BREEF News

BREEF’s Earth Week: Empowering Youth for Conservation

Throughout Earth Week, BREEF dedicated its efforts to engaging youth in environmental stewardship through a series of impactful initiatives. The team embarked on a journey across various school expos in New Providence, including St Andrew’s International School’s Sustainability Eco Fair, Adelaide Primary’s Career Fair, and L. W. Young’s Environmental Expo. Here, they passionately educated students on the critical importance of conservation and sustainability, sparking inspiration and awareness among the younger generation.

BREEF BESS intern Christopher Clarke teaches students at L.W. Young about sustainability

In addition to these local endeavors, BREEF ventured to Grand Bahama to attend a Clinton Global Initiative event, where they not only spread their message beyond the capital but also networked with other environmental NGOs, fostering collaboration and collective action. Furthermore, the team actively participated in the Department of Environmental Planning and Protection STEM Career Fair, engaging in meaningful conversations with numerous senior high school students who shared their enthusiasm for sustainability in STEM fields.

BREEF’s dedication to spreading awareness extended to the airwaves, as they were featured on Guardian Radio’s Morning Blend Earth Week Series. During the segment, the team delved into the crucial topic of fisheries regulations in the Bahamas, emphasizing the significance of sustainable practices for the nation’s future.

BREEF Outreach Officer Heather Brockbank is a featured guest on Guardian Radio Earth Week Series with Morning Blend host, Dwight Strachan

The culmination of Earth Week was marked by a beach cleanup and fun day at Saunders Beach, where participants not only contributed to environmental restoration efforts but also gained valuable insights into coastal degradation, invasive species, and local fisheries regulations. Through engaging games and camaraderie, BREEF fostered a sense of community and empowerment among attendees, highlighting the importance of hands-on experiences in environmental education.

Waterkeepers Bahamas’ Youth Environmental Ambassadors participate in BREEF Earth Day Beach Cleanup & Fun Day

By empowering youth with knowledge and fostering meaningful experiences, BREEF continues to lead the charge in promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment, recognizing its pivotal role in sustaining our way of life now and for generations to come.

Earth Week Expos & Eco-Fairs


BREEF Earth Day 2024 Beach Cleanup & Fun Day

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YRE 2024 National Competition Winning Entries

1st Place
Confronting the Devastating Effects of Marine Pollution in The Bahamas
by Dejae Woods
University of the Bahamas

The Bahamas, a paradise with breathtaking beaches, nearly 700 islands and cays (Albury et al., 2024), and the most transparent water on Earth, is under a ticking time bomb. Despite its natural splendor, it grapples with numerous environmental challenges, notably significant marine pollution. The country, heavily reliant on tourism, could face a catastrophic impact if this issue is not promptly addressed. This article aims to shed light on the urgent situation of marine pollution in The Bahamas, exploring its causes, consequences, and viable solutions.

Picture this: a pristine ocean, teeming with life, now tainted by chemical contamination and trash. Marine pollution is not just a distant problem, it’s a grim reality when chemicals and trash are washed, blown, or dumped into the ocean (Texas Disposal Systems, 2020). Marine pollution introduces harmful substances or materials into the sea, directly or indirectly affecting marine life and habitats. Sources of marine pollution include oil spills, sewage discharge, plastics, chemicals, and agricultural runoff.

Every piece of plastic still exists today, and it will continue for hundreds of years, potentially harming marine life and ecosystems. “The marine litter concentration for The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean is almost 3x the global average, and in 2025, the projected plastic accumulation for the Bahamas is expected to increase by some 600 80 million metric tons.”- Kristal “Ocean” Ambrose.

Figure 1.  A rope and other microplastics in the sea, Saunders Beach in Nassau, Bahamas. Photo by Dejae Woods

Marine pollution is widespread across the entire archipelago of The Bahamas. The most affected areas are those close to urban centers and industrial sites, where pollutants are directly discharged into the sea. In Nassau, pollution often comes from cruise ships, urban runoff, and tourism impacts beaches and coastal waters; Freeport industrial discharge and shipping activities also contribute to water pollution. Even remote areas face pollution from local waste generation and ocean currents carrying debris. Remote Islands like Andros’ Barrier Reef suffer pollution from agriculture, and development endangers coral reefs. In Bimini, tourism and coastal development pose pollution risks to marine ecosystems.

