According to Olethea Gardiner, Co-Chair of Keep Grand Bahama Clean, “ We know that it’s been hard. We know that schools would have lost a lot of their environmental resources that they worked so hard for, especially schools that would have already gone so far within their action plans and now have to rebuild. Every little dollar helps. So, this is just a token from schools around the world.

”BREEF is the official representative for the Foundation for Environmental Education in The Bahamas and has been running the Eco-Schools Bahamas Programme since 2009, inspiring Bahamian students towards excellence in environmental stewardship by promoting actions for creating a more sustainable world.

BREEF is a non-governmental, nonprofit Bahamian foundation concerned with educating our people about the value of and need for conserving our marine environment.  BREEF promotes the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment that sustains our way of life.

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Youth in Action, Experiences from the Small Grants Programme.

BREEF’s Young Reporters for the Environment programme (YRE) and The Bahamas gains global recognition in the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP publication highlighting youth led projects.

With SGP support, more than 60 students and youth were provided with opportunities to participate in field studies, national awareness competitions and photojournalism classes. The YRE programme allowed many students across the islands to go scuba diving and snorkeling to see coral reefs and experience the underwater marine environment for the first time. Through the programme, students were able to participate in national and international conferences, publish articles on marine issues in national newspapers and conduct interviews with local media. BREEF plans to expand these opportunities to more students on the outer islands and offer more frequent capacity building and training sessions.

“Through YRE’s extensive platform, my peers and I have definitely gained an acute awareness on protecting our ecosystems and the species in our native land. I have learnt so much from BREEF – from the significance of coral reefs to the ways I can help promote sustainability and conservation of our environment. These experiences opened new doors for me and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in BREEF events.” – Kaitlyn Archer, Young Reporter for the Environment student. 

Kaitlyn Archer, St Anne’s School interview with ZNS about the importance of preserving and protecting coral reefs.

To learn more about BREEF’s YRE programme visit https://breef.org/index.php/what-we-do/youth-environmental-education/yre/  

 @YREInt @YRE @gef #yre #breef242 #youthmatter242#oceanconservation #givenatureavoice  #FEE #YREInt #youngreporters #yrecompetition #communityactiondays

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Letter to the Editor- Hoping We Choose A Sustainable Future

Editor, The Tribune.

I am Promise Russell, and I am a Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholar. This programme aims to train youth like me into becoming the next generation of environmental stewards.

My love for the ocean existed from a young age. At the beginning of 10th grade I went on my very first snorkel in the ocean. The beautiful variety of marine life around me and the weightless feeling of the water enveloping my being made me fall in love with the oceanic world. Around this time I became a lot more aware of environmental issues surrounding us.

There’s a special beach in West Grand Bahama where I lived, my family would go there often. You can see many boats like cruise ships, mail boats and sadly oil tankers come in from here. Over time I saw ship traffic increase and people visiting the beach and tourism decrease.

I wonder why oil spills are tolerated, especially in our country where we rely on our reefs for protection and income. I realize it’s because most Bahamians do not know the effects of an oil spill to our marine environment and just how crucial our ocean is to our survival.

Oil is a deadly substance, I’m sure no one would want to ingest it accidentally while swimming.

So why would marine life? Bahamian waters are home to many species that beach for air, such as whales, turtles, and dolphins. Also, sea birds which sometimes dive into or lay on top of the water.

These animals do not know the dangers of ingesting oil until it is too late. It affects their immune system, their lungs, and their reproductive ability.

Tiny fishes can also accidentally ingest oil while trying to eat phytoplankton (microscopic algae/plants) and zooplankton (microscopic animals) which are on the surface of the water. If these marine animals do survive ingesting oil they are then eaten by a predator or bigger fish, which in turn are eaten by their predator. Soon, these infected species are eaten by us, the top of the food chain.

The Bahamas isn’t the only place oil spills can and have occurred. Because all of our oceans are connected we are all affected by any oil spill.

Also, we are experiencing more frequent and intense hurricanes, sea level rise, coral bleaching, blazing temperatures, and toxic food.

All these things are results of Climate Change and use of fossil fuels.

This is not an ideal situation if the health of the Bahamian people and the tourists in our waters are a priority.

