Prime Minister Philip Davis, Min. Vaughn Miller, and Min. of State Zane Lightbourne with Eco-Schools Bahamas Workshop Participants, and the BREEF’s Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert

Prime Minister the Hon. Philip E. Davis delivered the keynote address at BREEF’s Eco-Schools Bahamas annual Coordinators Workshop on Friday, October 6, 2023, at the New Providence Community Centre, under the theme, “Advancing Climate Resilience in The Bahamas.” Hon. Vaughn Miller, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, and Minister of State, Hon. Zane Lightbourne, also brought remarks at the event.

Over 40 educators and participants from Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Long Island, and New Providence attended the workshop. The two-day workshop culminated on Saturday October 7, 2023, with a BREEF 30th Anniversary Snorkel at BREEF’s Coral Reef Sculpture Garden in Clifton Heritage Park.

The Prime Minister underscored the government’s dedication to advocating for compensation for The Bahamas and other Small Island Developing States, vulnerable to climate impacts from major carbon emitters in larger nations.

He noted that as The Bahamas celebrates 50 years of independence in 2023, BREEF is also celebrating 30 years of conservation, recognizing the impact that BREEF has had in the country throughout the years.

“BREEF’s comprehensive approach to protecting our environment – from offering policy recommendations to engaging in hands-on restoration work and collaborating with the international community – has proven invaluable to conservation efforts.

“I commend you for helping to preserve our natural environment for generations of Bahamians to come,” Davis said.

During his official opening remarks, Minister Miller expressed his hope that through the Eco-Schools programme, the next generation of environmental professionals would emerge to confront the challenges posed by climate change and loss of biodiversity.

“To the educators among us, thank you for leading the charge in 44 schools across our archipelago to engage with our young people in a meaningful way regarding our environment,” Miller said.

(L) BREEF’s Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert gives certificate to Abaco’s St. Francis de Sales Eco-Schools coordinator, Samantha Johnson (R) at the BREEF Eco-Schools workshop.

Beth Hall, Eco-Schools Coordinator at St. Andrews International School, expressed her optimism, stating, “BREEF gives me hope in today’s world when you only hear bad news when it comes to the environment, and we sit right at sea level, and I want to give our children the best possible advice and up-to-date information on how to fight climate change.”

Thanking the BREEF team, Abaco’s Hope Town Primary School Coordinator Amanda Lightbourn said, “BREEF Eco-Schools Workshop did not disappoint! The workshops are always engaging and informative. It’s always a pleasure learning from the best. They help us acquire new knowledge in a supportive and informative environment, inspiring us to move forward and share it with our students and fellow teachers.”

Cheng Bee Selim-DeLa Pena, Eco-Schools Coordinator at the Bishop Michael Eldon School in Grand Bahama, described the annual workshop as a rejuvenating experience. She expressed, “The annual workshop is like a refuel for me. It allows me to ignite the spark, and the interest I have for the environment to encourage students in our school to become environmental stewards.”

Distinguished speakers included representatives from Waterkeepers Bahamas, The Bahamas Bureau of Standards & Quality, Bahamas Ecology Park Researcher, Drexel Gomez and the Youth Climate Ambassadors of The Bahamas Ashawnte Russell and Stephen Hunter.

(L-R) Minister of Environment, Vaughn Miller, Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis, BREEF’s Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, Waterkeepers Bahamas Executive Director Rashema Ingraham, Minister of State for the Environment Hon. Zane Lightbourne at the BREEF Eco-Schools workshop.

The second day of the educators workshop included an in-water snorkelling experience at the BREEF Coral Reef Sculpture Garden. This snorkel was also open to the public and all snorkelling spots where Participants were treated to a complimentary snorkelling tour of the vibrant BREEF Coral Reef Sculpture Garden and Nursery, an ecosystem teeming with a rich variety of underwater flora and fauna.

“My first experience with BREEF was as a student on a field trip, and there’s always an amazing difference when you teach the theory in class about coral and marine ecosystems and when you have the students go out and get an increased level of appreciation for it.” Queen’s College Science Teacher, Delreco Bonaby explained.

Students snorkel above the 60 ton Ocean Atlas, the largest underwater sculpture in the world 

First-time snorkelers shared their thoughts after touring the underwater sculpture garden.

“I had a great time! My BREEF instructor was really informative and I think what we learned today about coral reefs and marine ecosystems is general education that every Bahamian should have,” University of The Bahamas student, Yolanda Johnson said.

Another student from the Bahamians, Birds & Botany Club, Taneisha Davis said that this was also her first snorkel. “I was definitely nervous at first but with BREEF I felt safe and I felt like I enjoyed something that I wouldn’t normally consider doing in a safe and fun way,” Taneisha said.

 Bahamians, Birds & Botany Club participate in BREEF public snorkel

“Our vision at BREEF is for a nation where all people appreciate the value of our oceans and everyone takes action to protect them,” stated BREEF Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert during her opening remarks reflecting of BREEF’s 30th Anniversary and Its Eco-Schools Bahamas programme.

She continued, “Over the years, we’ve reached every school across the country, we’ve had teachers from every school participate in in-water training, and we have been working tirelessly to get our entire community involved in conservation.”

