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Cape Eleuthera Institute

Ellie Corbett, SP'15, Interns with Dr. Edith Widder

 Ellie Corbett's last jump off High Rock during Spring 2015.

Ellie Corbett's last jump off High Rock during Spring 2015.

Growing up on the coast, Ellie, SP ’15, knew she loved the ocean long before going to The Island School. Her IS experience only cemented her future in ocean conservation and field research. This fall Ellie started her college career at Eckerd College in St. Petersberg, Florida. For her six-week January break she interned at Ocean Research & Conservation Association. ORCA is a nonprofit dedicated to developing technologies to conserve and restore ocean ecosystems impacted by anthropological activities.

With the determination to get back into the field, Ellie began her search by looking at all ocean-based nonprofits in Florida. When she saw Dr. Edie Widder was the founder and CEO of ORCA she realized the Island School connection. Although Ellie was on the Sting Ray Team at IS she had heard about Dr. Widder’s work from the Deep Sea Team’s deployment of the Medusa; the camera that captured the first images of the giant squid and Dr. Widder’s most famous discovery.

 Dr. Widder speaking in the boathouse during the CEI Ten-Year Celebration.

Dr. Widder speaking in the boathouse during the CEI Ten-Year Celebration.

Ellie interned with the ORCA team on the Fast Assessment of Sediment Toxicity Program (FAST Program). The Fort Pierce area, where ORCA is based, has experienced extreme algae blooms in the last few years.  Through the sampling and analysis of the Indian River Lagoon, ORCA has made “pollution visible.” Using a state of the art water sampling system called Kilroy, and the results from FAST, ORCA has created a user-friendly map of nitrogen levels within the Indian River Lagoon. With this knowledge and tool the community and stakeholders can be empowered to resolve the problem.

With this experience, Ellie is well on her way to a career in marine conservation. Working with Dr. Widder and a team of passionate and driven scientists Ellie, although young, was challenged to work independently and trusted as a member of the FAST team. When asked what impacted her the most from her internship with ORCA she said, “Dr. Widder has never lost her inspiration and passion for the ocean, and that inspires me.”

Click on these links to learn more about ORCA, the FAST program, and Dr. Widder’s discovery of the giant squid.

HIOBS group prepares to head out

The HIOBS team in the Cape Eleuthera waters Today marks the start of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound Maine to Bahamas sailing expedition to the Exuma Cays! After 10 days on campus learning about sustainability, the marine environment, and research skills, the students are ready to embark on their 18-day research expedition. They’ve also participated in many service projects over the past week with Deep Creek Middle School. From helping out with after-school sports and the Open Learning Center, to  facilitating team building activities and a beach cleanup, to helping out at the community garden, these students have made a huge impact on our community!

Working at the community garden in Deep Creek

Here’s a quick note from the students about their time here thus far and what their expedition to the Exumas will bring:

“Our trip to The Island School and the Cape Eleuthera Institute is part of an Outward Bound 80 day Environmental Science gap year program. The Island School has not only been a great experience but also an amazing learning environment. The lifestyle at the Island School included ideals and ethics that are similar to those of Outward Bound and to our own. The efforts for sustainable living became a huge part of daily life on campus. From taking navy showers (60 second showers) to an intricate aquaponics system, the efforts made here to save our world for further generations is inspiring.

Another part of daily life here is a daily early morning workout, which is sometimes difficult but vital. These workouts boost both our physical health and advance our work towards a final goal of a 1.7 mile swim.

Exploring the wonders of Eleuthera

Hands-on learning is emphasized at the Island School. Our lessons include snorkeling, swimming, research, and engaging lessons with PhD scientists. The enthusiasm around this type of learning was both fun and effective, we all leave the classroom with a common understanding of the state of the world. These experiences provided us with a new way of learning and challenged us to apply our newfound knowledge.

The main portion of our expedition will be focused on adding to a long-term data set monitoring the health of reefs in The Bahamas. We, as a group, have been trained in research skills while on campus and are embarking on our 18 day sailing voyage, during which we will apply our new skills throughout the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. One group will be focusing on the growth, population, and health of Elkhorn Coral (a vital part of the coral reef ecosystem) in the Exumas, while the other will collect data on fish populations in the reefs. We are extremely excited and can’t wait to experience this new type of expedition and apply our new knowledge!”

