Category Archives: CEI

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!

Alumni Spotlight: Andrieka Burrows (F’15)

Andrieka presenting the ponds research

Andrieka Burrows is the very first Island School student to present at the annual Bahamas Natural History Conference (BNHC)

CEI and The Island School were well-represented at the regional 2016 Bahamas Natural History Conference, with representatives giving talks on plastics, climate change, rare shrimp, turtles, conch, sharks, and lion fish. More excitingly, the first Island School alumna joined with the research team! Andrieka Burrows, BESS (Bahamas Environmental Stewards Scholars) scholar of Fall 2015, attended the conference to present the anchialine ponds poster. Anchialine ponds are landlocked bodies of water with marine characteristics that are connected to the sea through underground conduits. There are over 200 of these ponds on the island of Eleuthera, however, there is very little known about these ecosystems. Dr. Jocelyn Curtis-Quick and Alexio Brown, with a team of Island School students including Andrieka, gathered baseline data on the ponds in order to determine their status and need for protection.

The students found an alarming number of the ponds were impacted by humans.  To conserve these ecosystems, there is a need to raise awareness. Andrieka did this by presenting the work of her research class at the Bahamas Natural History Conference (BNHC). The conference was hosted by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), who manage the protected areas in The Bahamas. Andrieka spoke about why these ponds are so understudied, and her hopes for more research to be carried out in the future.

Andrieka speaks to an interested crowd
Andrieka speaks to an interested crowd

“The Bahamas Natural History Conference turned out to be all that I expected,” said Andrieka. “Not only did I get the opportunity to interact with world renowned scientists, who presented their captivating work, but I also got to present my anchialine pond research to these very same scientists.”

Andrieka created much interest in ponds and did an exceptional job presenting her poster, making her research advisers very proud.

Andrieka poses with her researcher advisors Dr. Curtis-Quick and Alexio Brown
Andrieka poses with her researcher advisors Dr. Curtis-Quick and Alexio Brown

Board Leadership in Action

blogDrew Fink (F’05) gets pinned by Chris and Pam Maxey during the evening celebrations hosted by longtime supporters Les and Wendy Morris

In January, the Board of Directors for The Island School gathered in West Palm Beach, Florida for one of their three annual meetings. The purpose of the gathering was to celebrate transitions and alumni energy as well as share ideas on the direction and focus of the school as we head into 2016. Alumnus Drew Fink (F’05) was pinned with the starfish as he was welcomed into the ranks of the Board during this, his first meeting. Alums have consistently shown strong leadership and passion for The Island School and its mission of Leadership Effecting Change by volunteering for the Board. Drew was welcomed by returning Island School alums on the Board:

Francesca Forrestal (F’99), Thatcher Spring (F’99), Meg Bunn (F’01), Johann Scheidt (S’02), Nick DelVecchio (F’02), Greg Henkes (S’03) and Peter Meijer (S’05)

20160115_195304Chris Maxey talks with Board members Ande Frost (Parent F’04, S’09, S’13) and Greg Henkes (S’03)

Do you want to be part of the The Island School’s Board and play a significant role in the vision, direction and execution of the future of the school? We are reaching out to all Island School, Cape Eleuthera Institute, and Deep Creek Middle School alumni who are at least two years removed from college and would like to submit an application to the nomination committee. If you would like to be considered, and you are passionate about what we do, please write to with a resume and cover letter describing your interest. The basic requirements for membership are as follows:

  • Minimum of two years of experience in the work force.
  • Demonstrated service to the organization after your semester/summer term.
  • Skill set or demonstrated interest relevant to the work of the Board.
  • Consistent participation in CONCHtribution, the annual alumni giving campaign.
  • Accepting of financial obligations surrounding travel to meetings and other board engagements.

If you are interested, we can send you the Board’s handbook for you to learn more about what the expectations for a potential two year commitment entail. The two primary expectations that are held of all Board members are attendance of all three annual meetings (Boston, MA in October, Nassau, Bahamas in January and Eleuthera itself in April) at your own expense, and that The Island School is within your top 3 philanthropic commitments. If you have any questions or simply want to know more, please do not hesitate to reach out to and we will respond as soon as possible.




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.

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.

The Maxeys Make it to Bermuda!

Following the SEA Change Youth Summit held at The Island School June 5-7, Chris & Pam Maxey and their crew made up of Brittney Maxey, Mike Cortina (CSD sustainability teacher and F’02 alumnus), Kelly Duggan (S’11), Sam Kosoff (former IS teacher and Lawrenceville Dir. of Sustainability) and Georgie Burruss (CEI researcher) sailed from Cape Eleuthera, The Bahamas to Bermuda on their boat, Kokomo, sailing alongside 5 Gyres and Jack Johnson, who were aboard The Mystic.  Also on board the Mystic for the leg from Eleuthera to Bermuda was Island School alumna, Aly Boyce (F’10) and now her brother, IS alumnus James Boyce (F’12), will board the Mystic for the next leg.

Kokomo and Mystic left the Cape Eleuthera Resort & Marina in the afternoon of Tuesday June 9th and arrived in Bermuda coastal waters in the early morning of Sunday June 14th. Along the way, both the Kokomo and the Mystic conducted citizen science: trawling for plastic pollution in the ocean.

Spring 2011 Island School alumna, Kelly Duggan (right) who was also aboard the Kokomo with the Maxeys, helps CEI researcher, Georgie Burruss (left) set up the first trawl.

Upon arrival in Bermuda, the sailboat caravan was welcomed by the educational officer at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), JP Skinner who lives in nearby Paget Parish. Last night, they had the opportunity to visit BIOS and check out the amazing work going on there. The rest of their time on Bermuda has been spent exploring the town of St. Georges and the nearby beaches with the team aboard the Mystic.

Tomorrow, the Kokomo and the Mystic embark on the next left of their trip, bound for the east coast of the United States. They will be sailing together for the first few days until the Mystic splits to make its way towards New York City and the Kokomo heads towards the Chesapeake Bay. We wish all the sailors a safe passage and calm seas!

James Boyce (F'12), Chris Maxey, Pam Maxey, Aly Boyce (F'10), Jack Johnson, Cha Boyce, Britt Maxey, Kristal Ambrose, Frank Boyce
James Boyce (F’12), Chris Maxey, Pam Maxey, Aly Boyce (F’10), Jack Johnson, Cha Boyce, Britt Maxey, Kristal Ambrose, Frank Boyce

Cape Eleuthera Institute Stingray Research & Education

The Cape Eleuthera Institute‘s Shark Research and Conservation Program recently initiated a novel project that aims to assess the spatial ecology and genetic diversity of three species of stingray in the waters surrounding Southern Eleuthera. It is hoped this research will provide much needed information on how species critical for ecosystem function occupy and share space as well as exploit fragmented seascapes for migrations and dispersal corridors.

Check out this amazing video from our friends at Behind the Mask to learn more about the stingray project!