 BREEF Eco-Schools National Operator, Kevin Glinton, (left) gives presentation to teachers at workshop

Eco-Schools Bahamas is part of a global sustainable school programme active in over 79 countries. BREEF’s ESB network spreads over six islands with 19 government and 26 private schools. The workshop allows educators to network, share experiences, and gain valuable information to inspire students toward positive actions to adapt to and combat climate change through their respective programmes. BREEF has been running the Eco-Schools Bahamas programme since 2009.

The workshop was made possible through the generous support of the Primat Foundation, Builders Initiative, the Bloomberg Vibrant Oceans Initiative and Rolex Perpetual Planet Initiative. To learn more about BREEF’s Eco-Schools Bahamas Programme and its work in promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment, please visit www.breef.org or email ecoschoolsbahamas@breef.org.

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BREEF’s “Ocean Champions” Dive into Adventure All Summer Long

Under the theme “Ocean Champions” the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation held yet another successful summer Sea Camp programme reaching over one hundred children on the islands of New Providence, Exuma, Eleuthera and Andros. 

BREEF’s annual Sea Camp is an empowering, educational and fun experience that every child in The Bahamas should have at least once. The camp provides hands-on experiential learning for students, using the natural environment as a teaching tool, and engages campers in protecting our oceans and their resources. Sea Camp fosters a sense of appreciation for the Bahamian marine environment; it inspires campers to become environmental stewards while teaching them practical water skills to help them safely explore Bahamian marine coastal ecosystems.

Observing the progress in their swimming ability throughout the camp and their enthusiasm while identifying fish and coral below the surface is truly a rewarding experience,” said Allison Longley, BREEF Outreach Officer, and Lead Camp Coordinator.

Dale Pinder, age 14, explains what motivates him to protect the marine environment, “Having the opportunity to experience the coral reefs during the BREEF camp has made me want to protect the environment even more so that the next generation can enjoy it.”

According to Leilah Mackey, age 9, “Overfishing and plastics in the water is harming fish and will make them go extinct. Turtles are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of plastics. I am motivated to educate people about how they can help so we can have fish for future generations.”

Ethan Cordona, age 11. “I have learned that many fish species are endangered, and so fish need more protection all around the world and not just here in The Bahamas.” 

New Providence

BREEF kicked off the summer of 2022 by hosting its Sea Camp programme in New Providence. During the camp, children experienced our marine environment by immersing themselves in the coral reef and mangrove ecosystems, which included a snorkel field trip to Bonefish Pond National Park, Saunders Beach, and Long Wharf Beach. For many campers, this was their very first time snorkeling. “Ocean Champions” were spotted on Saunders beach taking action and combatting plastic pollution by conducting a beach cleanup, collecting over 40lbs of garbage, and using some of it to create ocean conservation art.

Leaving garbage on the ground leads to it ending up in our waters and harming our marine life. If we don’t take action to protect our marine life, they will die.” – Evante Haven, age 9. 

Photo 1:  Group photo of BREEF Sea Camp (Nassau) at Saunders Beach. 

Photo 2: Snorkelers enjoying red mangroves and spotting juvenile fish at Bonefish Pond.

Photo 3: BREEF Sea Camper displaying his plastics pollution art project.

Georgetown, Exuma

BREEF traveled to Georgetown, Exuma conducting a Sea Camp day experience full of ocean adventures in partnership with the British American Financial Group (BAF) camp. Campers learned more about our blue Bahamas through an interactive coral reef and fish identification presentation followed by a fun afternoon snorkeling session. 

Photo 4: BREEF’s Sea Camp Coordinator, Allison Longley taking campers for a snorkel adventure. 

Photo 5: Group photo of BAF Summer Camp during BREEF’s “One-Day Partner” experience.

Governors Harbour, Eleuthera 

Next stop, Eleuthera! The highlight of this camp was a memorable snorkel trip to Twin Coves located in Governor’s Harbour. Throughout the week, campers learned about the importance of fisheries regulations, marine protected areas, and climate change. BREEF Sea Campers also had fun in the sun while learning about renewable energy by using a solar panel to collect and store energy and power various devices.

Photo 6: BREEF Sea Camper charging a battery with solar panels. 

Photo 7: BREEF’s Sea Camp at Twin Coves, Eleuthera.

Photo 8: Campers snorkeling at Twin Coves, Eleuthera.

Photo 9: BREEF’s Sea Camp (Eleuthera) hosted by Haynes Library.


The final fun-filled Sea Camp took place at award-winning Kamalame Cay, where campers enjoyed the remarkable island off the north side of Andros. The Sea Camp had a diverse group of campers, including children from The Bahamas, the United States of America and Italy. It was a great experience for all to have such diverse backgrounds, but share a common ground—their enthusiasm for the water. Students had a fantastic time on the cay learning about the Bahamian marine environment, including mangroves and coral reefs. 

Photo 10: Campers taking a closer look at invasive Lionfish. 

Photo 11: Campers enjoying a fun boat ride to the Andros Great Barrier Reef. 

Photo 12: Eleuthera Sea Camper experiencing the underwater world for the first time.

BREEF extends their gratitude to all of their partners who hosted camp to include, Ardastra Gardens & Wildlife Conservation Centre, Haynes Library, Kamalame Cay, BAF Global Group Ltd and to all of the BREEF volunteers who assisted during the duration of the camp. 

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