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
Palm Beach Day Academy sent a group of 9th grade students to our campus for a week-long Educational Program at Cape Eleuthera Institute. A chaperone wrote about their experience in their recent newsletter, which was sent to us by a Cape Eleuthera Foundation board member, Ken Beall. You can read the article and look at the photo gallery from their week here.
By Philip Beardsley
After a week of exploring, camping, and simply being at one with nature, we are finally back to civilization – or so it seems. Kayak trip…what an experience.
On Monday of last week, 5 members of the Island School community embarked on a journey that will never be forgotten. After much anticipation, preparation, and thought, it was finally time to leave. Not a single ripple on the water or cloud in the sky – what better conditions could we have asked for? After a long day of kayaking, sunshine, and positive vibes, we finally reached our first camping spot for the trip, Plum Creek. It was Continue reading
By Calvin Clapp
Here in South Eleuthera, the past couple weeks have been somewhat of a blur. Whether the blame falls upon camping trips, scuba diving or research, there is no doubt that we have been fully engaged in life on the island. Last weekend, the interns organized a small camping trip to Surfer’s Beach. So we started bussin’ it down the island, making any of the necessary stops to make it a proper camping experience. After sharing stories and laughs, with the fire simmering down, we all headed to bed ready for a fun-filled day of aquatic activities. The last minute decision to camp was not regretted by anyone.
With drowsy eyes and with a trailing stench of campfire, we rolled back to campus ready to take on a couple days of learning in the field with our respective research groups. We soon realized that our recent camping trip was only a pre-game for our exclusive DIT (Down Island Trip) for the gaps and our leader, Scotty.
This served as a great opportunity to explore and experience Continue reading
by Adam McWilliams
This last week we have all started to focus more on our research and were introduced to the different programs that CEI provides. We first started with aquaculture. Marie, who is in charge of the aquaculture team, taught us how the fish (cobia) are fed in the cage and what they are fed with. Immediately after that we were introduced to the flats program where we went to Starved Creek to catch bonefish and mojarra for experiments back at the lab. The final group we were presented with was the sharks program. They gave us a presentation on shark taxonomy and the general anatomy of these animals.
Once we were introduced to all the programs, the three of us voted on which topic was the most interesting and then we were each assigned Continue reading
by Philip Beardsley
Back down to paradise…this time, not as an Island School student, rather as a Gap Year student! The first 10 days or so down here have far exceeded my expectations. As anticipated, there was a warm welcome for us all at the Rock Sound Airport – what better way to embark on such a journey? Being that there are only three Gap Year students, we have gotten to spend a lot of time with the other interns, which has been very enjoyable.
The week started off with a few days of orientation followed by a trip down island. The Down Island Trip was truly amazing – it was a great way to get a sense of the general vibe on Eleuthera Continue reading
Camilla, Cole, and Rebecca here, reporting from Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport, ME. These past ten days, we were lucky enough to be a part of a twelve-student research group who went down to The Island School to work with professional scientists on specified topics of interest. Broken into three four-person groups, we developed and executed our own methodologies in order to collect data.
Field work was a major part of our experience. Spending three full days in the field, principle investigators helped us in conducting field research, analyzing data sets, and synthesizing a presentation which was then given orally to the rest of the group and Island School staff. From snorkel transects off the coast of the Schooner Keys to seine net corralling in jellyfish-infested mangroves, swimming with sharks to tagging sea turtles, we learned both the principles of research and how to have fun conducting it.
Aside from research, we were exposed to many other quintessential Island School activities. Each morning, we started off the day with Continue reading
Early Monday morning Shark & Flats week were off after a busy camp exploring the mangrove flats ecosystem in South Eleuthera.
The flats week students not only worked alongside our Flats researchers all through the week, but also had the opportunity to go bonefishing with some of the local fishermen of Rock Sound and Savannah Sound. In doing this, they got a taste of some of the local ideas in conservation of the mangrove flats ecosystem and protection of bonefish as well as other species that spend all or just part of their life there.
The Shark week students spent a good amount of time in the field setting longlines and drum lines for juvenile lemon sharks and their predators. They were very successful in tagging and recapture of juvenile lemons, having caught 7 in one day at a nearby creek. They were also able to use their findings to relate to other juvenile lemon shark studies from the Bimini Biological Field Station.
On the last day, both shark and flats presented to their fellow campers and Continue reading
Last week, The Island School welcomed 22 teachers from around the nation for a firsthand look at our organization’s mission and philosophy and how experiential education can be harnessed in and outside of classrooms worldwide. They took the campus by storm, diving headfirst into our mind-body-spirit mentality by participating in morning exercises, thinking critically around the Harkness table, and sharing stories, ideals, and teaching strategies with one another under the stars. They took in the beautiful, crystal clear waters of Eleuthera through snorkeling trips, SCUBA diving, and kayaking; spent the afternoon learning and working alongside researchers at CEI; and explored the rest of the island on their very own Down Island Trip. The week was capped off by a group coffeehouse, which had people singing, dancing, and reading manuscripts.
In the end, all had a rewarding, insightful, and career-affirming experience on the Cape, with some remarking that, “it was the most inspirational conference I’ve ever been a part of.” We are excited to move forward building partnerships with these teachers and their schools and hope to see some of their students down here for the semester or a visiting program – so that we all can continue to effect change onward, upward, together.
Stay tuned for information regarding next year’s Teacher’s Conference!
The second half of GWUOHS’s time here on the Cape was filled with adventures in and out of creeks and bays, down island, and – most challengingly – along our very own loop! Wednesday morning, students joined The Island School Summer Term to complete part of the Monster Run Swim course. Having no real mental or physical preparation for such an intense morning of exercise, it was incredible to see all 7 push themselves in ways not even they believed they could, and all were extremely satisfied, elated – not to mention relieved – to come back to campus and touch that flagpole. Not to have it seem their efforts were a fluke, they were back in the water on Thursday, running and swimming through Current Cut while completing a Govia– we tip our swim caps off to them!
After brushing off the sand and salt on Wednesday, the group made their way to both Cotton Bay and Continue reading