Marine pollution affects marine life and the human population. It not only threatens aquatic life but also endangers the health of Bahamians. Consuming fish caught in polluted waters can lead to severe health issues, including congenital disabilities, liver damage, and cancer (EPA, 2014). Chemical pollutants accumulate in fish tissues, posing significant risks to locals and tourists who consume them.

Tourists are drawn to our country for its pristine beaches and clear waters, making tourism a vital economic driver. Yet, marine pollution diminishes the visual appeal of beaches and coastal areas, deterring visitors and impacting local economies heavily reliant on tourism revenue. Water pollution discourages tourists from participating in popular water-based activities like snorkeling and diving, leading to decreased visitor numbers and substantial economic repercussions for coastal communities.

Figure 2. An aerial view of the oil spill in Exuma, Bahamas. Photo by: Reno Curling

 Marine pollution can damage or destroy habitats such as coral reefs, mangroves, and wetlands. These habitats provide essential nurseries, feeding grounds, and shelter for aquatic species to grow and reproduce; marine life will decline significantly without these habitats.

Marine pollution has been a persistent concern in the Bahamas for decades. As industrialization and urbanization accelerated globally, pressures on aquatic ecosystems have increased. The issue has worsened recently due to rapid tourism growth, urban development, and escalating plastic production. Marine pollution remains an ongoing challenge in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas as time passes, steadily worsening each year.

Marine pollution presents a pressing issue in the Bahamas due to its heavy reliance on tourism, pristine beaches, and coastal ecosystems. Rapid urbanization and coastal development contribute to increased pollution, while the rise in global plastic production leads to a surge in plastic waste entering marine environments. Industrial activities, including chemical pollutants and oil spills, further exacerbate pollution levels.

Climate change compounds these challenges, threatening coastal ecosystems and aquatic life. Altogether, marine pollution jeopardizes the health of ecosystems, undermines the tourism industry, and poses risks to human health and livelihoods in the Bahamas. Addressing this issue demands concerted efforts to mitigate pollution sources, promote sustainable practices, and protect marine biodiversity.

Addressing marine pollution is a shared responsibility that requires a collective effort from the government, private sector, and public. The government must strengthen environmental regulations, enforce them effectively, and invest in waste management infrastructure. The private sector should adopt sustainable practices and technologies to reduce its ecological footprint. Reducing single-use plastics is crucial in combating marine pollution, as items like bags, bottles, and straws contribute significantly to the problem. Encouraging reusable alternatives and implementing plastic bans can curb plastic waste entering the ocean.

Promoting proper waste management practices, including recycling and responsible disposal, is essential in preventing litter from reaching waterways. Strengthening regulations and investing in spill response technologies are vital in addressing the threats of oil spills from shipping and industrial activities. Educating the public about marine pollution is essential for fostering individual and collective action. Together, these measures can effectively safeguard marine ecosystems for future generations.

In conclusion, marine pollution seriously threatens the Bahamas’ natural beauty, biodiversity, and economic vitality. Urgent action is needed to address this pressing issue, which jeopardizes the health of marine ecosystems and communities. We can work towards a cleaner, healthier future for our oceans and shores by implementing stringent regulations, promoting sustainable practices, and raising public awareness. Collaboration and collective effort are vital to confronting the devastating effects of marine pollution and ensuring the long-term resilience of the Bahamas’ marine environment.


Works Cited

Albury, E. Paul, David Russell Harriss, and Gail Saunders. “The Bahamas | History, Geography, & Points of Interest.” Ed. The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica 1 Mar. 2024. Web. 4 Mar. 2024.

EPA. Should I Eat the Fish I Catch? A Guide to Healthy Eating of the Fish You Catch for More Information. 2014. Web. 5 Mar. 2024.

One, Only. “Plastic Warriors.” only. One. N.p., 25 Mar. 2021. Web. 24 Apr. 2024.

