Category Archives: Cape Eleuthera Institute

HIOBS group prepares to head out

The HIOBS team in the Cape Eleuthera waters
The HIOBS team in Cape Eleuthera waters

Today marks the start of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound Maine to Bahamas sailing expedition to the Exuma Cays! After 10 days on campus learning about sustainability, the marine environment, and research skills, the students are ready to embark on their 18-day research expedition. They’ve also participated in many service projects over the past week with Deep Creek Middle School. From helping out with after-school sports and the Open Learning Center, to  facilitating team building activities and a beach cleanup, to helping out at the community garden, these students have made a huge impact on our community!

Working at the community garden in Deep Creek
Working at the community garden in Deep Creek

Here’s a quick note from the students about their time here thus far and what their expedition to the Exumas will bring:

“Our trip to The Island School and the Cape Eleuthera Institute is part of an Outward Bound 80 day Environmental Science gap year program. The Island School has not only been a great experience but also an amazing learning environment. The lifestyle at the Island School included ideals and ethics that are similar to those of Outward Bound and to our own. The efforts for sustainable living became a huge part of daily life on campus. From taking navy showers (60 second showers) to an intricate aquaponics system, the efforts made here to save our world for further generations is inspiring.

Another part of daily life here is a daily early morning workout, which is sometimes difficult but vital. These workouts boost both our physical health and advance our work towards a final goal of a 1.7 mile swim.

Exploring the wonders of Eleuthera
Exploring the wonders of Eleuthera

Hands-on learning is emphasized at the Island School. Our lessons include snorkeling, swimming, research, and engaging lessons with PhD scientists. The enthusiasm around this type of learning was both fun and effective, we all leave the classroom with a common understanding of the state of the world. These experiences provided us with a new way of learning and challenged us to apply our newfound knowledge.

The main portion of our expedition will be focused on adding to a long-term data set monitoring the health of reefs in The Bahamas. We, as a group, have been trained in research skills while on campus and are embarking on our 18 day sailing voyage, during which we will apply our new skills throughout the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. One group will be focusing on the growth, population, and health of Elkhorn Coral (a vital part of the coral reef ecosystem) in the Exumas, while the other will collect data on fish populations in the reefs. We are extremely excited and can’t wait to experience this new type of expedition and apply our new knowledge!”

The HIOBS team on Glass Window Bridge in Northern Eleuthera
The HIOBS team on Glass Window Bridge in Northern Eleuthera


First Island School Alumni Wedding! Congratulations to Cameron and Wes Mize!

Back in the Summer of 2007, Cameron Powel, Fall 2004, and Wes Mize, Spring 2006, both decided to return to a place they love as summer interns. Before Island School internships revolved around specific research fields, Cameron and Wes spent most of their summer building reef balls. As coral blossomed on their newly constructed homes, a love blossomed between Cameron and Wes. Though Cameron headed to Bates College and Wes to Virginia Tech, the two maintained their relationship until they were joined back together in Boston, MA, where the couple lives now.

Cam and  Wes as interns in 2007


Cameron and Wes wed on June 18, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. With the sound of steel drums and Kalik bottles opening, the couple brought every detail of the wedding back to Eleuthera, including having the island stitched on the groomsmen’s ties! As our first marriage between two alumni, Cameron and Wes were joined by many Island School friends.
We wish Cameron and Wes Mize a lifetime of happiness and love, full of sun, sand and sea!
Kirtland Country Club wedding photography with Cameron and Wes
Kirtland Country Club wedding photography with Cameron and Wes
Kirtland Country Club wedding photography with Cameron and Wes

You completed us!

5 years ago, we set out with an eye on July 1, 2016. We dreamed big. You believed in us. The Sharing Solutions fundraising campaign was launched with a Big, Audacious Goal and a belief that a small dedicated group of people can change the world. You did it!

