How to Help in the Aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

Following the recent destruction of Hurricane Dorian to the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, The Island School has received numerous inquiries as to what can be done and if there are organizations supporting relief efforts.. 

There are countless individuals, groups and organizations working to provide relief efforts to those affected by Hurricane Dorian. Below is a list of a few organizations who strong reputations for supporting the people of The Bahamas and have been on the ground in Grand Bahama and Abaco. To learn more about these organizations, we encourage you to visit their websites.  It is through them that you can obtain information on their past work, ways to give, and all other questions you may have before making a gift of support. In addition, The Government of The Bahamas has provided a list of ways in which you can help. 

HeadKnowles (501c3): Established in 2015, HeadKnowles is now handling their third hurricane relief effort. HeadKnowles supports The Bahamas Red Cross and NEMA. They are also partnering with countless groups to organize volunteer efforts, item collection and delivery, victim evacuation and water distribution.

Green Turtle Cay Foundation (501c3): Founded in 1996, the Green Turtle Cay Foundation was formed to benefit the Green Turtle Cay, Abaco community. The Foundation has partnered with more than 50 pilots who continue to fly in and out of Abaco to deliver supplies and volunteers to provide relief efforts in Abaco. 

Lyford Cay Foundation (501c3): The Lyford Cay Foundation works to increase educational attainment throughout The Bahamas and believes that this is key to the development of a prosperous, healthy and peaceful Bahamas. The Lyford Cay Foundation has pledged $1 million to ongoing relief efforts, and $25,000 to The Bahamas Red Cross Society for immediate hurricane relief. As Abaco and Grand Bahamas rebuild, the Lyford Cay Foundation will deliver grants to ensure the continued education of children and young adults in areas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

New Providence Community Church: The New Providence Community Church has been acting as a support liaison for numerous NGO’s relief efforts.

World Central Kitchen (501c3): World Central Kitchen was one of the first organizations to reach Abaco following Hurricane Dorian, and was the only to provide fresh meals. The team has been delivering meals to Abaco from their kitchen in Nassau by helicopter, serving 20,000 meals each day. The team also delivered a 220-foot boat, filled with kitchen supplies and ingredients to Grand Bahama, where a team met them and began preparing meals to deliver to shelters and communities across the island.

Global Medic: Global Medic is a Canadian charity that provides short-term, rapid response in the wake of disasters and crisis. 

Global Support and Development (501c3): A rapid-response organization that deploys relief teams within hours for disaster response.

HEART 9/11 (501c3): Founded in 2007, Healing Emergency Aid Response Team’s mission is to respond to natural and man-made disasters, rebuild infrastructure and recover by building resiliency for individuals, families and communities. Their search and rescue teams have been on the ground in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

International Medical Corps: The International Medical Corps has been on the ground to provide first responder care and medical training to others responding to the hurricane. 

Samaritan’s Purse: Samaritan’s Purse specializes in meeting critical needs for those affected by conflict, disaster, famine and epidemics throughout the world. They have been flying in food, medical supplies and other necessities to those in need throughout Grand Bahama and Abaco.

Team Rubicon: Team Rubicon mobilizes veterans, leveraging their skills, training and experience, to help people prepare, respond and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises. They have launched a large-scale response operation in The Bahamas to support immediate and emerging medical needs in Abaco, and will deploy additional volunteers to provide assistance as more affected islands can be accessed. 

Virginia Task Force 1: Developed in 1986 as a domestic and international disaster response resource, sponsored by the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Virginia Task Force 1 has around 200 specially-trained career and volunteer fire and rescue personnel. The team began massive search and rescue missions quickly and continue to help.

USAID: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to coordinate with local authorities, humanitarian organizations, the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Embassy to assess damage, identify humanitarian needs and bring urgent assistance to areas affected by Hurricane Dorian. 

