Dear Proud Parents, We circled up at noon; I was moved to tell your children in the more intimate moment of our small circle how proud I am of the good work that has been accomplished. Yesterday after the research presentations we gathered in Hallig House to listen to key note speakers share impressions. Eric Carey, Executive Director of the Bahamas National Trust, is big in stature and huge in spirit and brutally honest; he was "blown away" by the work. Eric mentioned specifically the turtle project at Half Sound and the conch research as monumental and pioneering efforts that will encourage (he used the word force) the government to enact laws to protect and conserve these vital habitats and endangered species. As a boy growing up in Tarpum Bay he confirmed the story retold by the research team, " when I was young we would go to Sandy Cay and load our boat with 100s of conch that sat dry at low tied and if you go back now you can not find a single conch."
Next to speak, Mr. Sandy Mactaggart, Chancellor Emeritus University of Alberta. Sandy has dedicated his full and extremely successful life to save beautiful places; he realized that the work here by young scientists proved beyond a doubt that education as it continues to exist is tragically flawed. He then shared a story; I encourage you to read the link, http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/introbook2.1/x874.html . Your children are producers of knowledge, they have stretched to ask and answer new questions and they are well tested and confident -- watch out world!
Last to speak was the Honorable Kenred Dorsett, Minister of the Environment, Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Minister Dorsett put aside his prepared remarks; he too felt inspired to react to all that he had witnessed from the student led tour looking at how we harness renewable energy to the breadth and depth of student research presentations. He said in no uncertain terms that he would make it his priority to personally share the research with his Prime Minister and fellow members of cabinet at their scheduled meeting Tuesday. More than this he publicly announced on national TV that the student accomplishments needs to be a model to help change schools throughout the archipelago -- that this Island School, a place committed to living more sustainably, needs to also be a model for how the nation wants to live, from water catchment to energy and waste management to food production. It is great to see an elected official, so often a guardian of the status quo, cheering for revolutionary change.
As we cheered the Minister, I thanked him and took the chance, which had protocol officers cringing, to compare the Honorable Minister to the Lorax. He was after all speaking out on behalf of the mangroves and the grouper, reefs and turtles and sharks and his children, the next generation He promised your children that their work would not go unnoticed and he thanked them for what they have done for The Bahamas.
I could go on with so many more stories that packed just one day and must share that those who have come many times before, grey bearded scientists and national conservation leaders, made it clear that I need to tell them, tell the young research teams and this includes the faculty, that they have truly raised the bar higher than it has ever been.
Leave it to say -- I am proud,