Texas Disposal Systems. “Ocean Pollution: Causes, Effects and Prevention | TDS Blog.” Texas Disposal Systems. N.p., 1 Dec. 2020. Web. 4 Mar. 2024.


2nd Place
The Shape of Things to Come

Shania Higgs
C.R. Walker High School

Mangrove Deforestation near Bonefish Pond
Photo by Shania Higgs

Caption: You and I would be knee deep in hot water if it weren’t for
mangroves. Between marine and terrestrial communities, mangroves are a
physical buffer. During times of severe weather, they protect the coastlines
and reduce soil erosion. Additionally, they house premature marine
organisms to give them a proper chance to develop. Yet, in the last twenty
years, many mangroves have been lost due to human greed and urban
expansion. With only a simple stroll to a nearby mangrove forest, the eye
is met with a shocking yet truthful juxtaposition, illustrating the shape of
things to come.

3rd Place
For Our Islands, For Our Planet: Voices of The Bahamas

Lauren Scriven
Lyford Cay International School

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BREEF’s Sculpture Garden Marks a Decade of Coral Reef Restoration

Nassau, The Bahamas – April 22, 2024 – In celebration of Earth Day, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) proudly commemorates the 10th anniversary of the Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and Coral Nursery (CRSG), as a testament to a decade of unwavering commitment to marine conservation and environmental stewardship.

Established in 2014, the BREEF Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden stands as a beacon of hope and resilience, embodying the intersection of art, education, and conservation. Conceived as a living art gallery and underwater classroom, the CRSG has flourished into a thriving ecosystem, fostering the growth of coral, fish, and invertebrates while serving as a vital educational resource for both locals and visitors. 

The brainchild of Bahamian artist Willicey Tynes, the CRSG was brought to life through a collaboration with renowned sculptors Jason DeCaires Taylor and Andret John. Three breathtaking sculptures—Ocean Atlas (Taylor), Virtuoso Man (Tynes), and Lucayan Face (John)—now grace the ocean floor, alongside sixty-six reef balls, each providing structure to help sustain the rich biodiversity of the area.

At the heart of the CRSG stands Ocean Atlas, the largest underwater statue in the world, 18 feet tall and weighing 60 tonnes. Ocean Atlas depicts a Bahamian girl holding the future of the ocean on her shoulders,  and symbolises a call to protect our oceans for future generations. These sculptures pay homage to both the natural beauty and cultural heritage of The Bahamas.

In addition to installing the sculptures in 2014,  in 2015 BREEF installed coral propagation units within the garden, and has been growing corals in an underwater coral nursery at the site ever since. This coral nursery serves as a flagship site for coral propagation and restoration that has been replicated around the country. Endangered staghorn coral is grown  suspended in the water column, and these fragments are later outplanted on adjacent reefs to restore diversity and structural complexity. 

Coral reefs are vital underwater ecosystems that provide food and shelter to an incredible diversity of marine life including key species such as the Nassau grouper, queen conch, and spiny

lobster. Coral reefs are also the nation’s first line of defence against storms and hurricanes, breaking up to 97% of wave energy before it reaches land.  Coral reefs in The Bahamas and around the world are facing catastrophic bleaching due to warming waters from  climate change. In addition to coral bleaching, coral reefs are also impacted by pollution from land and physical damage from boat anchors and ship groundings, especially in heavily trafficked areas such as around Western New Providence. 

The CRSG is located in the waters off Clifton Heritage Park and within Southwest Marine Managed Area and it is intended to serve as a sanctuary for marine life, and a beacon of hope for coral restoration initiatives.

As BREEF celebrates this significant milestone, it reaffirms its commitment to promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment for future generations. The CRSG stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and conservation in safeguarding our precious marine ecosystems.

Join BREEF in celebrating Earth Day and the 10-year anniversary of the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden by visiting breef.org to learn more about how you can contribute to ocean conservation efforts.

Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture sits at the heart of BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Shane Gross)

BREEF coral nursery at  Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (Photo by Shane Gross)

Outplanted coral at the BREEF Coral Reef Sculpture Garden (photo by Shane Gross)

Bleached coral during the summer 2023 underwater heatwave. (photo by Michael Freifelds)

Spotted Eaglerays swim beside Ocean Atlas and a reef ball sculptures at CRSG (Photo by Michael Freifelds)
Virtuoso Man sculpture at CRSG (Photo by Shane Gross)
BREEF has taken thousands of students snorkelling at the Coral Reef Sculpture Garden
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BREEF Announces Winners for 2024 Young Reporters for the Environment Competition

The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) announces Dejae Woods, age 19 from the University of the Bahamas as the first-place winner of the 2024 Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) National Competition. 

The winning photo entry “Confronting the Devastating Effects of Marine Pollution in The Bahamas“ calls attention to the many issues that contribute to marine pollution in The Bahamas. In her article, Ms. Woods, a UB Journalism major, highlighted the socioeconomic consequences of marine pollution.

“Marine pollution diminishes the visual appeal of beaches and coastal areas, deterring visitors and impacting local economies heavily reliant on tourism revenue,” she wrote. 


Ms. Woods will receive a brand-new laptop and a Bahamas Underwater book gifted by BREEF to support and inspire her future in environmental reporting.

Shania Higgs, age 16, wins the second place prize, a cell phone and a Bahamas Underwater book for her single photo reportage, “The Shape of Things to Come”.  The entry sheds light on the destruction of natural ecosystems like the Mangrove Wetlands under the ‘Loss of Biodiversity’ theme.

YRE Photo entry, “The Shape of Things to Come” by Shania Higgs

In third place, the Climate Change campaign video “For Our Islands, For Our Planet: Voices of The Bahamas” by Lauren Scriven, age 16, amplifies the impacts of strong hurricanes and sea level rise in The Bahamas and makes a call to action for more climate efforts. She wins an underwater camera and a Bahamas Underwater book.

Lauren Scriven calls for urgent climate action in her video Entry, “For Our Islands, For Our Planet: Voices of The Bahamas”

These three winners will now represent The Bahamas in the 2024 Young Reporters for the Environment International Competition hosted by the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE). 

BREEF commends all the YRE participants for submitting their articles, photos and videos. Entries focused on various real-time issues such as the effects of climate change in The Bahamas, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

YRE is a leadership programme that aims to empower students aged 11-25 to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about. It gives them a platform to call attention to these issues through writing, photography, or video. There are more than 350,000 young reporters in 45 countries across the world.

Speaking on behalf of the YRE programme in The Bahamas, Crystal Darling-Sargent, National Operator for the Young Reporters for the Environment, said, “The YRE programme supports youth who are passionate about the environment to give nature a voice in such a fun and creative way. The YRE National Competition is a key part of the programme, however, throughout the year students can engage with nature and feel inspired to share what they have learned as they enhance their storytelling skills through this initiative.”

When asked what motivates her to protect nature, Ms. Woods stated, “My motivation to protect nature stems from a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth. I recognize that the health of our planet directly impacts our well-being and the survival of countless species.”

The Young Reporters for the Environment programme was launched in The Bahamas with the support of Moore Bahamas Foundation, The Builders Initiative and Primat Foundation to enable children around The Bahamas to get involved with the Young Reporters for the Environment programme and take part in the international competition. 

To learn more about the Young Reporters for the Environment programme and how you can get involved, please visit www.breef.org.

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BREEF’s Photojournalism Workshop Inspires Passionate Young Voices for Conservation

Nassau, Bahamas – The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) hosted an Environmental Journalism workshop for youth at the New Providence Community Centre under the theme, “Young Voices for Conservation”.

Our News Reporter, Marlena Leonard gives an interviewing presentation to students at YRE workshop

Thirty eco-conscious students between the ages of 11-25 participated in a range of hands-on activities geared toward improving their writing, video and photography skills. Participants learned techniques to communicate effectively through storytelling; shedding light on local environmental issues in unique and creative ways. 

The Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) event inspired students as they learned through discussions with environmental and media professionals. These experts gave inspiring presentations while showing the young participants how best to communicate authentically in the age of social media and artificial intelligence. 