YachtAid Global: YachtAid Global provides humanitarian aid, conservation, and disaster response leadership by volunteering yachts and crews to work in the communities that they visit. YachtAid Global has been working with yachts to deliver life-saving care, equipment, and disaster recovery teams that are supporting search and rescue missions.

Odyssey Aviation: Odyssey Aviation is a network of private aviation operations in the U.S. and The Bahamas. They have helped to evacuate thousands of Hurricane Dorian victims and deliver and distribute supplies.

TransIsland Airways: TransIsland Airways is a Bahamian airline, and has devoted its entire fleet of aircraft to aid in relief efforts.

The Island School’s Center for Sustainable Development has supplied solar units to those affected by the storm in Abaco. These units are able to provide immediate power to an island that has been without, allowing phones, computers, radios and emergency equipment to be charged or powered. 

Thank you for your concern and drive to help those who have been affected by Hurricane Dorian.  If you have questions about the above organizations, we encourage you to reach out to them directly.  If you would like to learn more about the solar units we sent over to Abaco, kindly email donations@islandschool.org.

Island School Alumni Complete Shark Explorers Internship

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White wash, marvelous mountains, exquisite flora and fauna. Six individuals, twenty-two days, countless unforgettable experiences. 

Five months ago, the six of us were connected through an email thread…succinct and slightly ambiguous, none of us truly knew what we had signed up for. Nevertheless, we prevailed and made our journey across the world. Yet, in hindsight, no words could have prepared us for our experience here. Similar to The Island School, our time with Shark Explorers is best understood by those who have the privilege of experiencing it (but we’ll try to do our best).

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In a mere three weeks’ time, we’ve developed a family in South Africa, received seven diving certifications (with two of us coming back to the US as Rescue Divers!), gone from the deep to the bush and back again…needless to say, we’ve been pretty busy. 

Each day begins with a new challenge which we ultimately triumph together. Some days we’ve summited mountains, reaching the peak of both Lion’s Head and Table Mountain... although the latter was done by cable car (rather than by foot), but both were equally stunning at the top. Other days, we’ve traveled 2 hours offshore into the deep to meet Mrs. Blue Shark (who was a lovely host, might we add). And 2-hour drive to the East revealed a white shark utopia, as we were introduced to the Gansbaai “Shark Alley”. There we went cage diving, courtesy of Marine Dynamics, and saw FOUR different lady sharks, one of which was 4.5 meters in length!! 

Closer to home we’ve had the pleasure of meeting a slew of prehistoric seven-gill cow sharks, pajama sharks, shy sharks, seals, octopuses, whales galore, penguins, abalone, albatross...we could keep going, but think you probably get the idea...if you want to see vibrant walks of life, COME TO CAPE TOWN!! When we’re not underwater, we don’t stray far, instead we spend mornings on the surface, surfing the waves of Muizenberg (although a few of us were better at making fools of ourselves in the white wash than the actual staying-atop-the-board aspect of surfing). Lastly, let us not forget the food—Mom, Dad, apologies if we’re coming back a little chunky, but we couldn’t help it, the food’s just too good! Whether it be the local night market, filled with food stalls galore, or the Shark Explorers braai, whose barbecue gives the South a run for their money, we won’t be coming back to the US hungry. 

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Although there are plenty more experiences for us to share, we hope that we’ve enticed you to come see it for yourself. Three weeks of a lifetime and an internship that’s better than most out there—you will not regret it because we surely don’t. Thank you to our Shark Explorers hosts and family, we cannot thank enough for your generous hospitality, acceptance and love; we will be back soon in due time! To all Island School alums…come here, just do it, you’ll thank us later, we promise.

But for now, if you’d like to know more about our time here, please reach out.

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All the best from your fellow Island School family,

Sachi Elias (FA ’14)

Jamie Frost (FA ’14)

Olivia Gomez (FA ’15)

Paityn Wedder (FA ’15)

Liam Carroll (FA ’17)

Jake Barrett (ST ’18)

For information on how to get involved with Shark Explorers, contact Brocq Maxey at Brocq@sharkexplorers.com.


