After a highly competitive application process with candidates applying from Inagua to Grand Bahama, four young Bahamians have been selected to participate in the Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS) Programme, an enriching and life-changing experience offered by the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and the Cape Eleuthera Island School. Scholars will spend a 100-day semester at The Island School and a four-month internship at BREEF or another conservation organization.
Carlton Taylor, from Exuma; Katelyn Cambridge, from Harbour Island; and Crashonda Garvey and Stacy Pinder, both from Grand Bahama, have been selected scholars for the 2018-2019 BESS Programme.
Taylor is a certified beekeeper and the media officer on St. Andrew’s Anglican’s Eco Schools Committee.
“It is a dream of mine to use my gift for public speaking and passion for promoting conservation efforts to one day become either a university professor of ecology, or a documentary broadcaster like David Attenborough,” he said.
Cambridge’s many leadership roles include EcoClub president, science club president, student council president and prefect at Harbour Island All Age School. Loving the ocean, she is also an avid sailor. After college, she said, she would like to return to The Bahamas to lead a research team.
“I believe that with my level of leadership, my high level of interest in The Bahamas and my passion for the ocean I can help with the sustainable development of The Bahamas,” she said.
Garvey, from Alpha Omega Christian School, said she has a passion for environmental issues and can see that the earth is suffering from negative impacts created by humans. She says she wants to be part of the solution to protect The Bahamas and the animals on land and sea. She has worked alongside Save the Bays in that organization’s Youth Environment Ambassador program. She is also in the Bahamas Maritime Cadet Core.
Pinder, deputy head boy and a participant of St. George’s Marine Science program, is already a certified rescue diver. His love for all things underwater has led him to many hours working at the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO) in Grand Bahama. He has a keen interest in marine mammals and fell in love with the marine environment at St. George’s.
“Marine science is much more than just swimming, I learned about marine and aquatic life and scuba diving, which opened my mind to a world that is turning into a career that I want to pursue — marine ecology,” he said.
The foursome will begin their journey in the fall, gaining hands-on experiences and forging lifelong relationships in the BESS Programme.
“These young people truly are the next generation of environmental stewards, and they are our hope for the future,” said Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, executive director at BREEF.
Chris Maxey, founder and headmaster of The Cape Eleuthera Island School, said they look forward to the young people joining them on The Island School journey and becoming the future leaders effecting change in The Bahamas.
Since 2008, 41 young Bahamians have benefitted from the educational experience, with most scholars going on to pursue related tertiary studies or now employed in the field.
The very first Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholar, Alexio Brown, has come full circle and is now an environmental educator at BREEF.
“The BESS Programme has been a gateway to invaluable experiences, knowledge and connections with scientists in the environment. It has really shaped my career path and my studies in natural resource and environmental management. Now I am confident that I am able to make significant contributions to the environmental field in The Bahamas,” said Brown.