Tag Archives: BESS

Meet our Fall 2014 BESS Scholars

The Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS) program is a unique opportunity for graduating students in The Bahamas ages 15-18 who have a keen interest in the environment and want to learn more as they transition from high school to university studies. Successful applicants will participate in a 14-week academic semester at The Island School in South Eleuthera and a four-month paid internship at an environmental conservation-related organization. Upon completion of high school, students can use BESS as a gap year experience before pursuing further studies. The BESS Program is administered in collaboration with BREEF. This semester The Island School is excited to welcome BESS Scholars Kerwin Mullings and Deneé Rankine.

Fall 2014 BESS Scholar Kerwin Mullings.
Fall 2014 BESS Scholar Kerwin Mullings.

Originally from Nassau, Kerwin Mullings comes to The Island School as a graduate of C.V. Bethel Senior High School.  Garnering a strong interest in the environment and marine sciences, Kerwin saw The Island School as an opportunity to not only pursue his passions but also gain experience in a field he hopes to work in professionally. An explorer at heart, Kerwin hopes to one day travel the world working as an environmental scientist.

Kerwin, Ellie and Peter K. take a moment to pose for a photo before heading out on their kayak trip.
Ellie, Peter K. and Kerwin take a moment to pose for a photo before heading out on their kayak trip.

Having just returned from his 8-day kayak trip, Kerwin is excited to be back and dive right into life on campus again.  Discussing his trip, Kerwin says, “Kayak was great. What I liked the most about it was solo”.  Looking ahead, Kerwin is excited for parents weekend and being able to share everything he has accomplished so far with his family, particularly the work he has done in research class. Reflecting on his experience thus far Kerwin says that The Island School has broadened his perception of the world, creating a “watershed that gets wider and more detailed with every step”.


Fall 2014 BESS Scholar Deneé Rankine.
Fall 2014 BESS Scholar Deneé Rankine.

Deneé Rankine comes to The Island School from a bit closer. Hailing from Savannah Sound located 60 km north of campus, Deneé enters Fall 2014 as a graduate of Central Eleuthera High School. Always making those around her laugh, Deneé is interested in marine biology and hopes to continue her studies pursuing an undergraduate degree in the States after her time here. 

Deneé prior to departing on  her kayak trip.
Deneé prior to departing on her kayak trip.

Having also  just returned from her 8-day kayak trip, Deneé is excited to reconnect with academics and friends on campus. Discussing her experience, Deneé says that her favorite aspect of the trip by far was the close bonds she developed with peers as a result of 8 days spent kayaking in a small group.  Over the next half of the semester, Deneé is most looking forward to the Research Symposium in November and is excited to see her family over parents weekend.

We would like to thank our supporters of the BESS program over the years: The Moore Bahamas Foundation, AML Foods Limited, Bahamas Waste Limited, Frank & Cha Boyce, BREEF, The Brown Foundation, Cans for Kids, Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina, Carey Construction, Cates Family, Colina Imperial, Cotton Bay Foundation, John and Tanya Crone, Frank Crothers, Sean & Sarah Farrington, Friends of the Environment, Amanda Graham, Lawrence Griffin, Bobbie Hallig, Lynn Holowesko, Stephen & Alessandra Holowesko, Horation Alexander Catering & Events, Nancy Kelly, Mark & Dawn Knowles , LaBoiteaux Family Foundation, Lori & Jimmy Lowe, Lyford Cay Foundation, Lyford Cay School, Mactaggart Third Fund, Will & Lisa Mathis, Chris & Pam Maxey, Mark Maynard, Ross & Nancy McDonald, Chuck & Reva Murphy, James and Kylie Nottage, Lady Eugenie Nuttall, Hap & Cecilia Perry, Stuart & Robin Ray, Save The Bays, Scotia Bank, Brian & Laurel Smith, Brent & Robin Symonette, Craig & Michelle Symonette, TK Foundation, Donald & Debbie Tomlinson, Peter and Pippa Vlasov and Beatrice von der Schulenberg.


TK Foundation Visits Campus

On Wednesday, February 19, we were pleased to host Mr. Arthur Croady and Mrs. Esther Blair from the TK Foundation on campus. The TK Foundation is our largest Bahamian supporter and helps makes the great work we do at DCMS and with the BESS program possible. Their day-long visit featured tours of campus sustainable systems, class visits to DCMS and discussions with researchers and educators about their experiences and future outreach programs.




AML Foods Presents Check to BESS Program


To mark their continued relationship of support, AML Foods, through their Solomon’s Fresh Market Brand presented the Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholar program (BESS) with a $5,000 donation. Renea Knowles, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for AML Foods, presented the check to a grateful group of scholarship award recipients and partners, which included Franchesca Bethell and Cristina Roberts 2012 BESS students Trueranda Cox, (BESS alumnae 2010), Garneisha Pinder (BESS alumnae 2010), Charlene Carey, Environmental Educator at BREEF, and Kalin Griffin, Chief of Staff at The Island School.