Island School Alumni Join Shark Explorers

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Six Island School alumni just finished their first week with Shark Explorers in South Africa. Here’s what their experience has been like so far, in their own words.

Off the boat, a step...and then, crash! Icy water runs through the wetsuit and awakens the mind and soul. Together, 7,400 miles always from Eleuthera, six Island School alums have begun to explore the depths of South Africa. 

A typical day usually consists of an early morning wake up followed by a quick coffee and breakfast. We begin our days with two sets of dives, one or two in the morning followed by a lunch, then off to a longer afternoon dive. This week, our mornings dives were spent doing SSI specialty courses, including Enriched Air Nitrox, Deep, Navigation and Night Diver. Apart from our certifications, we assisted the Shark Explorers team in water sampling of False Bay, testing pH levels, salinity and turbidity. Another task on the water involved the Shark Explorers cage diving boats. We served as deckhands, prepping the boat and aiding to chum the water, in order to attract seven gill cow sharks around seal island. We usually regroup around lunch time to refill our tanks and eat a quick meal to recharge our batteries. Afterwards the afternoon consists of our second or third dives of the day. In our first week alone, our underwater interactions have ranged from five different species of sharks, playful seals, slimey hagfish, breaching whales, and a range of octopuses. We navigated urchin barrens, kelp forests, and boat wrecks, siting vibrant walks of life in each location. As our time continues with Shark Explorers, we’re eager to meet what else the sea has to offer.

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Outside of the dive center, we’ve enthusiastically toured Cape Town and its surroundings. We drove around the Cape of Good Hope and were subsequently stunned by the gorgeous view and sunset of Chapman’s Peak. Wildlife sightings have been exciting and abundant, ranging from the penguins at Boulder’s Beach to the baboons and ostriches at Cape Point. Closer to home, we have a baboon that likes to visit the dive center looking for food! We filled our rainy days with a visit to the aquarium of Cape Town, followed by shopping and eating at local markets. However, on sunnier days, we journeyed into the bush for a safari tour at the Aquila Game Reservation. They had an array of wild animals native to South Africa, including lions, African elephants, giraffes, hippos, and endangered rhinos! During one free afternoon, we hiked up Admiral’s Waterfall in Simon’s Town, and at the peak, were greeted by a scenic view of the town (as well as a few cheeky baboons). As the weather improves, we’re hoping to hike Lion’s Head and Table Mountain.

Each day is busy, active, and, thrilling. Our Island School education has taught us to never stop exploring, so true to the school we all love, we will continue to do just that in Cape Town! 

Looking forward to sharing more of our South African adventures,

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Sachi Elias (FA ’14)

Jamie Frost (FA ’14)

Olivia Gomez (FA ’15)

Paityn Wedder (FA ’15)

Liam Carroll (FA ’17)

Jake Barrett (ST ’18)


Summer Term 2018 Update

As students embark in their last few weeks here, it gives us the perfect opportunity to reflect on the many unique learning experiences the students have shared. Throughout the past few weeks, students have participated in three classes, Marine Ecology, Tourism and Development and Sustainable Systems. Each of these classes challenges students to think about their relationship with place, to formulate questions and to develop solutions. Students spend one week immersed in each class.

 

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Marine Ecology:

Marine Ecology is focused on three core concepts—ecology, biological systems and natural history writing. Each morning, students gather in the classroom to study and discuss diverse ecosystems in the Bahamas. In the afternoon, marine ecology travels to a field location where they further discuss and explore the ecosystem studied that morning. During this time, they also practice observation, inference and communication skills.

While learning about mangroves, students take a short walk over to the campus’ mangrove forest, where they study the benefits of mangrove ecosystems and make observations.

While learning about mangroves, students take a short walk over to the campus’ mangrove forest, where they study the benefits of mangrove ecosystems and make observations.

