First-Ever Bahamian Lionfish Jewelry Making and Awareness Workshop a Huge Success

The lionfish, an invasive predator from the Indo Pacific currently wreaking havoc on Caribbean and South American coral reef fish populations, was first introduced to the region through the exotic aquarium trade.  These beautiful carnivorous fish have characteristic orange and red stripes, spotted and striped pelvic and caudal fins, and flamboyantly colored wide-spreading pectoral fins, which they use to corral prey.  These fins, though possibly to blame as the instigators of the devastating invasion, are now offering a new way to help control the rampant spread of the predatory fish. IMG_1758

Last week, in collaboration with CEI, the Eleuthera Arts and Cultural Center hosted a Lionfish Jewelry Making and Awareness Workshop, the first of its kind in The Bahamas. Local artists Shorlette Francis and Sterline Morley joined the Arts and Cultural Center’s Audrey Carey and CEI’s Dr. Jocelyn Curtis-Quick of the Lionfish Research and Education Program to put on the event.  The collected attendees, a mix of professional artists, handicraft enthusiasts, and interested community members, learned about the arrival of the fish in the Caribbean in the mid-1980’s and its subsequent spread.  After sampling fried lionfish and perusing lionfish crafts and jewelry by local artists for inspiration and construction techniques, the group tried their hand at creating wearable pieces from the fish’s unique fins.


Participants rolled up their sleeves and got creative, making beautiful necklace and earring pieces.  Fins were varnished in their natural state or painted for more varied coloration; they could be trimmed, layered, or beaded.  Enthusiasm about the finished products and the versatility of lionfish fins as a material led to many questions about where to get more of them, and will hopefully work to increase local demand for the fishing of these problematic fish.  Be on the lookout for more jewelry workshops around Eleuthera, and for beautiful lionfish pieces to purchase. Do your part against the invasion by eating and wearing lionfish!


Meet our Fall 2014 BESS Scholars

The Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS) program is a unique opportunity for graduating students in The Bahamas ages 15-18 who have a keen interest in the environment and want to learn more as they transition from high school to university studies. Successful applicants will participate in a 14-week academic semester at The Island School in South Eleuthera and a four-month paid internship at an environmental conservation-related organization. Upon completion of high school, students can use BESS as a gap year experience before pursuing further studies. The BESS Program is administered in collaboration with BREEF. This semester The Island School is excited to welcome BESS Scholars Kerwin Mullings and Deneé Rankine. Fall 2014 BESS Scholar Kerwin Mullings.

Originally from Nassau, Kerwin Mullings comes to The Island School as a graduate of C.V. Bethel Senior High School.  Garnering a strong interest in the environment and marine sciences, Kerwin saw The Island School as an opportunity to not only pursue his passions but also gain experience in a field he hopes to work in professionally. An explorer at heart, Kerwin hopes to one day travel the world working as an environmental scientist.

Kerwin, Ellie and Peter K. take a moment to pose for a photo before heading out on their kayak trip.

Having just returned from his 8-day kayak trip, Kerwin is excited to be back and dive right into life on campus again.  Discussing his trip, Kerwin says, "Kayak was great. What I liked the most about it was solo".  Looking ahead, Kerwin is excited for parents weekend and being able to share everything he has accomplished so far with his family, particularly the work he has done in research class. Reflecting on his experience thus far Kerwin says that The Island School has broadened his perception of the world, creating a "watershed that gets wider and more detailed with every step".


Fall 2014 BESS Scholar Deneé Rankine.

Deneé Rankine comes to The Island School from a bit closer. Hailing from Savannah Sound located 60 km north of campus, Deneé enters Fall 2014 as a graduate of Central Eleuthera High School. Always making those around her laugh, Deneé is interested in marine biology and hopes to continue her studies pursuing an undergraduate degree in the States after her time here. 

Deneé prior to departing on  her kayak trip.

Having also  just returned from her 8-day kayak trip, Deneé is excited to reconnect with academics and friends on campus. Discussing her experience, Deneé says that her favorite aspect of the trip by far was the close bonds she developed with peers as a result of 8 days spent kayaking in a small group.  Over the next half of the semester, Deneé is most looking forward to the Research Symposium in November and is excited to see her family over parents weekend.

We would like to thank our supporters of the BESS program over the years: The Moore Bahamas Foundation, AML Foods Limited, Bahamas Waste Limited, Frank & Cha Boyce, BREEF, The Brown Foundation, Cans for Kids, Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina, Carey Construction, Cates Family, Colina Imperial, Cotton Bay Foundation, John and Tanya Crone, Frank Crothers, Sean & Sarah Farrington, Friends of the Environment, Amanda Graham, Lawrence Griffin, Bobbie Hallig, Lynn Holowesko, Stephen & Alessandra Holowesko, Horation Alexander Catering & Events, Nancy Kelly, Mark & Dawn Knowles , LaBoiteaux Family Foundation, Lori & Jimmy Lowe, Lyford Cay Foundation, Lyford Cay School, Mactaggart Third Fund, Will & Lisa Mathis, Chris & Pam Maxey, Mark Maynard, Ross & Nancy McDonald, Chuck & Reva Murphy, James and Kylie Nottage, Lady Eugenie Nuttall, Hap & Cecilia Perry, Stuart & Robin Ray, Save The Bays, Scotia Bank, Brian & Laurel Smith, Brent & Robin Symonette, Craig & Michelle Symonette, TK Foundation, Donald & Debbie Tomlinson, Peter and Pippa Vlasov and Beatrice von der Schulenberg.


Island School in Hanover, NH

On Monday, The Island School travelled to Hanover, New Hampshire to visit with alumni and interested families. The Lubrano family (Amelia, Summer 2014) hosted a wonderful evening for alumni and interested students to gather and share stories. Amelia (Su'14) was joined by Sam Hastings (F'12) and Elsa Davis (F'13) to answer questions and describe their experience at The Island School. We would like to extend a huge thank you to Allegra and Steve Lubrano for welcoming The Island School family into their home!

Amelia (Su'14), Elsa (F'13) and Sam (F'12) are doing a great job serving as admissions ambassadors at Hanover High School!

The next reception for The Island School will be in Freeport, Maine on November 19th. Please RSVP with Taylor Hoffman at if you are able to make it!

Next Generation of Island School Students

Fall 1999 Island School alumna, Elizabeth Besser Novak sent us a photo of her son, Brigham, dressed up in his Halloween costume--a scuba diver! Only about 15 more years until he can apply to The Island School--and 10 more until he can be officially scuba certified! photo 2 (29)

Are you wearing an Island School-inspired costume this Halloween? Send a pic to and we will share it on our blog!

IS Faculty Do Their 2,014 Pushups

The Fall 2014 students posed the week-long CONCHtribution Push Up Challenge to the alumni during the week of October 12. If 70 alumni made a donation to CONCHtribution, the annual alumni giving campaign, in a single week, then the faculty would have to do a collective 2,014 push ups. At the end of the week, 75 alumni had donated which meant it was time for the faculty to drop and give the students (and alumni!) 2,014 push ups!