The idea of a Gap Year is to take a step back to view the big picture. To take a step back to look at where you’ve come from, where you’ve gone and see where you’d like to go. To take a step back so you can take the right steps forward.
The program here came to an end last week, culminating in the students Demonstration of Learning and Graduation ceremony. Over the past nine weeks Eryn, Ryan and Jordan have made profound change in their own lives and of those surrounding them.
All of the things that were accomplished by these amazing individuals are difficult to quantify with words, however a list of all the things we delved into over the program might suffice:
Taking marine ecology classes
Teaching an environmental issue class of their own
Taking a human ecology class
Community service projects
Down Island camping trip, experiencing a sense of place on Eleuthera
Community outreach at the Deep Creek Middle School
Conducting the Fall 2013 shallow water conch surveys
Adventuring on 5 day Kayak expedition
Being part of a research team as an intern for three weeks
Getting both Open Water and Advanced Scuba certified
Presenting their learning to the wider community
They have each proved themselves in both a personal and professional setting, being part of the community family and involved with the research facility. During the student’s demonstration of learning it was clear how much they are taking from the program. The diverse learnings of each student are a testament to each of their personal challenges and growth.
We would like to wish the Gap Year Team of Fall 2013 all the luck in the world as they move onto other endeavors and experiences, we hope you take what you learned here and build upon it. You are the game changers.
If you’re interested in joining the Gap Year Team of Spring 2014 or learning more about the Gap Year program in general, you can find out more on our website; http://www.ceibahamas.org/gap-year.aspx.
Cape Eleuthera Institute said goodbye this week to SeaTrek, a group of students aboard a sailing, scuba, and marine biology expedition. They kept a very detailed blog during their time at CEI–check it out here!
For those of you hoping to watch your child’s research presentation again, you’re in luck! We have posted all of the Parents Weekend Research Presentations on YouTube for you and your son or daughter to enjoy. All of the presentations can be found on the CEI YouTube Channel homepage here.
During kayak rotations this term, students had the chance to do what we call an ‘Intensive’ for Human Ecology class. Students focused on one project to develop the viable solutions, skills, and knowledge that they need to take home with them. The three intensives included: Plastics and Marine Pollution, Aquaponics, and Sustainable Agriculture.
In Plastics, the students conducted beach plastic surveys to determine how much micro and macro plastic has washed up onshore different beaches of Eleuthera. The Aquaponics team learned more about the system located at CEI and built their own ‘backyard aquaponics’ model. The Sustainable Agriculture group worked on The Island School farm and designed their own grow bed and ‘herb spiral’. Check out a couple of the videos that the students created about their experience and the project they worked on!
In association with Microwave Telemetry, Inc. and the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, Edd Brooks and CEI’s Shark Research and Conservation program have discovered new findings while studying the migratory behaviors of ocean whitetip sharks that can help shape conservation strategies. Some sharks spend extended time periods in the protected waters of The Bahamas yet roam long distances when they leave. For the full article, read below or click here.
As the nations of the world prepare to vote on measures to restrict international trade in endangered sharks in early March, a team of researchers has found that one of these species – the oceanic whitetip shark – regularly crosses international boundaries. Efforts by individual nations to protect this declining apex predator within their own maritime borders may therefore need to be nested within broader international conservation measures.
The research team, which included researchers from Microwave Telemetry, Inc., the Cape Eleuthera Institute, and the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University, attached pop-up satellite archival tags to one male and 10 female mature oceanic whitetip sharks off Cat Island in The Bahamas in May 2011, and monitored the sharks for varying intervals up to 245 days. The tags recorded depth, temperature, and location for pre-programmed periods of time. At the end of the time period, the tags self-detached from the sharks, and reported the data to orbiting satellites. Their findings, published online today in the journal PLOS ONE, show that some of these sharks roamed nearly 2,000 kilometers from the spot where they were caught, but all individuals returned to The Bahamas within a few months.
“While the oceanic whitetip shark is one of the most severely overexploited shark species, it is also among the least studied because Continue reading →
Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) partners with One Eleuthera and Out Island Eco Company to providealternative disposable products to Styrofoam, on the Island of Eleuthera.
The Island School and CEI’s journey to becoming a zero-waste campus while extending the concepts of this model to our neighbors on the island of Eleuthera has taken patience, but we are now excited to announce we are one step farther.
