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Save The Bays and Waterkeepers graduate 12 campers

Youngsters participate in intensive, weeklong ‘Everything Water’ learning experience
  • Camp Eco-Explorer participants enjoy a beach day. Campers monitored the waters off Fortune Beach, Grand Bahama. It was the second year Save The Bays and Waterkeepers Bahamas partnered to stage the camp. SAVE THE BAYS.


Published: Aug 14, 2017

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They swam, snorkeled, recorded, reported and studied the marine environment, and by the end of the week, 12 teens from Grand Bahama had a new respect for the water around them and the critical role water plays in sustaining life on the planet.

The students were the dedicated dozen who qualified for Camp Eco-Explorer.

It was the second year that environmental advocacy organizations Save The Bays and Waterkeepers Bahamas offered the camp. This year’s first session, held under the theme “Everything Water”, was earmarked for 11 to 15-year-olds, with the younger students to follow. Both focused on the connectivity of elements that together create life-giving ecosystems.

Campers snorkeled at coral reefs alive with vibrant colors, teeming with tropical fish. They examined reefs for damage, debris and detritus.They studied mangroves and learned the importance of wetlands as nurseries for immature fish, conch and crawfish, and as buffers protecting shorelines against storm surges. They visited Owl’s Blue Hole, learned about the mythical Lusca, went to Ben’s Cave and spent time at the Burial Mound at the Lucayan National Park, observing marine life in a freshwater setting. They studied the ways man-made structures on shore impact marine life and examined the differences between fresh, salt and brackish water. They kayaked from the mangroves to the tip of the ocean.

Days began in the classroom and ended with the production of a poster summing up the lessons learned during hands-on experiences. Kellon Albury and Anaiya Armbrister were honored as the most outstanding boy and girl camper, respectively. Yoga instructor LaKrista Strachan led students in yoga and breathing exercises, reinforcing the connectivity theme.

Strachan shared with campers how important Mother Earth is to people and how trees give oxygen and humans reciprocate with carbon dioxide.

“Once they started to tune into the sounds around them, such as the waves crashing on the shore, or the birds singing in the trees, they were able to relax,” said Strachan.

“This was the kind of camp experience that happens once in a lifetime and creates memories that last a lifetime,” said Joe Darville, Save The Bays chairman. “The kids had a ball. More importantly, they came away with such profound feelings about how important it is to protect our waters and the marine life they support.”

“This was the best camp experience ever,” said Waterkeepers Bahamas Executive Director Rashema Ingraham. “We embraced camp activities, like team-building, information gathering and field trips and placed them against the backdrop of some of the most breathtaking waters in the world. You could see the progress of their thoughts, as the quality of their posters with action messages got better every day. We now have 12 more ambassadors for the marine environment, who, we hope, will inspire others to protect the beauty of our Bahamian waters and treasure the memories of their Camp Eco-Explorer experiences.”

 

 

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