On Saturday, September 28, 2013, the Grand Bahama RBDF Rangers attended an educational session to prepare them for upcoming projects with the BNT (Bahamas National Trust). BNT’s Deputy Park Warden for Grand Bahama, Ellsworth Weir facilitated the session at the BMES High School auditorium. The objective of this gathering was to educate the Rangers on the national park system and how important it is to preserve and protect the natural resources of the Bahamas.
The presentation focused specifically on the three parks on Grand Bahama: Lucayan National Park, Peterson Cay, and The Rand Nature Centre. Aerial maps and photographs of the parks were shared that highlighted the cave systems, pine forests, mangroves, and the beach areas that are used for recreation within and around the park system. Overviews of the different species that inhabit each park were discussed from the unique Remipedia crustaceans found at Lucayan National Park to the dragonflies found at the Rand Nature Centre. Educational sessions are a critical component in involving the Ranger youths in projects with community based and non-profit organizations.
Earlier this year the Grand Bahama RBDF Rangers formed a partnership with The BNT and the KGBC (Keep Grand Bahama Clean) committee as part of their overall strategy to participate in community and national development and conservation efforts. Each project the Rangers assist with has an educational component so the Rangers understand the importance of their participation and how it benefits the community on local and national levels. The contribution these young people make and the dedication they display sets the bar for other youth groups in The Bahamas. It is important for all the projects they assist with to have a clear purpose and defined benefits so a sense of pride is felt in carrying out the work.
Three projects have been outlined with The BNT in the upcoming months. The first project the Rangers will be assisting with is the removal of casaurina trees at Lucayan National Park. The presentation that the BNT facilitated gave detailed information on the Lucayan National Park including its history, the Lucayan Indian remains that have been found there and the ecosystems that exist in the park. The Rangers were given an understanding of the importance of their role in assisting with the maintenance of the park area for tourism, ecology, and the preservation of Bahamian history and culture.
The other two projects that are slated for this year include work on Peterson Cay and creating recreational trails in the pine forests on the North East part of the island. The Rangers will also be assisting the KGBC team with upcoming initiatives in the near future.
For more information on the RBDF Ranger Programme please visit www.rbdf.gov.bs. To make a donation to the RBDF Grand Bahama Ranger programme please contact RBDF Treasurer for GB Mrs. Shamika Altidor at 441-0342 or Leading Seaman Lenryck Coakley at 425-6475. For information on becoming a member of the BNT or how you can help preserve and protect the nations’ National Parks please visit www.bnt.bs or like BNT’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bahamas-National-Trust/25034035861?ref=hl.
The Bahamas National Trust was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959 to build and manage the national park system of the Bahamas. Possibly the only non-governmental organization in the world charged with such a responsibility the TRUST, as it is commonly known works daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas, through stewardship and education for present and future generations. There are currently 27 National Parks managed by the TRUST with more than 1 million acres of marine and terrestrial areas protected.