On 17 July, the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) celebrated the ending af an impactful six-day Marine Conservation Workshop with a closing ceremony at the Coral Harbour Base. The event shows the commitment of the Government of the Bahamas to protecting its limited naturaI resources.
The Minister of National Security also attended the initiative and highlighted the growing initiatives the Force has been assisting with, since the formation of its Environmental Conservation Office in 2017. BREEF Executive Director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, expressed her satisfaction for the partnership with the RBDF to promote the conservation of marine environment.
"Knowledge is power and we now have an interdisciplinary group of workshop participants from law enforcement and education who are empowered to share this information that they have gained with their colleagues and students, and bring about change. Everyone has a role to play in sustaining our oceans."
The primary focus of the workshop has been to help members of the Defence Force and fellow law enforcement officers understand marine environment, the laws that govern it and the science behind the policies to better implement enforcement strategies. Partnerships and coordinated approaches are essential to increase effectiveness and reduce duplication of efforts. Law enforcement personnel and educators were selected across a range of the public service and secondary schools from around the country.
The interdisciplinary course provided participants with opportunities to study island ecosystems from a hands-on, systems perspective within a week-long residential field-study programme at the RBDF Base. Participants took part in classroom activities, guest lectures, and field studies to nearby marine protected areas including Bonefish Pond National Park and the South West Marine Managed Area.
"This workshop was truly an eye opener for me and brought greater awareness of our marine life and the challenges we face with enforcement, not only locally but internationally. I was open and excited to absorb all that I could in the workshop."
RBDF Able Woman Marine Aniska Bonaby
BREEF is the nonprofit organisation accredited to implement the Eco-Schools programme in the Bahamas. It has been conducting marine conservation teacher training workshops since 1995. In 2017 BREEF met the goal of having at least one BREEF-trained teacher in every school across the expanse of the Bahamas.
- Story provided by BREEF