In addition to sailing across Exuma Sound, this four-week journey involves hands-on scientific research that will make a substantial impact on policy and conservation efforts in the Bahamas. Throughout their 19 days at sea, students will develop sailing and navigation skills in a multitude of open water conditions. This training will include understanding points of sail, weather patterns and tidal effects. On board, everyone will be accountable for the success of the sail with rotating skipper responsibilities. The voyage will navigate the Exuma Sound, visiting remote islands and collecting important data on keystone species.
Sailboat: Out on the water, the boat acts as a closed system. Students will learn about the importance of reducing and reusing the resources allotted on the boat. This mobile classroom will also teach students many lessons in sustainability and beyond.
- Solo: The 'solo' experience is a staple of both The Island School and Outward Bound courses and the associated solitude will afford students a pause for reflection during an otherwise busy expedition.
- Campsite: The campus will act as another means for students to learn about conservation and how sustainability can be tied into their daily lives at home. When on campus, students will camp in platform tents and drink rain-collected water extracted from cisterns with solar-powered pumps.
During the program, students will be assigned to one of four on-going research projects with the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI). Under the tutelage of head researchers, students will gain the tools to collect data independently across study sites throughout the Exuma Islands. This data will be compared to baseline data collected around Eleuthera and ultimately presented to the CEI community by the students upon their return to campus.
- Queen Conch: Survey juvenile Queen Conch (Strombus gigas) colonies to identify fishing pressures to local populations due to the species' susceptibility to overfishing.
- Marine Debris: Study the biological impact of ocean pollution on pelagic fishes of economic and ecologic importance in the western central Atlantic Ocean.
- Bonefish Population Assessments: Aid in the expansion of bonefish population assessments from South Eleuthera to the Exuma Cays; this species is a natural resource of great economic importance to the region.
- Rapid Environmental Assessments (REAs): Participate in a baseline study of mangrove swamps to document the impact of climate change and shoreline development on these essential ecosystems.
For more information email Karen Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org