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.
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!
This past weekend The Island School hosted the SEA Change Youth Summit with musician, Jack Johnson and 5 Gyres to raise awareness about the impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean and to inspire young students to be advocates for change. 34 Students gathered from Abaco, Grand Bahama, New Providence and Eleuthera as well as a school group out of New York and another student from Jamaica.
As part of the kick-off for the weekend on Friday June 5th, Jack Johnson took part in a designation ceremony to become a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The designation was timely as last Friday marked World Environment Day, a UN flagship event encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment, celebrated in over 100 countries.
Included in the kickoff to the festivities hosted on The Island School’s campus were remarks from Chris Maxey, founder of The Cape Eleuthera Island School, Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen, founders of the 5 Gyres Institute and Celine Cousteau, film maker, environmentalist and daughter of ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau and the granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau. Also in the line up was Kristal Ambrose, founder of Bahamas Plastic Movement and Minister of Education, Science and Technology, The Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald.
The first day of the Summit centered around raising awareness on the issue of plastic pollution so that the students could create their own solutions based on the stories and information they’d received. In the afternoon students, facilitators, Jack Johnson and visiting UNEP representative, Naysan Sahba visited a local beach to do a clean-up lead by Kristal Ambrose. The day finished with a Junkanoo, cultural activity lead by Art teacher and Space to Create founder, Will Simmons in which Summit attendees, Island School students and Jack Johnson created original songs about plastic pollution to the Junkanoo beat provided by the visiting South Eleutheran students from Preston H. Albury High School.
The second day began with a workshop on how to reduce single-use disposable plastics in the household. Students were given tips and tools on how to make their own toothpaste and steer away from buying highly packaged products and personal care products containing plastic micro-beads. After lunch, David Stover, co-founder of Bureo Skateboards told his story of making skateboards from fish netting found in the ocean and beaches of Chile. The students then sifted through their findings from Friday’s clean-up to create a symbolic SEA Change eye sculpture out of plastics with Dianna Cohen, founder of Plastic Pollution Coalition. The sculpture was then showcased at the Deep Creek Homecoming where Summit attendees enjoyed a plastic free event thanks to a donation by World Centric for all food packaging. Recover also pitched in with a donation of t-shirts for the homecoming made from recycled plastic bottles.
The last day of the Summit was spent teaching the students how to tell and share their own stories and to create their own solutions. Facilitators and visiting activists, scientists and artists participated in group discussions on how each student could make a change in their home, on their island and in their country. The day ended in a closing ceremony with music by local band, The Rum Runners, as well as Jack Johnson, who performed alongside local and visiting musicians and even played a tune with two Island School students.
Summit organizer, The Island School’s Brittney Maxey, was blown away by the energy coming from the young students. “This is a historical event not only for us at The Island School and the island of Eleuthera, but also for The Bahamas and other island nations as a whole. We are sending these motivated young people back out into the world equipped with the tools to make a difference in their communities. The Island School’s mission is leadership affecting change and this weekend embodied this belief not only for the students but for the island of Eleuthera. We are a small place making big change.”
Thank you to event supporters: Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, AML Foods, Cape Eleuthera Resort & Marina, Recover, World Centric, From the Bow Seat, Bahamas Waste Limited, Cable Bahamas, One Eleuthera, The Muggia Family and Kim & Floyd Wilson.
Last week the Bahamas National Trust hosted Kristal Ambrose, Aquaponics Technician at Cape Eleuthera Institute, as a public meeting guest speaker. The topic for the evening featured her internship to study plastics in the North Pacific Western Garbage Patch, an area highly concentrated with plastic debris and an environmental issue only just beginning to be studied by scientists. Kristal recounted her expedition, which sought to answer questions that explore what happens to plastics that enter the ocean, from ingestion by marine life, to absorption of harmful pollutants. The opportunity to share this experience with a Bahamian audience was especially important to Kristal, as her primary goal following this study is to find real solutions through education, research and outreach projects in her home country. After peaking the interest of one attendee at the BNT meeting, Kristal was approached to also share her experience with students at St. Andrews School where she spoke to two classes on Friday.
Kristal’s study was supported by the BNT, Bahamas Reef Environment Foundation (BREEF) and The Nature Conservancy, all of whom were represented at the meeting Continue reading →
Cape Eleuthera Institute’s Kristal Ambrose embarked on her epic journey to of plastic research, leaving on April 24th.. From Nassau, Bahamas to Texas, USA; from Tokyo, Japan to Guam; and finally, on to Majuro, Marshall Islands, the last two weeks have been a whirlwind of exploration, opportunity, and learning for Ambrose, CEI’s Aquaponics Intern and researcher dedicated to finding solutions to plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
“Most of what we eat, drink or use in any way comes packaged in petroleum plastic—a material designed to last forever yet used for products that we use for as little as thirty seconds then throw away,” describes Ambrose on her blog. “Plastic creates toxic pollution at every stage of its existence: manufacture, use, and disposal. This is a material that the Earth cannot digest. Every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists, including the small amount that has been incinerated and has become toxic particulate matter. In the environment, plastic breaks down into small particles that release toxic chemicals into the environment. These particles are ingested by wildlife on land and in the ocean, contaminating the food chain from the smallest plankton to the largest whale…This trip will serve as my formal training experience to tackle the plastic pollution and marine debris issue within my country.”
In Nassau during the days before departure, Ambrose was invited to tea at the home of His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes, Governor General of The Bahamas. Continue reading →
Over the course of three days in early February, 5 Gyres scientist Marcus Ericksen hosted a conference at the Cape Eleuthera Institute for educators on the impact of marine plastic pollution. Eriksen gave presentations detailing voyages to these gyres to study their makeup and movement. His passion inspired CEI’s Kristal Ambrose to action. Motivated by the dilemma of plastic marine debris in the local waters of the Exuma sound and oceans around the world, Kristal pursued an opportunity of a lifetime.
The CEI aquaponics intern decided she wanted to accompany him on one of his voyages. Following a series of fortunate events Ambrose got her chance. Thanks to efforts on her part to secure funding and support from Chris and Pam Maxey, Christian Henry, Josh Shultz , Annabelle Brooks, The Nature Conservancy, and Bobbie Hallig, she will be headed to the Marshall Islands to begin her Journey. Then, from May 1-23, Kristal will be joining Marcus Eriksen and his team on a research expedition to sail across the pacific ocean from Majuro, Marshall Islands to Tokyo, Japan to study the Japan Tsunami Debris.
Organized by the 5 Gyres Institute, Algalita Marine Research Foundation, and Pangea Exploration, the expedition seeks to answer questions that explore what happens Continue reading →