BREEF BESS Scholars 2023-2024

After a rigorous application process the newly selected Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS) are selected and ready for hands-on research and in-person learning through the Bahamas Environmental Stewards Scholars (BESS) programme. Applicants from around The Bahamas competed for coveted seats in this gap year programme offered in partnership BREEF and The Island School.

The two scholars for the 2023-2024 BESS Programme are Maya Lindeman from Windsor School and Christopher Clarke from Loganville High School in Georgia.  Fully funded by The Island School, each scholar will participate in a life-changing experiential Semester on the Island School’s Eleuthera campus and a four-month paid internship with us. While interning with us the scholars will participate in work experience with organizations including Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation,  IDEA Relief and Blue Lagoon. 

Recognizing the growing need to problem solve in a rapidly changing world, BREEF and The Island School mentor these independent students through solutions-based learning and scientific research internships. Upon completion of the programme, each scholar will be well equipped to lead The Bahamas into a more sustainable future.

Christopher Clarke is a student at Loganville high school in Georgia with a strong passion for the environment.

The environment is a captivating and intricate system that never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the environment is its interconnectivity – everything within it is intertwined in some way. For example, plants and animals depend on each other for survival, and any modifications to a single component of the environment can trigger a chain reaction that echoes throughout the entire ecosystem.”- Christopher clarke


Maya Lindeman is a student at Windsor School, an active member and president of her school’s Eco Club and is an avid volunteer in her community.

“I have always harbored a deep passion and appreciation for the natural environment and the bountiful beauty it graces us with. Currently, we are facing a potential environmental collapse, therefore I have made it a priority and a personal goal to help people alter their perspective on the protection of our natural habitats. It is so often that we take nature’s plentiful resources for granted, hence I think that it is vital to have conversations around our impact on the Earth and bring awareness towards the impending climate crisis, an issue many are not aware of. Right now, I am able to look out of my window and see my beautiful Bahama land. I love these islands, and I want future generations to be able to look out of their windows 50 years from today and enjoy the same pristine waters and lush greenery that we enjoy now. I want to be a voice of change in this space.” – Maya Lindeman

Since 2008, 61 young Bahamians have benefitted from this exceptional educational experience, with most scholars going on to pursue related tertiary studies or being currently employed in the environmental field.

Special thanks to The Island School for providing the BESS scholarships and the additional partners, donors and sponsors whose support makes these unique opportunities possible.

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