The Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS) program is a unique opportunity for graduating students in The Bahamas ages 15-18 who have a keen interest in the environment and want to learn more as they transition from high school to university studies. Successful applicants will participate in a 14-week academic semester at The Island School in South Eleuthera and a four-month paid internship at an environmental conservation-related organization. Upon completion of high school, students can use BESS as a gap year experience before pursuing further studies. The BESS Program is administered in collaboration with BREEF, Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation.

As part of the BESS program you will:

  • Study Marine ecology
  • Conduct research
  • Earn SCUBA certifications
  • Develop your leadership skills
  • Learn about alternate sources of energy
  • Consider how to make small communities more sustainable
  • Prepare for college
  • Connect with the environment around you
  • BESS participants may complete their four-month internship at the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation, or other environmental organizations in The Bahamas.

BESS Application Process

1. Download and complete the BESS application form:

2. Please ensure that all components of the form are completed including:

  • The BESS application form
  • Essay responses
  • Teacher recommendation
  • Personal recommendation
  • Transcript
  • $40 application fee
  • Copy of valid passport/Certificate of Identity

3. Email ( all materials and complete an online donation at:

    or enclose all materials in a sealed envelope: drop off, mail or send by courier to:

The Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation (BREEF)
Caves Village
West Bay St. P.O. Box CB 11005
Nassau, New Providence

The application deadline is February 28th. Call BREEF for additional information at (242) 327-9000.

Island School BESS Merit Scholarship

In 2013, The Island School announced a merit based BESS scholarship covering full tuition for one outstanding student each year. The scholarship is endorsed by the Bahamian Ministry of Education.  All students who attend a public school in the Bahamas and who apply for BESS are eligible candidates and will automatically be considered for this award. Application deadline is February 29. Call BREEF for additional information at (242) 327-9000.

Additional Expenses

Uniforms and gear as advised by The Island School upon acceptance. Students accepted to the BESS Program will complete one of the following:

  • Fall semester at The Island School and an internship in the spring with a local conservation agency
  • Fall internship with a local conservation agency and spring semester at The Island School
  • Please email with any questions or for more information regarding the BESS Program.

Past Students

Stan Burnside graduated from St. Anne’s in the spring of 2007 and was accepted to Ithaca College. Stan applied to The Island School and upon acceptance decided to defer to Ithaca and participate in the fall 2007 Island School semester. Stan returned in January of 2008 to the Cape Eleuthera Institute and supported collaborative research with the University of Miami in the field of open ocean aquaculture. Stan is currently attending Ithaca College as a freshman in the fall of 2008.


Alexio Brown graduated from C.V. Bethel High School in the spring of 2007 where he took part in the acclaimed Marine Magnet Program; he then worked at The Atlantis aquarium as a diver for several months before pursuing studies during the fall 2007 semester at The Island School. He returned for spring 2008 to work on aquaculture research at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Alexio was accepted to attend The College of The Bahamas in fall of 2008 and will build on his foundation of marine studies.


Walcott Miller graduated from C.V. Bethel High School in 2008 and was part of the Magnet Marine Science Program. Walcott interned with BREEF in the fall of 2008 and attended The Island School in the spring of 2009. After Walcott’s BESS experience he says “the only way to create change is by changing the mind set of Bahamians, in addition I feel passionate about the affects of global warming on our planet and conveying the benefits of using alternative sources of energy that are readily available for Bahamians.” Walcott plans to attend the College of the Bahamas to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Biochemistry and then attend Nova Southeastern University or the University of the West Indies to receive a Master’s Degree in Marine Biology.


Bradley Watson attended Kingsway Academy and has completed one year of study at the College of the Bahamas. He attended The Island School in the Fall of 2008 and interned at BREEF for two months in Nassau. After his internship with BREEF he returned to Eleuthera to intern at the Cape Eleuthera Institute with the Off-shore Aquaculture and Shark research programs. Bradley will be picking up at COB this fall and is interested in studying medicine and environmental design. “I would like to find ways to build homes and other systems that take advantage of what is naturally available in the Bahamas to minimize our negative effects on the environment.”

2016 - 2017

Jesse Sweeting – Bahamas Academy High School, New Providence
Donovan Hepburn –  Wesley College, Abaco
Nina Sanchez – Lucaya International School, Grand Bahama

2015 - 2016

Andrieka Burrows – Nassau Christian Academy, New Providence
Renee Farquharson –  C.V. Bethel Senior High School, New Providence
Christian McIntosh – Forest Heights Academy, Abaco


2014 - 2015

Delphine Carroll – Central Eleuthera High School, Eleuthera
Denée Rakine – Central Eleuthera High School, Eleuthera
Kerwin Mullings – C.V. Bethel Senior High School, New Providence
Marquis Rolle - Inagua All Age School, Inauga


2013 - 2014

Alicindor McIntosh – Abaco Central High School, Abaco
Alliea Campbell – C.V. Bethel Senior High School, New Providence
Carlos Sanni – Saint Augustine’s College, New Providence
Carlson Newton – Lighthouse Christian Academy, San Salvador
Rebecca Strachan – Forest Heights Academy, Abaco
Sydney Burrows – Kingsway Academy, New Providence