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Hurricane Matthew Update #2

To the Island School and CEI family and friends, Thank you for staying in touch with us. We very much appreciate your concern and we will continue to do our best to keep everybody updated.

This morning brought an energized and vocal morning exercise. Being the last group exercise for a few days (and a long exercise track day), the students gave it their all.  Pancakes and sausage were served afterward in a cool and breezy dining hall. The skies are gray and blue and the water is choppy though still a classic Bahamas blue.

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Classes are carrying on as usual today with students grabbing cameras and microphones to do interviews around campus. The communications seminar class is focusing on telling stories about people’s experience with storms in the past in audio and video form.

Campus is busy with final storm proofing and organizing. Deep Creek residents are moving onto campus today as well and sharing space with Island school faculty and staff.

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Students will be located in one of our newest and most secure buildings on campus: the Center for Sustainable Development. This building is the ideal location on campus to ride out the storm. It is located about 15 feet above any predicted storm surge, it has an open floor plan which is ideal for communal living , and the entire building was constructed on four of the largest cisterns ever built within the organization, storing over 200,000 gallons of water. Electricity will also be run off of generators if our supply is interrupted.

Center of Sustainable Design

We continue to prepare and are expecting a big storm. We are continually checking NOAA’s website to track the storm and monitor any changes in the storm’s path or severity. We understand how difficult it is to be at home watching the news. One of our gifted educators, Elidieu Joseph, is from Haiti and we all took some time to think about the people of Haiti who right now are weathering the storm with so little in the way of resources.  It makes us appreciate all that we have.

Thank you all for the continued support and confidence. As always, please reach out to our team with any questions or concerns.

Email: info@islandschool.org

US Office Number: (609) 620-6700

 

 

 

Zika virus update III

On Eleuthera we are continuing to keep a close eye on any developments with the Zika virus.  As you get ready for your travel, we want to make available the current information we have with regard to Zika.  Local Zika transmission on the island of New Providence in The Bahamas was first reported in the middle of August 2016.  Because the spread of Zika and other viruses to all countries where Aedes aegypti are endemic is predicted, we are applying our standing mosquito protection protocols for our community as usual. The spread of these viral diseases is difficult to monitor properly – as the article mentions, infections of a specific type can only be verified in a laboratory test.  We encourage prevention of mosquito bites – we highly recommend that students and visitors consider bringing personal no-see-um mesh camping type nets for their beds, and bug-net pants and tops. We also promote use of DEET and encourage covering up with long socks and long pants and long sleeves.

Please consult the following resources to help answer any questions or concerns you might have.  If we can help you in any way as you navigate, please contact us at (609) 945 0710 or at info@islandschool.org

 

CDC Traveler recommendation for the Bahamas

Pan American Health Organization Zika updates

Bahamas security report

Zika presence

Travelers to areas with dengue/chik/zika

 Zika pregnancy

 

SUMMER TERM 2016: CACIQUE UPDATE #9

We’re Shelton and Jane, today’s Caciques. We’ve all been a tourist at some point in our lives. But few of us have been travellers. In our tourism and development class, we learned that to be a traveller is to be an ethical tourist; one who strives to become intimate with the land and its people. Each class group ventures on a four-day Down Island Trip, exploring the direct effects of tourism and development on Bahamian culture and the island itself.

Students on their Down Island Trip visit various settlements and businesses to learn about the tourism industry.

Summer term students have the opportunity to conduct interviews with local Bahamians throughout the trip, gaining new insights on tourism and how it impacts the individual people on the island of Eleuthera. On one of our stops, Shelton met a local baker who said that he enjoys tourists that visit Eleuthera because they have a “genuine desire to learn about our culture,” revealing that there is a positive side to tourism in some of the local communities. It was an incredible experience to connect with the locals and hear their stories. We ventured out on boats, ate local foods and discovered the many hidden gems of Eleuthera.

While continuing classes and intense Harkness discussions throughout the trip, we also had the opportunity to improve our skills as campers. Each member of the group participated in setting up fires, campsites and meals.

Students and staff work together to set up their campsite during a Down Island trip.

