Yesterday we visited a Bio-Gas plant that processed mostly straw into Bio-Gas. Just as straw is more difficult to process for animals than grains, it is also harder to produce Bio-Gas from than manure or sugar filled waste water from breweries. The molecules that make straw stiff also make the energy contained in the straw difficult for the bacteria in a Bio-Digester to access and convert to methane gas and carbon dioxide. This plant takes the straw and grinds it into a fine powder and then mixes this powder with warm water before feeding the mixture into a 500 cubic meter Bio-Digester. Grinding the straw makes it easier for the bacteria in the digester to break it down. The other unique thing about this plant is that they recycle the water used in the digester. The digested straw powder is separated from the water mechanically and the water is recycled through the system. This also maintains a steady population of bacteria in the system and eliminates the need for mixing of the digester contents.
This project’s startup was subsidized by the government and encourages farmers in this semi- rural community to transport their waste straw to the plant instead of burning it by offering them bio- gas at production cost. Continue reading →
This is the first of many daily updates from the Caciques! “Cacique” is a Lucayan word for leader, so each day we pass off the Cacique role to two new student leaders of the day. Even after only two full days on campus, we’ve already had a handful of great experiences! One of the most notable was our float down the Current Cut, a small man-made channel with a quick current running through it. During the course of our dive, we encountered a plethora of colorful aquatic life including Nassau groupers, barracudas, nurse sharks, schoolmaster snapper, and jacks. George’s ankles have been severely bitten by bugs because he has no hair in said location. But don’t worry Mr. and Mrs. Reich, he is thriving in this uniquely humid environment, and is maintaining his perfectly coiffed hair which we all enjoy.
On a different note, the morning exercise has been both challenging and exciting. Continue reading →
This week, Deep Creek Middle School is hosting its first Book Camp. The enthusiastic campers are reading together, writing poetry, playing word games, and learning more about the publishing industry. Organized by former DCMS teacher Megan Kelly (2006 – 2010) and assisted by DCMS alumna Jhane Gibson (2011), the camp’s main texts are The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda and Wonder. Campers will interview the authors of both books, as well as the Head of Macmillan Publishing’s Caribbean Division, in order to learn more about how books are created.
The first day’s activities included creating their own Origami Yodas, designing postcards that will feature their poetry, and writing six-word memoirs to introduce themselves (it’s harder than it sounds!). A few of the awesome memoirs: “My brain means everything to me,” “I’m nice and beautiful, don’t hate,” “Sometimes the strong aren’t strong enough,” and “My headaches come from Nicki Minaj.” The fun has only just begun at Book Camp!
After many weeks of anticipation, the Summer Term 2012 students have finally arrived on campus! They spent a packed first day together, beginning with a short snorkel to a wreck off of Boys Dorm Beach. David touched a sea cucumber for the first time and Bethlehem discovered her love of sea biscuits – a small glimpse into the innumerable new discoveries awaiting each student over the course of the summer. Later in the morning, we talked about the geography of The Bahamas and Eleuthera, and then raced each other in a sustainable systems scavenger hunt as a first introduction to some of The Island School’s eco-friendly systems. Students this semester are split into “work groups” and assigned a color.
Energy levels are high and students and faculty are bursting with excitement as we hit the ground running for an intense next six weeks. Stay tuned for more from updates from the Summer Term 2012 team!
If anyone is excited about the upcoming start of Summer Term, it’s Fritter. He has been lonely these past few weeks with the absence of students on campus, and is especially excited to see so many new faces and to practice begging for his typical six meals a day. He has remained camped out on the deck, alternating between keeping an eye out for arriving students and napping in his chair.
However, Fritter is not the only one looking forward to the student’s arrival. The Summer Term team has been prepping for the past week, with new mentors running around campus discovering our sustainable systems and then venturing out to explore the island of Eleuthera. We are all ready and excited to kick off the Summer Term once all of the students are on campus. All that is left to do is wait!
We are thrilled to have UNC-Chapel Hill Morehead-Cain scholar Stephan Grabner with us this summer! Stephan joins us as the CEI Systems Intern on his third summer of the four-summer Morehead-Cain summer enrichment program. Though Stephan is a philosophy major at UNC, he will be helping Marco with biodiesel production this summer at CEI.
How does a philosophy major end up hands-on with biodiesel? For Stephan it is part of an interdisciplinary approach he is taking to find connections between sustainable development, ethics, and economics.
Stephan’s journey to Eleuthera has been a long one. Originally hailing from Vienna, Austria Stephan went on to high school at the United World College of the American West in Montezuma, in New Mexico—a small international boarding school with students from roughly 100 countries. UWC nominated Stephan for the Morehead-Cain, which had only just been opened up to international candidates.
This week, 16 summer interns arrived on Eleuthera to work at Cape Eleuthera Institute. Of those 16, we were excited to welcome back 6 Island School alumni who spent a semester, summer term, or divemaster course here on the Cape over the last 6 years. Mackey Violich (F’06), Elizabeth Douglas (S’08), Jasmine Wilchcombe (F’08), Grace Dennis (Su’10), Chris Daniell (F’10) and Jake Verter (S’09) will be here supporting the Shark and Aquaponics programs for the next two months! We’re glad to have you back!
This week, the CEO of Orvis, Perk Perkins, cruised through Cape Eleuthera. Perk is on a sabbatical from Orvis and is spending his time sailing throughout the Caribbean. He stopped by The Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute to check out the work we are doing down here. He is most interested in CEI’s research on bonefish and the study of their flats habitat. We hope to stay in touch with Perk in the future so that he may help guide us as CEI becomes a hub for flats research in The Bahamas. The next stop on his tour of the Caribbean is the Exumas and CEI’s Aaron Shultz was lucky enough to accompany him on this leg of the trip. We hope Perk comes back to visit us again soon!
After a long day and night, we are excited to announce the birth of “Bean” Broderick who was born on the evening of June 12, 9.5 pounds and 23 inches long. Though exhausted, both Odette and the new baby are recovering well. Congratulations to the proud parents, Corey and Odette. We can’t wait to meet the little guy–and find out his real name!
During the weekend of September 21-23, 2012, The Island School will be hosting its very first Monster Run-Swim. The course has been extended to encompass a more expansive network of land and sea features along the perimeter of Cape Eleuthera. Alumni, families, and friends of The Island School from close and far, please join us on-island to meet the challenge of a new course, designed to be longer, harder, and more intense than ever: more running, more swimming.
For more information about the weekend, the schedule, and course maps, please visit the Monster Run-Swim website (registration and RSVP forms to come soon!). If you have any other questions, please contact Cam Powel at email@example.com.