Eyewitness News Videographer/Photographer Marley “Jayy” Johnson shares insights with YRE Journalism Workshop participants 

Our News Environmental Reporter,  Marlena Leonard, Eyewitness News Photographer, Marley ‘Jayy’ Johnson, Creative Writing Expert, Valene Rolle and BREEF Communications Officer Crystal Darling fully engaged students throughout the day teaching them about the importance of conservation and sustainability.

At the end of the event students crafted their very own environmental campaigns and gave presentations on either Marine Pollution, Loss of Biodiversity or Climate Change. This activity assisted students in organizing their ideas for their entries in the YRE National Competition.

Students practice photo angles with cameras in YRE Journalism Workshop photography activity

C.R. Walker student, 16 year old Jayden Adderley, said she was inspired by the event.

“I mostly liked that we were being interactive with one another, but it was very informative and I had fun learning about current environmental issues that I plan to share with others.”

Another participant, 19 year old Dominic Beneby expressed that as a young aspiring photographer he made it a point to attend the event,

Students participate in outdoor photography YRE Journalism Workshop activity

“Photography drew me into this workshop but I was also able to sharpen and build confidence in my interviewing skills,” he said.

“A Lot of the things were really hands-on and it was so good to get some fresh perspectives from the presenters,” another student, 16 year old Lauren Scriven from Lyford Cay International School said. She continued, “Maybe I’ll start making a difference in my school, maybe I’ll start a blog or add something to our school newsletter to try and inform more students in my school about this because I want to see more of us here.” 

Young Reporters for the Environment Competition Flier

Students explained that they were excited to interact with young professionals in the media and conservation field at the workshop. One of the youthful presenters, Marley “Jay” Johnson from Eyewitness News said,

“You have to connect with the students from where they are.” She continued, “Helping young people to tell their stories through photographs allows them to express themselves creatively and make long-lasting memories capturing perspectives, experiences and emotions.”

Students participate in group activity on environmental storytelling with ImproVibes Creative Educator Valene Rolle

Encouraging young people to speak up about environmental issues is essential, according to BREEF Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert. She noted that the youth are the future and will play a crucial role in creating a more sustainable future for the country.

“The Young Reporters for the Environment programme challenges young people to look at the ocean and the land around them, identify threats and solutions,  and think about effective ways of communicating about what’s going on in the world around us to drive positive change,” she said.

Students present group environmental campaign at YRE Journalism Workshop

BREEF runs the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) programme in The Bahamas. The global programme aims to empower students aged 11-25 to take a stand on environmental issues they feel strongly about and give them a platform to call attention to these issues through the media of writing, photography, or video. There are more than 350,000 young reporters in 47 countries across the world. The deadline for the 2024 Young Reporters for the Environment competition is 14th April. 

The YRE workshop was made possible through the support of the Moore Bahamas Foundation, The Builders Initiative and Primat Foundation. To learn more about BREEF’s Young Reporters for the Environment Programme and its work in promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment, please visit www.breef.org or email breef@breef.org.

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BREEF Young Reporters for the Environment Workshop

In preparation for the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) National Competition, over 30 young environmental stewards sharpened their storytelling skills at BREEF’s Environmental Journalism Workshop at the New Providence Community Centre.

This year’s theme was “Young Voices for Conservation”. Participants delved into photography, videography, and writing to craft impactful narratives about our environment. 📸🎥✍️

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BREEF Hosts Extreme Hangout Bahamas, Climate Change Student Workshop

March 8th 2024 – Under the theme, “Fossil Fuel Free Bahamas: Building a Climate Resilient Future,” the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) held its first ever Extreme Hangout Bahamas event in the St. John’s College Auditorium.

Extreme Hangouts are platforms for focusing on climate change, aiming to amplify the voices of young changemakers, popularise the climate movement, and ignite environmental action. Recognizing that young people and underrepresented communities often lack opportunities to engage in formal climate negotiations, EXTREME, a purpose-driven adventure brand has dedicated itself to providing a seat at the table.

The one-day workshop brought together 10th to 12th graders from various schools in New Providence, Grand Bahama and Cat Island. Participants engaged in discussions and activities which highlighted the significance of conservation and sustainability. They explored topics such as the risks of oil drilling, coral bleaching, and the impacts of climate change on The Bahamas as a coastal nation. Over 150 participants, including 70 students selected by their schools based on their passion for the environment and sustainability attended. The event highlighted the importance of environmental sustainability and environmental education.