Solomon’s Fresh Market demonstrates its dedication to fostering Continue reading

Building Bridges Abroad: Bradley and Garneisha Return From Training in China


The Island School and The Embassy for the People’s Republic of China celebrated a growing partnership this summer as the Embassy welcomed Bahamian Environmental Steward Scholar alumni (BESS) and Island School alumni Garneisha Pinder (F’10) and Bradley Watson (F’08). Pinder a rising sophomore at The College of The Bahamas and Watson a rising senior at College of Charleston, attended the Training Course on Bio-gas Technology for Developing Countries on May 15th – July 9th. You can hear more about their experiences on Continue reading

Update from Bradley Watson and Garneisha Pinder in China: Genetic Engineering

Many of us “Greenies” have heard of Monsanto and their Genetically Modified crops that can withstand their herbicides and John Deer’s seed dispersal machinery and some of us cringe at the thought of Genetic Modification or Engineering. I did too until I spoke with a gentleman from Tanzania who shared some of the ways he would use Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). He began by talking about soy bean plants which happen to be a popular crop in Africa as well as elsewhere. The soy bean belongs to the legume family, a group of plants that are capable of taking nitrogen from the atmosphere and “fixing” it in the soil with the help of fungi that lives in their roots while most other plants rely on fertilizers and other nitrogen sources to keep them green and healthy. So a soy bean field is very fertile. This fertility encourages weed growth and many soy bean varieties are engineered to withstand high doses of pesticides to combat these weeds that compete with them for light, nutrients and water in agricultural systems. Now I don’t like the idea of using any more pesticides than are absolutely necessary because I don’t want to eat them nor do I want them on the water table etc.

Dr. Ma Sichun and I observing anerobic methanogenic bacteria under a microscope

Well my friend from Tanzania’s proposition is that we engineer soy bean plants to grow under lower light conditions or alter them in some other way Continue reading

BESS Alumni Bradley Watson (F08) and Garneisha Pinder (F10) Studying Biodigestion in China

Two Island School and BESS alumni, Bradley Watson (F08) and Garneisha Pinder (F10) have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to China for 6-weeks to study biogas production at the BIOMA Institute. After the Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas, Hu Shan, visited The Island School for the opening of Cape Eleuthera Institute’s Hallig House, he offered for two Bahamian students to travel to China to study biodigestion with all expenses paid by the Chinese Embassy. Below are some of Bradley’s initial thoughts. Check back in a few weeks for another update from China!

On my return from a semester of studying Buddhism and Plant Taxonomy at the College of Charleston I received an email offering me an opportunity to go to China and study Biogas production at the BIOMA institute. At first I was filled with disbelief and then excitement took its place. This course that the Chinese Government offered for two Bahamian students would include people from other developing countries like Dominica, Columbia, Ghana, Niger, Venezuela, Nepal, Tanzania, and others. The last time I heard about biogas production was at the Island School while I was mentoring students during its first summer semester as the first stages of their bio digestion project began. The first time I was exposed to the concept of producing methane gas from organic wastes like sewage and agricultural by-products must have been in some documentary or reading that is now only a foggy memory. I had no idea that I would get a chance to gain a technical understanding of how these systems work from such seasoned practitioners as the professors of the BIOMA Institute who had taught 47 of these courses previously. With my goal of improving the sustainability of the Bahamian lifestyle in mind I could hardly imagine all the benefits of two young scientists being exposed to such a program, and for 56 days!


One of the benefits I could imagine was an improved waste treatment system to reduce Continue reading

BESS Students’ Turtle Tagging Adventures

This fall, 2 BESS (Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars) students, Brian Higgs (F’11) and William Sturrup (F’11), attended The Island School. Now, this semester, as part of their full year BESS scholarship, they are interns at Bahamas National Trust and BREEF (Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation), respectively. Brian and William recently went on a two-week expedition, tagging turtles throughout The Bahamas. You can read about their trip here: BESS Newsletter.

Prince Harry’s Visit to The Bahamas!

Prince Harry, during his recent visit to The Bahamas in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, held a Youth Leaders Luncheon for a select group of outstanding students chosen for their exceptional leadership skills. Those in attendance represented several organizations throughout The Bahamas including three Island School alumni and one DCMS student were present at the luncheon. IS alumnae and BESS scholars Alannah Vellacot (F’08) and Truranda Cox (S’11), IS alumna Aly Boyce (F’10), and DCMS student Moesha Leary were among the lucky few to meet Prince Harry last week. They had the opportunity to discuss environmental initiatives with the Prince and had a great time!


Here is a detailed account from Alannah of her experience at the Youth Leaders Luncheon:

“Along with his buzzing entourage of assistants and photographers, Prince Harry made his way around the room, visiting each table that represented various clubs and organizations, shook hands with each member and had a short but sweet conversation. Finally he approached our table, Continue reading