What did you accomplish in the last 5 years? Since July 2011 Island School turned 15 years old, graduated its 1,500th leader, and Deep Creek Middle School graduated its 150th. You helped us finish building our science research campus and Cape Eleuthera Institute turned 10 years old. We’ve hosted thousands of students on short courses and internships – some of whom kept coming back up to 10 different times! You helped us save for a rainy day. You made sure that a third of families in each semester had the financial aid support to make their experience possible. You helped us start an Early Learning Center on campus and our engineering and communications teachers got a home and space to do their work. You helped us upgrade our boat and van fleet. You more than tripled our endowment to $6 million. You helped us invest in people and businesses here in South Eleuthera, and launch teachers and staff off into new careers. You met the overall goal of $15 million to make all of this possible – and surpassed it by over 30% through commitments in place for the next 5 years. Many of you through Sharing Solutions have invested and pledged to secure 10 full years of financial aid, professional development, and great educational experiences – over more than half of the life of our young endeavor.

Each gift helped – over 5,000 different times you made a choice in the last 5 years to make sure we thrive and grow and achieve all that you believed we could do.

Your legacy is profound. We are honored and tremendously grateful. Please come see what you’ve done – and help us celebrate in the coming year!

From Chris and Pam and the extended Island School family,
Thank you!

IS BESS students talk ponds at conferences

Christian McIntosh, a BESS scholar and a Fall 15 Inland Ponds Research Class student, recently presented the group’s work at the Abaco Science Alliance Conference.  This conference is a biannual event hosted by Friends of the Environment, where Christian is currently interning.  The conference invites scientists to present their work and findings to fellow scientists, as well as the local community and school groups.  Christian talked with passion about the unique life he found in the ponds of Eleuthera during his research class.

Christian McIntosh presenting at the Abaco Science Alliance Conference

Exciting news just in – last week Andrieka Burrows, fellow BESS scholar and Fall 15 Island School student, had her abstract accepted to present more ponds research at the Bahamas Natural History Conference this March. The goal of the conference is to inspire new avenues of research and cooperation across disciplines while highlighting the benefits of research of the environment, economy and human society of The Bahamas.  We are sure Andrieka will do an excellent job and create more interest and support for the conservation of these understudied and fragile systems.

Andrieka Burrows at work collecting data on inland ponds

We are very proud of our young scientists, Christian and Andrieka, and hope this is the start of not only the protection of anchialine systems, but the beginning of long careers in the conservation of The Bahamas’ natural resources.

If you would like to find out more about the Island School research, check out the posters published online by the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.

Island School students in the field assessing a pond and the life within

Island School Research Projects by Andrieka Burrows

All nine research groups here at The Island School have different components that make them unique to their purpose of study, and very interesting to those who are partaking in them. Island School students team up with CEI researchers and interns who come from international backgrounds and strive for excellence in their particular fields of study.

From gathering information on a diverse range of landlocked anchialine ponds to catching deep sea sharks five kilometres offshore, research at the Island School doesn’t only provide answers to unsolved scientific mysteries, but also allows Island School students to develop an intimate relationship with science research as it coincides with “hands on education.”

Ponds Assessment

There are approximately 200+ Anchialine ponds on Eleuthera, yet, there is very little information about these ponds in scientific publications. The inland ponds are unique in their structure and thriving ecosystems that often contain endemic life. The large number of unique species in the ponds are a result of the isolation and the environmental conditions of each ecosystem. Inspired by the seahorses found in one pond, researchers at CEI set out to explore the other ponds on the island. In this research project, baseline information on the water quality, the level of human disturbance and the life present is collected at each pond site. This information will help to support future conservation efforts.

Deep Sea Sharks

Deep-sea shark populations are under global threat due to human activity such as fishing and mining. Therefore studies must be conducted in an attempt to understand deep sea sharks. The group aims to investigate vertical habitat use in Exuma Sound’s deep-sea sharks using satellite tags which record 2 minute resolution, temperature and depth data for each subject. The three target species are Cuban dogfish, Bigeye Sixgills, and Gulper Sharks. Animals are caught on 800 – 850 meter longlines before being brought up to the boat, at which time a satellite tag is attached through the animal’s dorsal fin.The animals are then released in an anti-predation release cage. This work will identify depth boundaries and vertical habitat use in cosmopolitan deep-sea sharks providing useful baseline data for management and policy.


It is obvious that when a fish is captured multiple times it can begin to experience physiological behavioural changes. This research group has set out to study the physiological and behavioral effects of multiple captures and angling events on bonefish. The group also studies how bonefish can recognize and potentially avoid hooks. This study aims to determine how increasing angling pressure and the resulting repeated capture events can affect individual bonefish.

