Teachers from Grand Bahama to Inagua and many islands in between gathered together on San Salvador last week for the annual BREEF Marine Conservation Teacher Training Workshop. For many of the twenty-eight teachers, this was their first glimpse of the world underwater, and it was a life-changing experience. Kimberley Rolle from Nicoll’s Town Primary School in Andros described her first ever snorkeling experience as “priceless”, and committed to creating more hands-on experiences for her students where the she can make the school curriculum come to life.
Raymond Knight from Aquinas College stated: “Without doubt, the benefits of coral, wetland, sandy and rocky shore ecosystems to the future of The Bahamas came to life during this BREEF workshop.” Trilene Neeley, a teacher at C.R. Walker Senior High School, described her experience swimming above a reef for the first time, and put it in a conservation context pointing out that, “ the coral reef is so vital to the conservation of our environment, our economy and even our cultural heritage.”
All of the participants described how their knowledge and understanding grew. Their statements were backed up with evidence from pre and post-tests showing a dramatic increase in the teachers’ knowledge by the end of the week.
These educators will soon be returning to their home schools around the country to share information about Marine Conservation to thousands students and their communities throughout The Bahamas. Keturah Duncanson from Treasure Cay Primary School stated: “The time with BREEF showed me how to use our country’s nature resources to educate our students. I have been motivated to be a better steward of the environment.”
BREEF Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, acknowledged with appreciation major financial support from The Inter-American Development Bank and additional support from The Atlantis Blue Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, The Moore Bahamas Foundation, and members and supporters of BREEF who made the workshop possible. Volunteer support from The San Salvador Living Jewels Foundation, Bahamas National Trust, and the Ministry of the Environment and Housing made the workshop at the Gerace Research Centre a great success.