During his remarks at the event, Prime Minister Philip Davis explained that advocacy for small island developing states like The Bahamas is crucially important saying, “We must also lead the way by adopting a cleaner, more environmentally friendly way of life. The government recognises the important role it plays as we transition our islands to renewable forms of energy like solar.” He continued, “As young leaders, you have the power to promote conservation, to advance climate justice, and to effect change and we all have individual contributions we can make as well.”

BREEF Young Reporter for the Environment and St John’s Student, Orico Thelusmar interviews Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis

Students also had the chance to interact with local experts and professionals in the conservation field, discussing strategies to promote youth advocacy, healthy oceans, and actions to combat climate change. St. John’s Student, Orico Thelusmar, a member of the St. John’s Eco-Club and a new Young Reporter for the Environment, had an opportunity to interview the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis writes Pledge to the Ocean, “I pledge to advocate for laws to protect our oceans.”

The workshop featured diverse speakers, including Rashema Ingraham, Executive Director of Waterkeepers Bahamas; Minister of the Environment Vaughn Miller, Kishan Munroe, University of The Bahamas Chair of Communications and Creative Arts & BREEF Board Member; Steffon Evans, Assistant Director of the Organization for Responsible Governance; Ashawnté Russell, and Stephen Hunter, Bahamas Youth Climate Ambassadors 2023/2024, and Heather Brockbank, BREEF Outreach Officer. Nikita Shiel-Rolle, CEO of Cat Island Conservation Institute and Young Marine Explorers moderated the event and engaged students as presenters covered topics from “The Impact of CO2 & Fossil Fuels” to “Policy & Advocacy” participating students shared their perspectives on climate change impacts and suggested ways for the country to move toward more sustainable options for energy.

BREEF Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholar, Christopher Clarke explains anatomy of the Queen Conch with Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis

Commenting on the “United Voices for our Planet” panel discussion, Government High School student Dion Walkine said, “Listening to them, I was motivated because they are not that much older than us and they are talking about topics that are familiar to us. I feel as if I can one day see myself on that stage discussing the same climate change issues.”

Another student, Xaria Ingraham, a Waterkeepers Cadet from Grand Bahama and student from Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Academy, said, “I really liked connecting with and seeing so many other kids my age who care about the environment and want to help protect it.”

During the event students posted their “Pledges to the Ocean” on a bulletin board. C.R. Walker student Jayden Pratt wrote, “I pledge to spread the word about climate change and how it affects the ocean, to increase public awareness.” The Prime Minister pledged to “advocate for laws to protect our oceans”.

Akhepran International Academy Students pose for a photo with BREEF’s queen angelfish and Stanley the Shark

Students and teachers used the interactive sessions to learned more about BREEF’s Young Reporters for the Environment and Bahamas Environmental Stewardship Scholars programmes and explored careers in sustainable tourism. Students also participated in a coral restoration activity highlighting a critical tool for addressing threats faced by corals from warming waters, and took part in a simulated oil spill clean up. BREEF provided environmental education resources for teachers to utilize in their classrooms.

Government High School Science teacher Irwinique McKenzie said, “My students found the workshop both educational and interactive, and were particularly excited about the hands-on experiences.”

BREEF is extremely grateful for the commitment of St. John’s College and the St. John’s Eco-club, Extreme Hangout International, guest speakers, partners and volunteers who remain resolute in supporting initiatives like this one which inspire future generations of environmental stewards.

Prime Minister Philip Davis greets students from Cat Island Arthur’s Town Comprehensive School

“BREEF is pleased to collaborate with Extreme Hangout International to host this workshop bringing together students from across the archipelago who are committing to ending our dependence on fossil fuels, and helping The Bahamas take the necessary action to be recognised around the world as a climate leader” stated BREEF Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert “In The Bahamas, a healthy marine environment is essential to sustaining our lives and way of life.”

BREEF Board Member, and Extreme Hangout International Founder, Amber Nutall said, “It was nothing short of a great privilege and personal joy to attend the first Extreme Hangout Local in the Bahamas. The energy, curiosity and determination were palpable amongst the attending students and all who spoke,” thanking everyone for their contributions in making the event a success.