Lemon Shark Physiology

This group of researchers is concerned with how longline gear modifications affect lemon sharks’ stress levels and behavior. To study this, the lemon shark team goes to tidal mangrove creeks to collect juvenile lemon sharks using block/spot seining techniques. After capture, the lemon sharks are brought back to the wet lab at CEI where they are caught in experimental longline tanks. The shark’s stress and behavior are measured by drawing blood and using accelerometer tags, respectively. It is hypothesized that giving sharks more room to swim when caught will affect their stress levels and behavior to a lesser degree.

Bahamian Knowledge of Turtles

There are two sea turtle projects that are conducted here at the Cape Eleuthera Island School. The first examines the social relationship between Bahamians and sea turtle. This is a new project in which the research team speaks with Bahamians to get a better understanding of Bahamian knowledge on sea turtles, sea turtle conservation, and understanding Bahamians’ perceptions of sea turtles and sea turtle conservation, particularly in regards to the 2009 ban on harvesting sea turtles. This involves interviewing Bahamians across different settlements on Eleuthera and recording their responses. This team also conducts in-water abundance surveys to align Bahamian knowledge with sea turtle abundance in different creeks across South Eleuthera.

Green Turtle Habitat Use

In this turtle group, researchers focus on tracking tagged juvenile green sea turtles in an attempt to map each turtle’s home range based on size class. Each tag emits a beeping pattern, unique to each individual, that allows researchers to monitor their movements using a technique called acoustic telemetry. Once individual turtles are located and spotted, a GPS point is recorded in order to create a map that indicates the individual home range area of each turtle. This work will help us better understand juvenile green sea turtles habitat use and help managers more effectively protect this endangered species.


The Stingray Research Team is one of the most intense, exciting research groups here on campus. This could be because the team is constantly in the field chasing and catching stingrays to assess their occupation of space and the differences in habitat specificity of two co-occurring species. When the stingrays are caught, measurements and tissues samples are taken and the animals are tagged to determine long-term site fidelity. The study is vitally important to The Bahamas since this information is not yet known and many habitats critical to life-history of stingrays are degraded or encroached upon. This work will highlight the importance of coastal and nearshore ecosystems to this meso-predator and provide frameworks for conservation and management.

Queen Conch

The queen conch, is a culturally, economically and ecologically important species. There is a need for an up-to-date assessment of conch nursery grounds locally as data collected by CEI & Island School shows declines in adult mating pairs and an increase in the harvest of juveniles. In an effort to produce this information the conch team goes out on a boat and tows two people behind, students count the conch and determine their life stage. This research is important as it will help inform future marine resource management decision making.


Last but not least we have the plastics research group. This team normally goes to sea on “The Cobia” to quantify plastic pollution from the Exuma Sound, as well as whether or not fish, such as dolphinfish, tunas, and wahoo, are ingesting plastics. The team pulls a trawl, or a net, behind the boat to collect macro and micro plastics alike. In addition to collecting plastic from the sea, the team also collects fish from local fishermen or from trolling for subsequent dissection and analysis of their stomach contents in order to identify whether fish commonly harvested for human consumption ingest plastic. It is obvious that marine organisms are negatively affected by pollution, but this team is on a mission to find out whether or not plastic pollution is making its way onto our dinner plates!

The Island School prepares for hurricane Joaquin

We continue to prepare this week for hurricane Joaquin. Boats are out of the water, shutters are going on windows, and outdoor activities are abbreviated even as indoor classes continued Thursday morning. Our campus leadership team met again this morning to finalize plans through the weekend, which include assigning people and resources to designated buildings so everyone can shelter in place as the wind and rain intensify over the coming days.

IS started the day with AMX and circled up before chores and final hurricane prep around campus
IS started the day with AMX and circled up before chores and final hurricane prep around campus

As is customary, we have been watching this and the other storms of the season, and have stocks of food and water, medical supplies and equipment in place, and are ready to respond to needs in the wider community if we are called on. We are carefully monitoring the forecasts of the storm track and intensity, as well as tides and storm surge projections, and have made higher ground or second floor sleeping arrangements in Deep Creek and on campus for employees and students as a precaution, according to our established hurricane protocols. This is a powerful storm with high winds and rainfall expected, and storm surge possible, and out of an abundance of caution, we are taking all reasonable measures.

