Mission accomplished! At least one BREEF-trained teacher in every school across the country.
Each summer since 1995, educators from across the country have had a chance to get first-hand experience in marine conservation at the BREEF Marine Conservation Teacher Training Workshop at the Gerace Research Centre on San Salvador. Immersed in experiential education, including snorkeling beautiful coral reefs and mangroves creeks, and building curriculum connections, these educators are able to more effectively engage and inspire their students. Over 600 educators have now returned to their islands and schools to share this practical experience in conservation education with their students and colleagues.
“I had to teach my 10th graders on the various ecosystems in The Bahamas. I did my best based on researched content and textbook materials, however, after completing this workshop, I felt so much more connected to the content now that I have experienced each ecosystem. I wished I had completed this workshop before I began teaching.” Trevor Johnson Jr. – Eight Mile Rock High School (Grand Bahama) 2017 participant.
The summer 2017 workshop was attended by 25 educators from around The Bahamas. During the workshop, they got to explore rocky shores, did a beach cleanup, and examined the stomach content of an albatross to see the impact plastics can have on marine life. All of the activities carried out at the workshop were aimed at providing teachers with various ways to get their students interested in the marine environment.
Lt Desiree Corneille, the Environment and Conservation officer with the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) attended this year’s workshop in San Salvador and was impressed with the depth of information shared.
“The replication of this initiative in law enforcement can be significant to increasing awareness that leads to the preservation of our natural resources and the RBDF’s ultimate mission of “Guarding our Heritage.” Lt Desiree Corneille – Environment and Conservation Officer (RBDF).
BREEFs mission of promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment that sustains our way of life is the driving force behind these workshops. Many teachers who’ve completed the workshop over the past 20 years have become leaders in getting their communities more involved with marine protection and conservation. Christine Brown, former principal at Man-O-War Primary School, Abaco, and current principal at San Salvador Primary is just one example:
“The workshop inspired me to become more active in conservation locally. I worked with my teachers, students and the community in Man-O-War Cay to make our school an eco-schools green flag school. Now that I’m in San Salvador, it’s almost like I’ve gone full circle, I’m back where my love of marine protection and conservation began so I’ll definitely get my students out exploring their beautiful natural environment.“ Christine Brown – San Salvador Primary 2016 participant.
In addition to hosting the Marine Conservation Teacher Training Workshops, BREEF also provides teachers around The Bahamas with follow-up classroom educational materials, outdoor field trips for students and in-class presentations, all focused on the marine environment.
“At BREEF, we know that our teachers have great influence over the next generation of Bahamian decision makers. We want to ensure that these educators are able to get their students excited about protecting their natural surroundings and fully engaged in hands-on learning.” Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, Executive Director – BREEF
We are grateful to our BREEF members, donors, partners, and sponsors whose generosity enabled teachers from across the country to benefit from this extraordinary professional development workshop.
Special thanks to donors from BREEFs Islands in the Stream Fundraiser and other sponsors including, Inter-American Development Bank, Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, The John Gore Organization, EFG Bank & Trust, Bahamas Waste Ltd, Lyford Cay Foundation, MacTaggart Third Foundation, Seacology, Atabey, The Nature Conservancy, Rubis and JS Johnson.