Environment

Joseph Darville named Save The Bays Chairman

Respected educator, co-chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council and well-known environmental and human rights advocate Joseph Darville, M.A., has been named chairman of Save The Bays, the fast-growing grass roots environmental movement with more than 18,000 Facebook friends and followers.

Mr. Darville, a native of Long Island and resident of Freeport, Grand Bahama, takes the helm from Fred Smith, QC.

“This is a critical time for safeguarding our environment which is coming under increasing pressure and I can think of no one better positioned to lead the charge of protection and preservation than Joe Darville,” said Mr. Smith. “I have worked with Joe for more than 30 years on sensitive human rights and environmental issues and I never cease to marvel at the progress he makes in his own politically neutral, dedicated way, packed with purpose and passion.”

Mr. Darville will head a distinguished board of directors that includes leaders in the environmental movement internationally as well as locally including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance.

“We welcome Joe to the chairmanship of Save The Bays at this critical juncture, helping to raise awareness about how fragile our nation’s resources are,” said Save The Bays CEO Vanessa Benjamin. “Joe will help guide us through a labyrinth of issues that we are working on in court and in the court of public opinion — Crown Land, unregulated development, pollution in Clifton Bay and protection of coral reefs among them.”

Save The Bays, launched less than three years ago, has helped lead the siren call and growing demand for an effective Freedom of Information act. Hundreds, including journalists and members of other civic minded groups and Save The Bays community partners, are part of the growing movement demanding the right to information and the government has recently stepped up the pace of draft legislation for review. Save The Bays has said from its start that transparency is the very root and foundation of democracy.

“We would like to thank Fred Smith who has done an incredible job bringing these issues to the public’s attention during his term as chairman,” said Ms. Benjamin. “Fred is actively engaged in complex legal battles to resolve these issues so we are even that much more appreciative of his attention to the need to make everyone realize that environmental protection is not something you leave to scientists and marine biologists. It affects all of us and we all must care. Fred has helped make us care even more.”

Mr. Darville called the appointment “one of the greatest honours and one of the most important tasks of my life.” Having recently completed intensive training along with the CEO Benjamin under Al Gore to become a Climate Change Reality Leader, Darville is expected to place more emphasis on climate change.

A former teacher at St. Augustine’s College and Queen’s College in Nassau, he spent eight years as Director of Workforce Development at the Grand Bahama Shipyard following his retirement from education. He has held many offices, including Past Vice-President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers, founding member and Past President of the Bahamas Counselors Association, Past President of the Grand Bahama Mental Health Association, Past Vice President of the Caribbean Federation of Mental Health, Founding member and Chairman of Operation Hope, [volunteer drug prevention, education & rehabilitation program], Co-Chairman of the Bahamas National Drug Council, Founding member and Past -President of Grand Bahama Human Rights Association; presently vice-president, Founding member of the Caribbean Human Rights Network, Administrative Vice-President of the Freeport YMCA for past nine years.

He is an Advanced Master/Teacher in Reiki training, a natural energy healing method, as well as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. He has received numerous awards for outstanding service and achievement in teaching, communication and citizenship, including the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Silver Jubilee Award for Outstanding Contribution to National (Community) Development. He is married with two children.

www.savethebays.bs

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BREEF hires new environmental educator with a grant from The Moore Bahamas Foundation

“The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) announced April 23 a grant from The Moore Bahamas Foundation (MBF) to hire Ms Chantal Curtis as its new Environmental Educator. Her combined experiences in teaching and forensic science make her a valuable asset to the BREEF team as it seeks to expand citizen science leadership in its coastal field studies and underwater activities.

The latest staff expansion comes as BREEF continues to successfully lead local marine conservation efforts around The Bahamas. BREEF’s education initiatives provide public and private school children with hands-on opportunities to learn about the Bahamian marine environment. The new environmental educator position and many ongoing education programmes are made possible by grants from MBF, local affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation founded by Louis Bacon in 1992.

“BREEF is proud to add a uniquely qualified environmental educator to work with the thousands of children participating in our field trips to marine and coastal ecosystems, thanks to the continued commitment from our long-standing partner, The Moore Bahamas Foundation,” said Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, Executive Director of Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation. “We continue to realize our mission by providing students of different ages and backgrounds the opportunity to learn more about why marine conservation is important and to see how we can work together for positive change.”

Efforts to educate future generations about the vital Bahamian marine environment range from summer sea camps, with activities such as snorkeling, to outreach and education about sharks in The Bahamas, to virtual coral reef field trips. Additionally, BREEF’s marine conservation workshops have trained over 700 teachers from islands across The Bahamas. These educators are now back in their classrooms sharing what they learned with their students and colleagues.

Louis Bacon, Founder of The Moore Charitable Foundation. (Photo by Yann Dandois)Throughout the year, BREEF offers classroom presentations and field trips for school groups to enhance instruction of marine conservation topics now included in national curricula. In 2014, BREEF programs allowed over 2,000 of students to experience the marine environment of The Bahamas. As demand for field trips has increased in recent years, support from The Moore Bahamas Foundation has allowed more students to enjoy this opportunity annually.

“The high demand for BREEF field trips highlights the fact that Bahamian students care about their environment and they value experiences that create an emotional connection to the water, plants and wildlife around them,” said Ann Colley, Executive Director and Vice President of The Moore Bahamas Foundation. “We are grateful for the opportunity to work with BREEF and support these one-of-a-kind learning experiences for the children of The Bahamas, and we know that Chantal Curtis will be a vital part of this good work.”

The hands-on learning approach that BREEF emphasizes is also showcased through the Bahamas Environmental Steward (BES) Scholars youth mentorship programme. In collaboration with The Cape Eleuthera Island School, BREEF provides BES Scholars with the unique opportunity to become involved in marine research, including shark and turtle tagging activities.

In recent years BREEF has been able to expand and enhance its marine science and field studies programmes, while also diversifying options for students at both public and private schools. In 2009, BREEF launched the Eco-Schools (Bahamas) Programme. Eco-Schools is the largest sustainable schools programme in the world, operating in over 55 countries.

The Moore Bahamas Foundation and BREEF’s successful partnership began in 2000, and most recently, MBF commended BREEF’s campaign that helped influence new legislation that ensures a fixed closed fishing season for the endangered Nassau grouper.

BREEF Eco-Summit, 70 young environmental leaders learning and sharing about conservation.“When we see the joy and wonder on the faces of the students in our programmes, we know that we are doing meaningful work for the future of The Bahamas and our precious waters,” McKinney-Lambert said. “We are excited to welcome Ms Curtis to BREEF and we look forward to expanding our education efforts and continuing to promote the much needed conservation of our Bahamian marine environment.”

Chantal Curtis will be coordinating and implementing coastal field trips to Jaws Beach, Bonefish pond and other key places around the island as part of ongoing National Coastal Awareness Month activities. She will also collaborate with Dr Demian Chapman and Mr Mark Bond for shark education in May. Chantal first got involved with BREEF as a Teacher Training Workshop participant in 2014.

This summer, the BREEF team will be particularly busy with summer sea camps on New Providence, Eleuthera, and San Salvador, and with a Marine Conservation Teacher Training Workshop on San Salvador.”

Source: http://www.bahamaislandsinfo.com