One huge oil spill that happened in Grand Bahama during Hurricane Dorian was the oil spill from South Riding Point, which has still not been cleaned up completely.

At the time of this spill, I and many other Bahamians were not aware of just how devastating this was.

This week there is a gathering of world leaders called COP 26, which is short for Conference of Parties. Here leaders from across the globe will discuss issues stopping their countries from curbing emissions of CO2 and other harmful gases. This is one of the most important gatherings to Combat Climate change because those in charge of doing something about it can finally put their heads together and get it done. Our job is to make sure our leaders know and understand the importance of protecting our ocean and marine life.

How can we ask other countries for financial support to combat climate change when we are not using our provided renewable energy?

The future of our country is in our own hands and I hope that we will choose a sustainable future and not a disastrous one that we will not be able to come back from.

I implore my Bahamian people, especially my fellow youth, to protect the ocean that takes care of us. For when it is gone, it is gone for good.

No amount of money can bring back a dead ocean.

This is our responsibility as citizens of this nation and children of this earth.

PROMISE RUSSELL

Nassau,

November 11, 2021.

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BREEF Underscores Safeguarding Bahamian Biodiversity at its 2021 Virtual Eco-Schools Bahamas Coordinators Workshop.

Under the theme, Safeguarding Bahamian Biodiversity, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) held its second virtual Eco-Schools Bahamas Coordinators Workshop to promote the importance of protecting biodiversity and environmental sustainability in The Bahamas.  The   Eco-Schools Bahamas Programme is part of Eco-Schools Global, the largest sustainable schools programme in the world, supporting student environmental leaders in over 68 countries. 

During her opening remarks Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, BREEF’s Executive Director said, “To date, BREEF’s Eco-Schools Bahamas Programme has grown from seven schools in the pilot programme to 38 government and private schools including four schools that registered during theCovid-19 pandemic.  Safeguarding Bahamian Biodiversity is a priority because it is essential to protecting our wellbeing and way of life in The Bahamas.”

Photo 1: Deep Creek Middle Schools student displaying her surgeonfish project in their School Without Walls programme 

The annual workshop was convened again this year from October 6-8th and included  three expert speakers who shared their knowledge and advice about Bahamian Biodiversity.  Dr. Nick Higgs, Director of Research and Innovation, Cape Eleuthera Island School kicked off the event with a comprehensive presentation on “Marine Biodiversity.”  Dr. Higgs concluded his presentation by saying, “One of the best things we can do to protect biodiversity is supporting the creation of Marine Protected Areas.”

Photo 2: Former  Eco-Schools Coordinator, Mr. Patrick Douglas (1st right) and students of C. I. Gibson Senior High School keeping our oceans clean through beach clean ups 

During day two, participants learned about the significant relationship between taxonomy and conservation from Dr. Ethan Freid, Botanist at The Bahamas National and Trust Leon Levy Plant Preserve, in Governor’s Harbour Eleuthera.  Dr. Freid’s presentation entitled, “Plant Diversity and the Lucayan Archipelago,” highlighted the evolution of plants, and the importance of plant biodiversity globally and in the Lucayan Archipelago in particular (The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands).

Photo 3: Students at Bishop Michael Eldon School promoting gardening through a seedling sale 

Dr. Selima Hauber, Agricultural Education and Outreach Officer for the Centre for Training & Innovation,  One Eleuthera Foundation was the final keynote speaker on day three.  Dr. Hauber’s inspiring  presentation, “Re-embracing heritage crops to achieve food security and improve health in a warming climate,” examined the impact that lifestyle choices, like diet, has on our health and the benefits of growing and consuming Bahamian heritage crops.  “It was a pleasure to share this information with our nation’s educators, and I am grateful to BREEF for its long-standing role in education!” said Dr. Hauber.

Photo 4: Harbour Island Green School students enjoying healthy lunches to help achieve their Healthy Living 

Eco-Schools goal

Asked about what she thought of the event, Hazel Collette-Adams, Eco-Schools Bahamas’ newest coordinator from The Beacon School on Grand Bahamas said, “Excellent information-rich presentation.  Awareness is the first step to ignite action to safeguard Bahamian biodiversity.”

