Grand Bahama school and BREEF win global environmental 

Grand Bahama’s Bishop Michael Eldon School’s (BMES) vertical hydroponics garden project has been named one of five global winners of the Foundation of Environmental Education (FEE) GAIA 20:30 Biodiversity Campaign Best Practice competition.

Cyprus, Germany, India, and Spain were the other winners in the biodiversity campaign.

The competition was organized by FEE’s Learning about Forest (LEAF) program and was open to the FEE network, Blue Flag, Eco-Schools, Green Key, LEAF, and Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE). The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) is the official FEE representative for The Bahamas and manages the Eco-Schools Bahamas and YRE programs.

The GAIA 20:30 Biodiversity Campaign involves a set of activities targeted at different stakeholders to emphasize the importance of protecting global biodiversity and ecosystems and focuses on actions to protect global biodiversity. In the Best Practice competition, Eco-Schools, LEAF, YRE schools, Blue Flag sites and Green Key establishments were invited to submit one project or story connected with the GAIA 20:30 Biodiversity goals of preservation and ecosystem restoration.

BMES students were proud of their achievement.

Trinity McIntosh said the achievement is important to him and the Eco-Schools program.

“We’ve happily and diligently taken care of our hydroponics garden,” said Trinity. “Many of us gained the opportunity to not only practice but promote biodiversity within our school. Using all that we have learned, we can make a positive impact on our environment. This accomplishment is truly significant and encouraging.”

Jamia Williams, hydroponics team member, described the achievement as “amazing”.

“It’s an awesome feeling when something you put your all into gets recognized for something great. It also inspires us as a club to keep doing what we’re doing because our hard work is paying off and it motivates us to do better,” said Jamia.

Brianna Bowe said working with the hydroponics garden brings her great joy to work with the plants and her classmates.

“This great achievement means a lot to me and the rest of the team because it will help us to continue working with the hydroponics garden and it will also encourage others to join in on the action,” said Brianna.

Cheng Bee Selim-Dela Pena, BMES Eco-Schools coordinator, thanked everyone who supported the school throughout its journey as an Eco-school, GEF-SGP. The students whom she said worked tirelessly worked in the garden and were able to connect with nature during the pandemic.

“This one is big time,” said Sheryl Wood, BMES principal. She thanked BREEF for the role the organization played in making it possible.

Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, BREEF’s executive director, speaking to the local and global significance of BMES’ award, congratulated the winners from around the world whom she said developed great skills and knowledge on climate action and biodiversity conservation. 

“Their work contributed to boosting biodiversity, raising awareness on ecosystem protection, and creating meaningful, long-lasting projects. Taking action for biodiversity is not only essential for sustaining healthy natural areas, but also healthy communities.”

Kevin Glinton, Eco-Schools Bahamas national operator, expressed his gratitude to BMES for accepting the challenge.

“The Bahamas is one of over 79 countries participating in FEE programs. I am extremely proud of BMES and BREEF’s 39 other Eco-Schools in The Bahamas that continue to show the world that we take environmental stewardship seriously.”

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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