New student project to restore mangroves in The Bahamas

Students from Abaco Central High School enjoy their time in the mangrove wetlands. Photo Credit: Amy Heemsoth/KSLOF.
Students from Abaco Central High School enjoy their time in the mangrove wetlands. Photo Credit: Amy Heemsoth/KSLOF.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) has launched Bahamian Awareness of Mangroves (or B.A.M. for short), a new program to support mangrove education and restoration in The Bahamas. The B.A.M. program will provide classrooms with lesson plans and activities as well as funding and support to take students on field trips to mangrove forests. Students will get the opportunity to experience the mangrove ecosystem first-hand and help restore it. During the project, students will grow mangrove propagules in their classroom that they will study and plant in a local mangrove forest at the end of the school year.

Amy Heemsoth, the Director of Education at KSLOF traveled to Abaco educating students about life in a mangrove forest, conducting teacher trainings, and leading field trips into mangrove forests to connect students with nature. She hopes that “students who participate in the project will take ownership of the mangroves in their country and that they will be inspired and empowered to preserve them, even after the project is complete.”

The Foundation is collaborating with the local nonprofit Friends of the Environment (FRIENDS) to establish and run B.A.M., which will bring mangrove curriculum to students at Abaco Central High School and Forest Heights Academy. Kristin Cartwright-Williams, the Executive Director of FRIENDS, says that they are “so excited to partner with KSLOF to implement the B.A.M. project and hope to inspire our students to become proud custodians of one of our country’s most valuable ecosystems.”

Mangrove education and restoration programs help reverse the decline of mangrove forests by educating students and teachers about the ecological importance of mangroves and inspiring a new generation of conservation leaders. In 2014, the Foundation brought mangrove education to secondary schools in Jamaica through their Jamaican Awareness of Mangroves in Nature (J.A.M.I.N.) Program, now they’re doing the same in The Bahamas.

About the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation: The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation provides science-based solutions to protect and restore ocean health. As part of its commitment to Science Without Borders®, Living Oceans Foundation provides data and information to organizations, governments, scientists, and local communities so that they can use knowledge to work toward sustainable ocean protection.