Students from C.I. Gibson, Lyford Cay International, Akhepran International and Bahamas Global Academy schools learn how to make a coral propagation unit 

Nutall also expressed gratitude for the Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis’ attendance, “Having the Prime Minister so engagingly participate for me drove home not only the increased awareness amongst senior officials globally as to the threats faced today by our human family but also the opportunity to together create the future of our dreams requiring not only heap fulls of hard work and collaboration but also reconnection, healing and ultimately gifting us all the opportunity of personal and planetary health,” she said.

BREEF is grateful to The Moore Foundation, Primat Foundation, Our Islands Our Future and Builders Initiative for their support of the Extreme Hangout Bahamas event.

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Extreme Hangout | Bahamas

BREEF united young voices for the Environment in a unique student workshop, Extreme Hangout Bahamas!

🌊 Students had captivating discussions, and participated in interactive activities, and hears from inspiring presentations to deepen their understanding of marine conservation, climate change, and sustainability.

🐠 Students connected with like-minded peers from Grand Bahama, Cat Island, and New Providence as we embarked on an exciting journey to protect our oceans and marine life.

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BREEF AND BAHWEN HOSTS 5TH MARINE CONSERVATION WORKSHOP FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) in partnership with The Bahamas Wildlife Enforcement Network (BahWEN) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) hosted its fifth week-long Marine Conservation Workshop from the 15th to 19th January 2024, at the HMBS Coral Harbour Base. The long-term objectives of the environmental education workshop are to promote collaboration and partnerships between law enforcement agencies and build awareness and capacity around conserving our Bahamian marine environment and its resources. 

During the workshop, 20 participants from BahWEN, RBDF, the Departments of Marine Resources, Customs and Immigration, the University of The Bahamas and the Bahamas National Trust

engaged in a week of enriching experiences. This included presentations on Plastic Pollution, Climate Change, Invasive Species and CITES- the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna. Additionally, the agenda featured comprehensive discussions on fisheries regulations presented by specialists from Environmental NGOs and the Department of Marine Resources, highlighting some of the science that underpins the fisheries regulations. Participants engaged in daily marine organism identification in the classroom that was reinforced in the field. 

“BREEF is pleased to collaborate with BahWEN and the RBDF to host this workshop bringing together a variety of law enforcement personnel who all have a critical role to play protecting our marine heritage.,” stated BREEF Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert “As an archipelago a healthy marine environment is essential to sustaining our lives and way of life.”

Bonefish and Tarpon Trust Bahamian Mangrove Creeks Bahamas Initiative Coordinator Nina Sanchez shared about Bonefish:  These workshops provide an incredible opportunity for conservation organisations to collaborate with law enforcement agencies.” She continued, “This week, we had discussions surrounding the economic importance of the bonefish industry. Annually, this catch and release industry generates approximately $169 million dollars in The Bahamas. Conversations like this between agencies will continue to play an important role in the protection of our vast marine resources here in the Bahamas.”

According to Commander Desiree Corneille, Lead Designate for the Bahamas Wildlife Enforcement Network (BahWEN), “The 5th annual BREEF/BahWEN Marine Conservation Workshop for Law Enforcement Officers are a vital force multiplier, empowering members of our respective law enforcement agencies with knowledge and awareness that aids in protecting our coastal areas and oceans. This is important for them to truly understand the science behind the policies and laws as we are all working towards ensuring a sustainable future.”

RBDF Senior Lieutenant Danielle Morley said, “The successful completion of this workshop leaves our nation one step closer to harmony between our beautiful Bahamaland and its people as more officers become equipped with the skills to aid in conservation of our natural resources.”

Throughout the week, participants also seized the opportunity to engage in a beach cleanup activity along with other field activities such as educational snorkels at BREEF’s Underwater Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and Coral Nursery, Bonefish Pond and Saunders Beach, and engaged in fins-on learning about the diverse marine ecosystems in The Bahamas.

RBDF Chief Petty Officer Denise Oliver commented, “It was strategic including several of our Training Instructors and we enjoyed learning about the importance of marine habitats and various marine species in a way we had never learned about them before. We look forward to making this a staple within our training offerings.”