According to Kevin Glinton, BREEF’s Education Coordinator and Eco-Schools Bahamas National Operator, “I am privileged to work with an awesome group of dedicated and inspiring educators and volunteers who continue to pursue excellence in environmental education and environmental stewardship in our children.  Throughout this pandemic, they have shown their resilience and  adaptability by embracing many challenges and turning them into opportunities for creativity and learning.” 

BREEF has been running Eco-Schools in The Bahamas since 2009.  Eco-Schools Bahamas is part of the international award programme developed in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education.   The Eco-Schools Bahamas programme promotes environmental stewardship by creating an awareness of local and global environmental challenges.  Through a  simple,  seven-step process  Eco-Schools empowers children to take action for the environment  by engaging them in fun,  action-oriented learning, and community outreach activities.  Presently, BREEF’s network consists of 38 government private schools spread over six islands of The Bahamas.

Schools interesting in learning more about Eco-Schools Bahamas and how to register can call BREEF’s office at 242-327-9000 or email ecoschoolsbahamas@breef.org 

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MY ALIV, MY ISLAND

BREEF and ALIV Bahamas teamed up to combat plastic pollution by conducting an impactful beach clean-up this past Saturday. 

Plastic pollution in the ocean has become a global problem for both humans and marine life. BREEF’s community outreach programme assists organizations and schools get involved protecting and restoring the ocean.

Beach clean-ups are just one part of the solution. In order to achieve a true change we must stop the use of unnecessary single-use plastic items and packaging by opting for sustainable alternatives.

It is going to take all of us working together across private and public sectors along with the general public to see the change that’s needed to stop coastal and marine pollution for good.

For more information on how you can help protect and restore our ocean please contact breef@breef.org.

#breef242 #alivbahamas #beachcleanup #restore #protect #coralreefs

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BREEF’s ‘Restore Our Ocean, Protect Our Future’ Short Film Makes Waves with Rolex Perpetual Planet

BREEF is thrilled to join ocean heroes such as Dr. Sylvia Earle as Rolex highlights BREEF’s work to protect coral reefs through the Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative. BREEF’s award-winning short film is now featured on the Rolex.org website.

Coral reefs are under serious threat and are especially vulnerable to warming waters due to human-induced climate change. Globally, 80% of live corals have died in the last 50 years. Human actions have already caused 1C of this global warming which has resulted in impacts such as the climate-fueled Hurricane Dorian. If global warming exceeds 1.5C, small island states, particularly low-lying archipelagic nations like The Bahamas, will be even more at risk.

Restoring and protecting coral reefs is very important for the health of the marine environment and our livelihood. A structurally diverse reef can provide a multitude of habitats for species. Healthy reefs also reduce wave energy by 95%, protecting our coasts during major storms.

“We are honoured  to be recognised  by Rolex’s Perpetual Planet Initiative as we share the wonders of the underwater world with children who live in our archipelago. Through our Eco-Schools programme we are  able to reach young people in The Bahamas and around the world and inspire local and global action. We are working on the ground to protect and restore our coral reefs and the tremendous biodiversity they contain. This short film is an inspiration and a reminder to us all of our responsibility to protect the marine environment especially in the face of a changing world.” -Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, BREEF Executive Director.

In addition, the inspiring short film highlights the BREEF Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden & Coral Nursery.  The garden is home to “Ocean Atlas” – the world’s largest underwater sculpture and it is used as an underwater classroom, created to draw attention to the threats facing our coral reefs, and to drive action to protect them.

To learn more about how you can help restore and help protect our precious marine ecosystems, visit https://breef.org/index.php/donate/adopt-a-coral/

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World Cleanup Day; BREEF Partners with Love Brand & CO

BREEF teamed up with LOVE BRAND & Co. to combat plastic pollution by conducting a beach cleanup.


Love Brand & Co is a proud member of ‘1% For the Planet’ movement. Each year they support conservation initiatives helping ensure the survival of some of the most vulnerable species and habitats on earth. 

Every year thousands of tons of garbage winds up in the oceans, with at least 60% of that being composed of plastic material. Plastics, especially, last a very long time in the ocean and are in such abundance that there are 46,000 individual pieces of plastic litter for every square mile of ocean! 