 

Overall, one of the best parts of the trip was becoming close with our peers and teachers. The Down Island trip was an intellectual and cultural experience that will continue to impact our lives at home, in our communities and in the greater world as we continue to question our role as tourists in other nations.

Signing off,

Shelton and Jane

SUMMER TERM 2016: CACIQUE UPDATE #8

This is Grant and Lily, your Caciques singing on: IMG_3716

Students measure soil at the aquaponics farm during a sustainable systems class. 

Monday was the halfway point of our stay here at the Island School. We, as a community, have grown to know each other very well and have become a strong support system for one another. We push each other through the many challenges that the Island School gives us as we prepare for our monster run-swim. Challenges can be mental as well as physical, so we always make sure that everyone feels supported. As of Monday, the Island School students have completed our first rotation of classes. It’s been a whirlwind of excitement and challenges, and it’s a weird feeling to know that we have gone through more days than we have left.

Monday was our off day where we were able to explore and enjoy the amazing opportunities we have in front of us. During the day off, Lily rested in the morning and biked to Sunset Beach in the afternoon along with many of the other students. Along with his peers, Grant went fishing in the morning near Fourth Hole Beach, then spent the rest of the day at Sunset Beach snorkeling with other students. The dedicated and hardworking group of 52 really got to know each other better at the beach as they listened to some of Owen’s favorite songs. In the evening, we had dinner before we all headed off to our class rotation groups where we were introduced to our new classes. There are three different classes that we take, which are tourism and development (which Lily just finished), marine ecology, and sustainable systems (which Grant just finished). We are both excited to learn more about each of our courses. We are all looking forward to the upcoming weeks as we cherish our last days here at the Island School. We have so much planed for the time we have left here, especially as we go into our new class rotation. We are all excited to see what the rest of time here has for us.

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Students in marine ecology visit a nearby reef to identify types of organisms in the area.

Grant and Lily singing off, as your new Caciques will update you tomorrow!

 

SUMMER TERM 2016: Cacique Update #7

Hello everyone this is Johnny and Maeve and we are super excited to be the caciques of the day! Yesterday we were happy to have a sleep while some of us participated in morning meditation. Johnny was lucky enough to see a finning reef shark during sunrise. During the day the cocoplums were split into two groups to do research with CEI scientists. One group studied plastic pollution in the ocean, focusing on micro plastic and toxin buildup in fish species. In the morning they dissected Mahi Mahi and found a plastic fragment in its stomach. That afternoon they trawled a net that collected micro plastics from the ocean. Our group researched sharks, targeting migration patterns and nurseries for juvenile tiger sharks. In the morning we went out on a boat up a creek and set a long line.  This area is a suspected nursery for tiger sharks. The long line consisted of a series of circle hooks and buoys stretched out around the creek. We helped by baiting the hooks and attaching the buoys. Some of us helped by keeping track of the amount of hooks and buoys we put out. Then we left the line to sit for about an hour and a half and went for a swim (far away from the shark line). Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 6.38.01 PMMaeve and Johnny, our caciques!

Sadly, after pulling in the line and putting away all the hooks, we did not catch any sharks. We did catch a huge sea sponge! If we had caught a shark we would have tagged it with a cattle tag and spaghetti tag. If we had caught a juvenile tiger shark shorter than 180cm we would have also attached a satellite tag. This piece of equipment cost 4,000 dollars! This tag would have tracked the shark’s migratory paths, depths of swimming, and diet for six months.  Then it would pop off the shark and transmit information for about 2-3 weeks. Some people may be worried that tagging the sharks would hurt them or cause them pain, but they actually only feel pressure.

28139523781_e7531727a1_zStudents worked in research groups this week: one focuses on lionfish, an invasive species in the Bahamas

We wrapped the day up with an epic lip sync battle. Many different teams battled each other with an array of songs. Fritter the cat made an appearance as Simba in Tom’s (a teacher) performance of The Circle of Life. We ended the night with a singing group hug to the song I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston.  Some have called it “the most island school thing I have ever seen.”

28183527866_b889c4a599_zStudents engage a Harkness discussion in the Library

This is Maeve and Johnny, your caciques, signing off!