On other days, students dive into their studies (literally) and make underwater observations of the nearby coral reefs. Through their connection with the  Cape Eleuthera Institute , students get to participate in important research and conservation efforts.

On other days, students dive into their studies (literally) and make underwater observations of the nearby coral reefs. Through their connection with the Cape Eleuthera Institute, students get to participate in important research and conservation efforts.

Throughout this course, students study effective ways to communicate scientific research. At the end of the class, all of the students submit a creative writing piece that demonstrates what they have learned throughout the course.

Throughout this course, students study effective ways to communicate scientific research. At the end of the class, all of the students submit a creative writing piece that demonstrates what they have learned throughout the course.

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Tourism and Development:

In this class, students study the economic and political history of the Bahamas. The course encourages them to think about their own relationship to place and how perceptions of the Bahamas have been constructed.

During this class, students leave for a four-day down island trip. On this trip, they interview locals and tourists about their opinions of tourism. They also participate in a 24-hour solo, meaning they live by themselves in an excluded area of the beach for one day. During this time, they are expected to journal and reflect on their time as an Island School student and set goals for themselves that will help them benefit their wider community.   

During this class, students leave for a four-day down island trip. On this trip, they interview locals and tourists about their opinions of tourism. They also participate in a 24-hour solo, meaning they live by themselves in an excluded area of the beach for one day. During this time, they are expected to journal and reflect on their time as an Island School student and set goals for themselves that will help them benefit their wider community.

 

In the classroom, students discuss tourism in the Bahamas and how advertising has contributed to specific expectations and perceptions of the Bahamas.

In the classroom, students discuss tourism in the Bahamas and how advertising has contributed to specific expectations and perceptions of the Bahamas.

Students also visited a nearby abandoned resort where they discussed the ecological and social impact of mass development in the Bahamas.

Students also visited a nearby abandoned resort where they discussed the ecological and social impact of mass development in the Bahamas.

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Sustainable Systems:
There is a lot to explore in the ocean and around the island, but there are also a
lot of great efforts happening right on our campus! In the sustainable systems
class, students learn about sustainable systems such as permaculture,
aquaculture, composting and solar energy. Throughout the week, students also
design and present projects that could be implemented in their own communities
to make them more sustainable.

In this image, students are seen learning about the benefits of pole mounted solar rays.

In this image, students are seen learning about the benefits of pole mounted
solar rays.

Students spent an afternoon at the aquaponics system learning about how the system operates and helping take care of the fish that make it possible.

Students spent an afternoon at the aquaponics system learning about how the
system operates and helping take care of the fish that make it possible.

While at the aquaponics systems, students also helped plant the lettuce that we eat on campus. Yum!

While at the aquaponics systems, students also helped plant the lettuce that we eat on campus. Yum!

During their time here, the students have participated in many unique learning experiences, and there is a lot to reflect on. But luckily there's still more time and plenty more to learn! We are very excited for the parents to join us next week and share in these many wonderful experiences with the students!

Celebrating Merlene (Mooch) Munnings and Sheryl Deveaux

Celebrating Merlene (Mooch) Munnings and Sheryl Deveaux

Since the inception of our ever-growing organization, Mooch and Sheryl have been the ladies behind the scenes that have fed the droves of people who make there way through our campus on the Cape each year. From Island School students to CEI researchers to Chris and Pam themselves, Mooch and Sheryl know how to provide for any number of people with any number of dietary needs. Beyond that, however, these women have acted as the backbone to the organization by serving in the role as "mom" away from home for many, many different types of people. They did so, first and foremost, by laying down the rules of the kitchen and making sure everyone behaved respectfully. 

Last weekend, we celebrated their almost-twenty years of love and devotion to the CEIS family with a celebration at the Marina. To see photos of the event, visit our Flickr page. Mooch, Sheryl - you will both be very missed! Good luck on your next adventure!

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