This particular initiative began in 2010 as CEI outreach collaborated with the Deep Creek Homecoming Association at its annual homecoming festival “Conch Fest” using the tagline “da Creek gone green”. CEI worked diligently with the food vendors to source products that promoted sustainability and were a viable alternative to using Styrofoam. The venture was particularly challenging, as sourcing the right company to provide the products proved difficult. The import duty on Styrofoam-alternative products was 45%, which made using these replacing Styrofoam an unattractive and expensive option for the average resident. Through generous sponsorship CEI provided the products to the vendors, which drastically reduced the cost of going green.
Extensive research and communication with wholesalers of these products led CEI to connect with Out Island Eco Company (OIEC), formerly affiliated with BioShell Bahamas, a non-profit company located on the island of Abaco and led by Ms. Juliette Deal. As this partnership evolves, OIEC has successfully launched an educational and outreach model in Abaco and has worked diligently with the Bahamas Government to reduce import taxes on these ecologically friendlier items.
In 2012, One Eleuthera (OE) joined the cause and partnered with CEI and OIEC Continue reading →
When I asked around the copious newcomers that arrived at Cape Eleuthera Institute in the past week or so, if they could describe their experience so far, they responded ultimately with; surreal, funky fresh, refreshing, really salty, filled with lots of lettuce, and extremely informative. Personally, I would not object to any of those, but due to lack of time, as I am a gap year student here at The Cape Eleuthera Institute, and have to finish my prerequisites for SCUBA training, I am only going to focus on the week being “surreal, informative, and refreshing.”
Along with four other gappers (for the sake of an easier flow to this blog post, and a more real description of our time here, I am going to refer to a gap year student as a “gapper”, what everyone else has come to call us), we arrived to the sunny south side of the island Eleuthera, and it immediately seemed as if the luminous sun hovering the enticing, crystal, teal waters sucked out the oxygen from the moment, where we were all amazed Continue reading →
Check out the press release in The Eleutheran about the first bio-gas stove in The Bahamas installed at The Island School!
The Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) are eager to celebrate the implementation of an innovative technology with the potential to revolutionize regional waste management, while enhancing energy independence and agricultural development. Last week, members of the facilities department teamed up with Island School students to install the first bio-gas burning stove in The Bahamas
Bio-gas is the usable energy created during the process of biodigestion, which processes organic waste into usable gas and nutrient rich fertilizer, uniquely addressing a number of local issues. With deep thanks to Derek Francis General Manager and Daron Lloyd, Sales Manager at Master Technicians in Nassau who donated the stove, Founder Chris Maxey proudly declared “Now we will literally be taking human waste and processing it into a safe and inexpensive form of energy that we can use to cook our food. And, we will be doing it all on-site, on our campus. What is more energy-independent than that?”
Last Saturday was a very big day for all of us. It was the day where all of the research and work that we had done in the past three months culminated to a big Research Symposium. During the Research Symposium, each research group gave presentations about their research, booths, and posters. This was a little different from the presentations we did during Parent’s Weekend because we were presenting all of our work to people who could look at our results and make change in the Bahamas, and in the world. The Bahamian Minister of Environment attended the symposium as well as Friends of the Environment, BREEF, and many other NGOs. To see these people listen to and think critically about our research made me appreciate and feel proud of all of the work we accomplished these past few months. Continue reading →
We circled up at noon; I was moved to tell your children in the more intimate moment of our small circle how proud I am of the good work that has been accomplished. Yesterday after the research presentations we gathered in Hallig House to listen to key note speakers share impressions. Eric Carey, Executive Director of the Bahamas National Trust, is big in stature and huge in spirit and brutally honest; he was “blown away” by the work. Eric mentioned specifically the turtle project at Half Sound and the conch research as monumental and pioneering efforts that will encourage (he used the word force) the government to enact laws to protect and conserve these vital habitats and endangered species. As a boy growing up in Tarpum Bay he confirmed the story retold by the research team, ” when I was young we would go to Sandy Cay and load our boat with 100s of conch that sat dry at low tied and if you go back now you can not find a single conch.”
Next to speak, Mr. Sandy Mactaggart, Chancellor Emeritus University of Alberta. Sandy has dedicated his full and extremely successful life to save beautiful places; he realized that the work here by young scientists proved beyond a doubt that education as it continues to exist is tragically flawed. He then shared a story; I encourage you to read the link, http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/introbook2.1/x874.html . Your children are producers of knowledge, they have stretched to ask and answer new questions and they are well tested and confident — watch out world!
Last to speak was the Honorable Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment, Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Continue reading →