IS students, faculty and staff help to get the dining hall safe and ready.
IS students, faculty and staff help to get the dining hall safe and ready.

During and after past storms regular internet, phone, and utility power services are interrupted, and we have backup power and communications systems in place. We expect that our Boston-based team will receiving updates from campus throughout, and posting them to our Facebook page and to our blog which is the best place to look for updates.

To reach our team about specific concerns please email us at or call our US office number at (609) 620-6700. We appreciate all of the well wishes and good energy people have been sending to us. Please look for more updates daily here.

Anderson Cabot Family Leadership Gift takes Sharing Solutions Campaign to the Crest of the Wave

Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot with Chris Maxey at the Anderson Cabot Hall dedication ceremony.
Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot with Chris Maxey at the Anderson Cabot Hall dedication ceremony.

Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot step up to the top of our giving pyramid with a $2 MM total pledge. In addition to helping us build the new Anderson Cabot Graduate Hall, the new leadership pledge allows us to focus on our campaign promise to Share Solutions. The commitment will help us leverage over $1 MM toward our endowment and $350 k toward developing a communications journey that will enable the school to share best practices with a wider community. In addition, funds have been allotted to collaborate with From the Bow Seat and help build awareness around the serious global challenge of plastic pollution in our oceans. Lastly, there is an effort to develop a film that can help call attention to the successful model and power of experiential and collaborative learning. In the gift letter Linda sums up their desired outcomes,

“Ed and I believe in the Island School mission and the transformational power of experiential learning. At the Island School students tackle real world sustainability issues, conduct independent research, engage in collaborative learning and challenge their personal best. These powerful experiences develop meaningful skills that will help students thrive in the real world and protect our natural environment. This is why we are proud to make a gift that will help sustain the curriculum and enable the school to inspire and share best practices with learning communities around the globe. We hope our actions inspire others to give generously as we believe that community efforts yield the largest and most positive effects”.

Linda Cabot cuts the ribbon and welcomes everyone to Anderson Cabot Hall.

Ed and Linda’s leadership comes at a pivotal moment in our history as we look down the last year of our five-year campaign. With their gift we are approaching $17 MM and feel confident to be able to announce now that our new campaign goal is $20 MM. Mary Kate Barnes, Island School parent, Board Vice Chairman and Chair of our campaign shares, “It is amazing to witness a young school embark on a bold first campaign effort with the potential to stride so far past goal. Much of this effort is designed to build an endowment and strategic sustainable fiscal plan that looks out generations. I am also proud of the young development team, Mary Assini Sp 00 and Cameron Powel Fall ’04, both alumni living the mission of The Island School — Leadership Effecting Change.” The Cape Eleuthera Foundation Board thanks Ed and Linda for believing in us and helping The Island School strive towards a new level of sharing.

Both Ed and Linda are proud to say that their daughters Georgianna Sp ’11 and Noelle Sp ’13 both graduated as Class Caciques and to this day lean back on The Island School experience as the most transformative time on their journey through school.

The Island School Partners With Hurricane Island Outward Bound to Offer Sailing Expeditions

Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) is partnering with The Island School to launch an expeditionary sailing program to be operated out of The Island School’s campus in Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Thanks to seed funding from the Mactaggart Third Fund, the two organizations are looking forward to hosting groups and students starting in 2016.


In 2012, The Island School developed the concept of a sailing program. After deciding a partnership was the best option, The Island School was introduced to HIOBS’ Executive Director Eric Denny in 2013. It was in May 2015 when the dream took shape when a veteran crew from HIOBS sailed on an epic expedition from Florida, across the Gulf Stream and the Bahamas Bank to Eleuthera to deliver two sailboats, Avelinda and Eliza Sue, to The Island School’s Cape Eleuthera campus. Avelinda and Eliza Sue are 30-foot twin masted sailboats designed to sail quickly and navigate into shallow waters with extractable center boards. In keeping with the “human-powered” expedition ethos of Outward Bound, these open boats are oar powered by students when there is little wind. Designed and built specifically for Outward Bound, the boats can carry up to 8 participants and 2 instructors and will allow expeditions to sail out across the Exuma Sound to the Exuma Sound to the Exuma Land and Sea Park, the oldest marine protected area in the world.


