A Culturally Relevant and Island Specific Approach to Coral Conservation in The Bahamas

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Nikita Shiel-Rolle, founder of the Young Marine Explorers (YME) group, spoke to participants at the Abaco Science Alliance Conference on Marsh Harbour, Abaco on the connection between individuals and coral conservation (Photo 1). More specifically, Nikita spoke about fostering pro-environmental behaviour by increasing knowledge, encouraging an emotional connection to nature, and inspiring change to support conservation efforts thus building environmental stewardship. YME has performed field activities to connect persons to nature such as snorkeling trips to patch reefs (Photo 2) and discussed with schools and community members on various islands in The Bahamas the benefits of coral systems environmentally, economically, and culturally. To date, YME efforts have been supported by those who have been engaged and have encouraged many others to become actively involved in marine science and conservation efforts.

To learn more about YME, please visit http://www.ymebahamas.org/about.html.  Key words: coral and stewardship.

Photo 1: Nikita Shiel-Rolle, founder of Young Marine Explorers presenting at the Abaco Science Alliance conference on Marsh Harbour, Abaco, January 18. 2014. Photo taken by Felicity Burrows, The Nature Conservancy.

Photo 2. A patch reef in the southwestern waters of New Providence. Photo taken by Felicity Burrows, The Nature Conservancy.