Reflections from the Advisory of Caleb Florence

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The Island School has opened my eyes to countless experiences that have changed my life. From kayak trips to free diving opportunities at 6:30 in the morning, I have been a part of endless and exciting moments. The greatest activity I have encountered is hands down scuba diving. The ability to breathe underwater is simply amazing. I was so scared at first because I thought so many things could go wrong: equalization, running out of air, mask problems, or even encounters with sharks or sting rays. After a week of certification drills, scuba diving, without a doubt, has turned into my favorite activity. I have seen a variety of cool marine life, spanning from stingrays to barracudas to lionfish. Recent dives have included trips to several coral reefs and a shipwreck. The more dives I go on, the more experience I gain. While I still use more air than anyone else here, I have improved my swimming to become very efficient underwater. I am able to avoid coral and marine life through inhaling to rise and exhaling to sink. We have found ways to make dives even more fun, such as by playing rocks-paper-scissors shoot or by bringing fidget spinners into the water. Diving has opened my eyes to a new world underwater, and I feel so fortunate to have this amazing opportunity.

-Zander Gomez

 

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Permaculture has taught me a lot about the world around me and it’s only the second week of research class. Before arriving at the Island School if someone asked me where my food came from I would say “the grocery store”. I had never thought about food miles before or the carbon footprint just one can of olives can leave behind. I had never thought about how food insecurity in small island developing communities could be a problem, or how their annual import budget can be up to one billion dollars. Food insecurity is lacking affordable and nutritious food and in the permaculture research group we talk a lot about how we can try to be less food insecure. We do everything from moving chickens to eating chocolate to weeding to reading lots of articles. We just read an article about the “ramen epidemic” in the Bahamas and how in some communities the fresh fruit is tomato paste. We also read articles about aquaponics and the future of food and sustainability. We use this information to figure out the most effective way to use our space on campus. Most of the land is dry and dusty and won’t be good for farming but the Island School is very food insecure and permaculture is trying to fix that. Permaculture wasn’t my first choice as a research class but I’m glad I got it. Although sometimes it’s long hours in the hot sun or reading tough scientific journals for homework, I look forward to my Monday research days.

-Lila Saligman 

 

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On Thursday, everyone had advisory time after lunch. Some advisories went to the beach, or to the market, but we teamed up with two other groups and went SCUBA diving together. Before this dive, I didn’t really get what was so appealing about being thirty feet underwater with heavy equipment strapped to your back, but as soon as I got to the bottom I understood. The water was really clear, so I could see fish swimming along the reefs even twenty feet away from me. When I looked up, I could see the bubbles from everyone’s breathing floating to the surface, where the waves were making the sunlight move. It’s like a whole other world. And when you kick off from the bottom and drift over a reef, it feels like you’re flying. 

-Annie Small 

 

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While I have only been here for 20 days my time here has already become extremely precious to me. From learning to scuba dive to going on kayaks trips with my friends I have realized just how special this place is. My most memorable moment that I had since I stepped off the plane at Rock Sound Airport has been getting my scuba certification and going on dives. I have been snorkeling many times before I learnt to dive, and I didn’t think that there would be a super big difference between SCUBA diving and snorkeling. After my first breath while my entire body was completely submerged I totally changed my mind. It was a magical experience and it has made me love this place and feel closer to it more and more every time that I dive.

-Max Nonnenmacher 

 

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Over the course of my 22 days here at the Island School, I have had the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people from a variety of different backgrounds.  Every day I meet someone new, whether it is in the lunch line, or out in the field on research, I have become part of a new family.  Although my 22 days here have felt like a lifetime, this 100 day journey I have embarked on with my classmates will forever last a lifetime.  Today during my research class, the Turtle research team spent an entire seven hour day only to catch one singular green sea turtle to conduct an esophageal lavage on.  The patience and determination it takes to catch these incredible creatures is hard to describe with words.  This morning for our morning exercise, we had our first timed run-swim.  The day as a collective whole came to an end with a Lewis and Clark Journal entry for my Literature and Writing class.  I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have been able to experience here at The Island School, and would like to thank my teachers and family for this journey we have all just begun.  As Alan Turing once said, “Sometimes in life, it is the people no one can imagine anything of, who do the things no one can imagine.”