“I see this partnership as a model for non-profits in the coming decade,” states Denny. “It brings two world-class organizations together to share their complementary areas of expertise to create an exceptional program that neither organization could accomplish on its own.”


The first step in this partnership is to integrate sailing into the existing expeditionary curriculum of The Island School’s 100-day fall and spring semesters and Gap Year program beginning fall 2015. In 2016, HIOBS and Island School will launch a 21-day expedition that includes sailing, exploring and studying around Eleuthera’s neighboring islands. The trip will include research, a coastal marine ecology and conservation course, focus on island sustainability, teach seamanship and leadership skills, and allow for team and leadership development.


About Hurricane Island Outward Bound

Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization and expedition school that serves people of all ages and backgrounds through active learning expeditions that inspire character development, self-discovery and service both in and out of the classroom. Outward Bound delivers programs using unfamiliar settings as a way for participants across the country to experience adventure and challenge in a way that helps students realize they can do more than they thought possible. The organization established its first sea-based school on the coast of Maine in 1964. Hurricane Island, a remote island approximately 75 miles northeast of Portland, served as the summer base camp for sailing, sea kayaking, and rock climbing programs. For more information, visit

CEI’s Anderson-Cabot Hall for Graduate Studies Opens to Create More Opportunities for Bahamians in Research

On Friday June 5th, Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) hosted a ribbon cutting on their newest building, Anderson-Cabot Hall for Graduate Studies.  The grand opening was held during the SEA Change Youth Summit hosted by The Island School in partnership with 5Gyres and Jack Johnson.  Government officials, staff, students, and school supporters gathered to celebrate with an official ribbon cutting ceremony which featured speakers involved in the building’s creation, as well as its future. Chris Maxey, co-founder of The Island School, began the event by celebrating the growth of the organization and introduced Aaron Shultz, Director of Cape Eleuthera Institute.


Shultz explained the importance of Anderson-Cabot Hall not only to CEI’s campus, but also to the island of Eleuthera and the greater Bahamas. “CEI is a major hub for research, education, and outreach.  Our dorms serve over 1000 local and international students annually. Hallig House hosts professors, government officials, and short-course leaders.  The missing link has been a place for graduate students and interns to live and work on campus.  The Anderson-Cabot Hall will be the hub for the best and brightest local Bahamian and international graduate students in the Greater Caribbean Region.“

Shultz then introduced Alexio Brown, College of the Bahamas graduate, CEI Research Assistant and former BESS student at The Island School. Brown spoke about the opportunities that this building now opens up for Bahamian students like himself who aspire to pursue a career in the marine sciences. “Anderson-Cabot Halls allows me the opportunity to stay in The Bahamas and make a difference in the future of my country. There aren’t many places that offer this type of opportunity for young Bahamians in science like me.” As Shultz shared in his remarks, “Anderson-Cabot Hall is the first higher education facility built to support local and international graduate students in The Bahamas.”

In attendance was long-time supporter of the Cape Eleuthera Island School, John Dunagan, who dedicated the building to John “Giant” Norris Carey, builder and mentor. Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot, the primary financial contributors and for whom the building is named after, were present to cut the ribbon on the building and spoke to honor its opening.


As two-time Island School parents, The Anderson-Cabots told the crowd their motivation for supporting CEI’s newest building project. “Both our daughters Gigi (S’11) and Noelle (S’13) attended The Island School and had transformative experiences, that have been the cornerstones of their education. They returned home from the Cape as empowered young women; aware, excited and skilled to make an impact in their worlds,” shared Cabot. This building as a priority for Ed Anderson and Linda Cabot so that the Cape Eleuthera Institute could expand to reach more graduate students and eventually become, as Ed Anderson said, “the Wood’s Hole of the Caribbean.”


The opening concluded with remarks from Minister of Education, the Honorable Jermone Fizgerald and a luncheon honoring special guests, as well as the Carey Construction crew who built the Hall.