According to BahWEN Able Seaman Donald Neely, “BREEF MCW has impacted me deeply, igniting a spark that inspires me on my journey to becoming a marine scientist.”

Another participant, Elkeno Major, an officer from The Bahamas Immigration Department said that the workshop was an eye-opening experience, “It was amazing to find out that things like mangroves that we see everyday have such a great and understated impact on us and our environment.”

This series of Marine Conservation Workshops provide law enforcement personnel with practical experience in Coastal Ecology, Marine Conservation, and Laws to empower participants to monitor and enforce marine resources regulations more effectively. This fifth workshop was made possible through the generous support of the Bonefish Tarpon & Trust, Moore Bahamas Foundation, Builders Initiative, Primat Foundation and the Mactaggart Third Fund.  

BREEF staff and Marine Conservation Workshop participants take part in a coordinated Beach Cleanup near the RBDF Coral Harbour Base
Participants document debris found during beach cleanup
Officers dive off vessel into BREEF’s underwater Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and Coral Nursery
 BREEF Education Coordinator, Kevin Glinton gives MCW Fisheries presentation at RBDF Training Centre
BREEF Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert leads MCW group snorkel at Bonefish Pond 
MCW attendees participate in a mangrove snorkel at Bonefish Pond National Park
Snorkeler uses Fish ID slate to identify marine species during Saunders Beach Snorkel
MCW participants prepare for a snorkel at Saunders Beach
All participants received certificates for attending BREEF’s Marine Conservation Workshop at the closing ceremony on Friday afternoon. (L-R) Commander AG Desiree Corneille (BahWEN), Casuarina McKinney-Lambert (BREEF Executive Director), CPO William Burns (BahWEN, Participant), Captain Glen McPhee (RBDF, HMBS Coral Harbour), Kevin Glinton (BREEF Education Coordinator), Senior Lieutenant Themo Berkeley (RBDF Base First Lieutenant)
MCW Participants, Facilitators, BahWen Commander AG Desiree Corneille (6th left), Capt. Glen McPhee of HMBS Coral Harbour (7th left), BREEF Exec. Dir. Casuarina McKinney-Lambert
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Student Partners with BREEF in Clothing Sustainability Initiative

Benjamin Shear, an 11-year-old Kings College student, originally came up with the idea to upcycle clothes as a school project. Ben’s UpCycle initiative, upcycle.one, has swiftly evolved into an innovative online marketplace for upcycled clothing with all proceeds raised supporting the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF).

Shear shared that his inspiration for this initiative came from learning about the severe negative impacts of clothing waste. “When I studied the effects of fashion on the environment and our oceans I was truly shocked at the devastation that textiles cause. I wanted to use my passion for technology to help create a way to promote sustainability in our community. Aligning myself with BREEF seemed like a natural choice,” he said.

UpCycling is defined as repurposing materials, such as clothing and shoes, which would have otherwise been thrown in the trash, contributing to more waste. The initiative actively encourages individuals to make sustainable choices in their clothing. Instead of continuously purchasing new clothing, people can declutter their closets, find local lightly-used clothing, or both.

UpCycle customers may donate children’s clothing, or shop at UpCycle.one for gently used clothing. All proceeds from each purchase is donated to The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF). BREEF is an organisation established in 1993 to address threats to The Bahamian marine environment, and was recently recognised as National Youth Organisation of the Year.

BREEF Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert noted: “I’m so impressed how Ben has transformed a school project into meaningful action for conservation and sustainability.”

Young entrepreneur Benjamin Shear has committed to allocating funds raised from UpCycle to marine conservation because he recognizes The Bahamas’ heavy reliance on the ocean for economic, cultural, and various aspects of livelihood and well-being.

“My hope is not only to raise money for the organisation,” Shear said, “but I hope that by giving these clothes new life, we will aid in decreasing the amount of items that pollute our oceans and encourage people to shop sustainably”.

To learn more about UpCycle please visit upcycle.one and for information on how you can support more of BREEF’s marine conservation initiatives, please visit www.breef.org.

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