-Liam Carroll

Alumni Update: An Island School Wedding!

Sydney DeVos (F'06) with her bridesmaids including, Lexie Marino (F'06), Hanna Koch (F'06), and Julianne Hoell (Staff Alumni). 

Sydney DeVos (F'06) with her bridesmaids including, Lexie Marino (F'06), Hanna Koch (F'06), and Julianne Hoell (Staff Alumni). 

Syd, congratulations from The Island School! We love seeing Island School friendships withstand distance and time to grow into life-long bonds. Sydney's wedding might have been in Michigan but we were celebrating from afar on Eleuthera.

Bahamas Charitable Giving Foundation Makes Leadership Gift to Support Bahamian Scholarships

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On behalf of the Bahamas Charitable Giving Foundation (BCGF), Gary Larson, Council Member, presents Chris Maxey with a gift that will help launch a new generation of Bahamian leaders. This will be a significant boost to ensure that our Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS), Deep Creek Middle School students and all of our community partnership efforts will continue to flourish this academic year.

Gary was the Executive Director of the Bahamas National Trust for 20 years. He remains very involved in environmental and educational causes here in the Bahamas. His interest in the BESS program and in our other outreach programs stems from their ability to foster meaningful mentorship and educational opportunities for Bahamian students. The BCGF’s motive for granting this donation to Chris is just that - Gary feels that these programs offer incredibly unique and powerful experiences for future leaders of The Bahamas. Deep Creek Middle School provides space for 7th through 9th graders from all over Eleuthera to engage in both traditional and experiential education methods. The BESS program allows recent high school graduates from throughout The Bahamas to attend The Island School as well as to take part in an environmental conservation-related internship before pursuing further education or employment (the BESS Program is administered in collaboration with BREEF, Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation). This generous gift will allow us to provide these experiences to even more deserving Bahamian students.

Hurricane Irma Update: Saturday Evening

Hurricane Irma Update: Saturday Evening

The Cape lit up once again this afternoon with bright Bahamian sunshine, and the winds began to calm down accordingly. Lunchtime saw seating arrangements both inside the dining hall and along the outside wall that blocked the wind - this helped solve yesterday's rogue lettuce issues. 

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Post-lunch, our students jumped back into the swing of things with rotations between Environmental Art and Seminar classes. Our students got crafty in an indigenous way while enjoying the breeze after 36 hours spent mostly indoors! This evening, the community will gather in the boathouse to enjoy the Fall 2017 semester's first Coffeehouse. We can't wait to see what our talented peers have in store for us!

While we continue to monitor the weather, we are confident that we are in Irma's wake, and that the sun will continue to shine tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has waited patiently for our updates. Thank you to our students' parents for your patience and trust. Thank you to Irma for being gentle on us. We can now only hope for the best for Cuba and Florida, and remind ourselves how lucky we are to have the resources and support that we do. If anybody has any remaining questions or concerns, please contact our staff in Boston by email at info@islandschool.org or by phone at 866-730-6624.

Hurricane Irma Update: Saturday Morning

Hurricane Irma Update: Saturday Morning

This morning brought ongoing winds to our campus, but nothing with enough strength to cause any damage at all, even to our gardens.

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With minimal debris on campus, we continue to wait out the weather. No rains have come at this point. We have been quite lucky, especially with thanks to our on-campus resources. We have had access to regular meals, plentiful water, and electricity from our generator.

For our students, this morning began with an optional 7 AM yoga class, followed by a regular morning circle (albeit indoors). Everyone then jumped in line for breakfast - it feels like another regular day. Even Mooch came to campus this morning to facilitate kitchen duties.

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Students will have free time this morning and continue their classes of Environmental Art and Seminar.

Keep a lookout for further updates both here and on our Facebook page. We continue to monitor Irma closely, and continue to send well-wishes to our neighboring islands and to Florida. Thank you to everyone who has tirelessly watched our status and sent us bids of safe-keeping. If anyone has any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our staff up in our Boston office by email at info@islandschool.org or by phone at (866) 730-6624.