Plastics are extremely hazardous to marine life, coral reefs and negatively impacts tourism, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of Bahamians.

Because the oceans are in such a dire situation, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has seen fit to organize The Ocean Decade for the 2020s. This effort educates and coordinates individuals, governments and corporations to work together toward cleaning up the oceans in a variety of ways.

Together we can all take an active role in the preservation and conservation of our marine ecosystems.

If you would like to join BREEF and communities around the world taking action against plastic pollution, download BREEF’s Beach Cleanup Guide and organize your very own cleanup today!


#breef242 #lovebrandco #coastalcleanup #worldcleanupday #communityaction #togetherwecan #climateaction #bluebahamas

Source: https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/coastal-cleanup-day/

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The Queen Conch- A Bahamian Treasure with an Updated Scientific Name


The Queen conch is important to Bahamian culture. It has been used for centuries for food, decoration, jewelry, bait for fishing, and even as a musical instrument.

A Bahamian treasure by any name, its scientific name is now Aliger gigas, originally known as Strombus gigas or more recently as Lobatus gigas. Periodically species can be renamed when further information becomes available for their reclassification. Aliger is a genus of sea snails, marine
gastropod mollusks are in the family Strombidae.

Sadly, conch populations around the region have collapsed due to over-harvesting and harvesting of juveniles. Conch is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITIES). The Bahamas is actively working to protect the country’s conch population for
current and future generations. As a reminder to all fishers, a conch must have a well-formed, flared lip to be harvested. We ask the public to support Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that serve as replenishment zones, and only
purchase and consume sustainably harvested seafood.

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BREEF Partners with AimHi Earth; Offering FREE Access to Climate Education.

BREEF is pleased to announce their partnership with AimHi Earth to offer free access to the empowering, solutions-focused course, ‘Climate, Nature, and how to make a difference.’ 

 “At BREEF, we believe that an educated and aware public will call for action to protect the world around us. We are delighted to be able to collaborate with AimHi to offer this free online course to Bahamian schools and children of all ages,” says Kevin Glinton, Eco-Schools Bahamas National Operator.

With 95% of our territory underwater, and our highest point reaching only 206 feet above sea level, The Bahamas and our fragile ecosystem are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our Bahamian youth to connect with other like-minded students from different countries and discuss solutions to national and global environmental issues.” Allison Longley, Young Reporters for the Environment National Operator.

Backed by the likes of the United Nations Environment Programme, the University of Cambridge and Dr. Jane Goodall, this course brings together the expertise of top-level scientists and educators and incorporates a deep understanding of behavioral psychology, accessible and relatable narratives and a clear focus on solutions and what can (and must) be done. 

Sign up for the 4-part course, streaming live and online at 2 pm EST on Mondays starting 20th September:  http://aimhi.earth/climate-course
Use promo code BREEF at checkout for a free ticket! 

*This offer is available to all Bahamian students, educators, and to all students globally affiliated with the Eco-Schools and Young Reporter for the Environment programme.

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BREEF Presents 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, our First Ever Online Auction!

Click image to visit Online Auction website

BREEF is happy to announce 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, our first ever online auction! Through this fundraising initiative, we aim to raise funding enabling us to continue our ongoing education and research programmes. Dollars raised through the online auction help to support present and future generations of students, families, scientists, educators and guardians helping to preserve our precious oceans and coastlines.

We are inviting you to share BREEF’s love for the beautiful Bahamian oceans by buying a ‘virtual ticket’ and holding your own special COVID-safe dinner (following locally relevant COVID restrictions).

The ticket donations replace funds we would normally raise through attendance tickets at our BREEF Ball and instead go directly to support our ‘Adopt a Coral’ initiative, growing and nurturing our two coral nurseries at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and on the Andros Great Barrier Reef.

The virtual tickets are available to purchase now on our ‘Virtual Ticket’ page.

The online auction goes live on World Oceans Day (Tuesday, June 8th 2021) and closes on Wednesday June 30th! We encourage you to bid on these generously donated items.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT ONLINE AUCTION WEBSITE!

For information about the auction items and delivery (if relevant) please contact events@breef.org.

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