The HIOBS team on Glass Window Bridge in Northern Eleuthera

 

First Island School Alumni Wedding! Congratulations to Cameron and Wes Mize!

Back in the Summer of 2007, Cameron Powel, Fall 2004, and Wes Mize, Spring 2006, both decided to return to a place they love as summer interns. Before Island School internships revolved around specific research fields, Cameron and Wes spent most of their summer building reef balls. As coral blossomed on their newly constructed homes, a love blossomed between Cameron and Wes. Though Cameron headed to Bates College and Wes to Virginia Tech, the two maintained their relationship until they were joined back together in Boston, MA, where the couple lives now.

Cam and  Wes as interns in 2007

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Cameron and Wes wed on June 18, 2016, in Cleveland, Ohio. With the sound of steel drums and Kalik bottles opening, the couple brought every detail of the wedding back to Eleuthera, including having the island stitched on the groomsmen's ties! As our first marriage between two alumni, Cameron and Wes were joined by many Island School friends.
We wish Cameron and Wes Mize a lifetime of happiness and love, full of sun, sand and sea!
Kirtland Country Club wedding photography with Cameron and Wes
Kirtland Country Club wedding photography with Cameron and Wes
Kirtland Country Club wedding photography with Cameron and Wes

You completed us!

5 years ago, we set out with an eye on July 1, 2016. We dreamed big. You believed in us. The Sharing Solutions fundraising campaign was launched with a Big, Audacious Goal and a belief that a small dedicated group of people can change the world. You did it! What did you accomplish in the last 5 years? Since July 2011 Island School turned 15 years old, graduated its 1,500th leader, and Deep Creek Middle School graduated its 150th. You helped us finish building our science research campus and Cape Eleuthera Institute turned 10 years old. We've hosted thousands of students on short courses and internships - some of whom kept coming back up to 10 different times! You helped us save for a rainy day. You made sure that a third of families in each semester had the financial aid support to make their experience possible. You helped us start an Early Learning Center on campus and our engineering and communications teachers got a home and space to do their work. You helped us upgrade our boat and van fleet. You more than tripled our endowment to $6 million. You helped us invest in people and businesses here in South Eleuthera, and launch teachers and staff off into new careers. You met the overall goal of $15 million to make all of this possible - and surpassed it by over 30% through commitments in place for the next 5 years. Many of you through Sharing Solutions have invested and pledged to secure 10 full years of financial aid, professional development, and great educational experiences - over more than half of the life of our young endeavor.

Each gift helped - over 5,000 different times you made a choice in the last 5 years to make sure we thrive and grow and achieve all that you believed we could do.

Your legacy is profound. We are honored and tremendously grateful. Please come see what you've done - and help us celebrate in the coming year! https://vimeo.com/162191538

From Chris and Pam and the extended Island School family, Thank you!

IS BESS students talk ponds at conferences

Christian McIntosh, a BESS scholar and a Fall 15 Inland Ponds Research Class student, recently presented the group's work at the Abaco Science Alliance Conference.  This conference is a biannual event hosted by Friends of the Environment, where Christian is currently interning.  The conference invites scientists to present their work and findings to fellow scientists, as well as the local community and school groups.  Christian talked with passion about the unique life he found in the ponds of Eleuthera during his research class. Christian McIntosh presenting at the Abaco Science Alliance Conference

Exciting news just in - last week Andrieka Burrows, fellow BESS scholar and Fall 15 Island School student, had her abstract accepted to present more ponds research at the Bahamas Natural History Conference this March. The goal of the conference is to inspire new avenues of research and cooperation across disciplines while highlighting the benefits of research of the environment, economy and human society of The Bahamas.  We are sure Andrieka will do an excellent job and create more interest and support for the conservation of these understudied and fragile systems.

Andrieka Burrows at work collecting data on inland ponds

We are very proud of our young scientists, Christian and Andrieka, and hope this is the start of not only the protection of anchialine systems, but the beginning of long careers in the conservation of The Bahamas' natural resources.

If you would like to find out more about the Island School research, check out the posters published online by the Fisheries Conservation Foundation.

Island School students in the field assessing a pond and the life within