NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Under the theme “Ocean Champions”, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation summer Sea Camp programme reached greater than 100 children on the islands of Latest Windfall, Exuma, Eleuthera, and Andros.
BREEF’s annual Sea Camp is an empowering, educational, and fun experience that each child in The Bahamas must have no less than once. The camp provides hands-on experiential learning for college kids, using the natural environment as a teaching tool, and engages campers in protecting our oceans and their resources.
Sea Camp fosters a way of appreciation for the Bahamian marine environment; it inspires campers to change into environmental stewards while teaching them practical water skills to assist them safely explore Bahamian marine coastal ecosystems.
“Observing the progress of their swimming ability throughout the camp and their enthusiasm while identifying fish and coral below the surface is really a rewarding experience,” said Allison Longley, BREEF Outreach Officer, and Lead Camp Coordinator.
In total, BREEF says that over 100 children were an element of this 12 months’s programme.
One such participant was Leilah Mackey, who’s nine years old. Explaining what she learned, Mackey said “overfishing and plastics within the water is harming fish and can make them go extinct. Turtles are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of plastics”.
“I’m motivated to teach people about how they may also help so we are able to have fish for future generations,” she said.
Dale Pinder, age 14, was similarly motivated following the camp.
“Having the chance to experience the coral reefs in the course of the BREEF camp has made me wish to protect the environment much more in order that the subsequent generation can enjoy it,” Pinder said.
Ethan Cordona, age 11, said: “I even have learned that many fish species are endangered, and so fish need more protection all all over the world and never just here in The Bahamas.”
BREEF kicked off the summer of 2022 by hosting its Sea Camp programme in Latest Windfall. Through the camp, children experienced our marine environment by immersing themselves within the coral reef and mangrove ecosystems, which included a snorkel field trip to Bonefish Pond National Park, Saunders Beach, and Long Wharf Beach.
For a lot of campers, this was their very first time snorkeling. “Ocean Champions” were spotted on Saunders beach taking motion and combatting plastic pollution by conducting a beach cleanup, collecting over 40lbs of garbage, and using a few of it to create ocean conservation art.
“Leaving garbage on the bottom results in it ending up in our waters and harming our marine life. If we don’t take motion to guard our marine life, they’ll die,” said Evante Haven, age 9.
BREEF traveled to Georgetown, Exuma conducting a Sea Camp day experience filled with 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.
In Eleuthera, the highlight of the camp was a memorable snorkel trip to Twin Coves positioned in Governor’s Harbour. Throughout the week, campers learned in regards to the importance of fisheries regulations, marine protected areas, and climate change. BREEF Sea Campers also had a good time within the sun while learning about renewable energy by utilizing a solar panel to gather and store energy and power various devices.
The ultimate 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 various group of campers, including children from The Bahamas, the USA of America, and Italy. It was an amazing experience for all to have such diverse backgrounds but share a typical ground—their enthusiasm for the water. Students had a incredible time on the cay learning in regards to the Bahamian marine environment, including mangroves and coral reefs.
BREEF extends its gratitude to all its partners who hosted the camp, including Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre, Haynes Library, Kamalame Cay, BAF Global Group Ltd, and the entire BREEF volunteers who assisted in the course of the duration of the camp.
To learn more about how you’ll be able to get entangled in BREEF’s marine education programmes, please visit www.breef.org.