Six get Green Flag recertification
Abaco and Grand Bahama Eco-Schools awarded for continued excellence in environmental education and practice
Abaco’s Every Child Counts, Forest Heights Academy, Hope Town Primary School, Man-O-War Primary School, and Grand Bahama’s Bishop Michael Eldon School (BMES) and Lucaya International School were all successful in renewing their Green Flag status.
Kevin Glinton, Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation’s (BREEF) Eco-Schools Bahamas (ESB) national operator, traveled to the islands to resume onsite ESB Green Flag renewal assessments of the Eco-Schools program.
“I am proud of all the Eco-Schools in Abaco and Grand Bahama for their outstanding resilience in sustaining the Eco-Schools program despite the two major setbacks of the last three years –  Hurricane Dorian and the pandemic.”
Man-O-War Primary School received its fifth Green Flag. It was an accomplishment Titus Reckley, eight, a third-grade student, said he was proud of because they worked hard to receive the Green Flag.
“Eco Club has helped me learn to care for my environment and taught me how to plant seeds,” said Titus. “Eco Club has been very helpful for my peers, and I enjoy the Eco Schools program. I can’t wait to start new projects!”
Charmaine Albury, Man-O-War Cay Primary School teacher and Eco committee member, said receiving their fifth Green Flag was a perfect example of small numbers doing great things that can benefit a community.
“I’m extremely proud of our small school on Man-O-War Cay making a difference internationally,” said Albury. “I like that it instills the importance, understanding, and skills in sustainability – especially growing your own natural foods.”
Tanesha Saunders, Man-O-War Primary School’s Eco-School’s coordinator, said the program has allowed students, staff and the community to increase their love for the environment and be more aware of their actions.
“The children’s commitment to reducing waste, conserving energy, and practices promoting healthy living is commendable. The changes that are made today will make a better Bahamas for us tomorrow,” said Deborah Clarke, Man-O-War Primary principal.
The Eco-Schools Green Flag is recognized globally as a symbol of excellence for environmental education and practice and is renewed every two years.
Every Child Counts (ECC) qualified for their fifth Green Flag as well.
Ellen Hardy, Eco-Schools coordinator at ECC, said they were proud of the fifth Green Flag and that environmental education is the key to success.
“Once we established our action plan, we were able to involve all the students and teachers in reaching our goals making this a school-wide project. Qualifying for our fifth Green Flag is something all of us at ECC are very proud of.”
In addition to being awarded its sixth consecutive Green Flag award, Hope Town Primary School received the Eco-Schools Bahamas Certificate of Merit for outstanding contribution to the Eco-Schools Bahamas program, and showing commitment toward excellence in environmental education and environmental stewardship in the school and the wider community.
During their rebuilding after the devastating Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Forest Heights Academy (FHA) included the installation of solar panels to reduce their carbon footprint and dependence on fossil fuels.
Rotchenska Alexie, FHA 11th-grade student, and Eco-Club vice president, said she joined Eco Club to help inspire children to engage in important environmental projects and activities.
Lindsey Rees, FHA Eco-Club coordinator, said in rebuilding and reopening of FHA, she was thrilled that in their projects, they achieved their fifth Green Flag.
“It’s wonderful to see the Green Flag fly again to serve as a reminder to the students to carry out the values and eco practices we try to implement,” said Rees.
Casuarina McKinney-Lambert, BREEF executive director, said the young people were an inspiration to others around the country and the world as they embrace sustainability in The Bahamas and put their new-found knowledge into action to protect the land and sea in their communities.
Rihanna Smith, a 12th-grade student at BMES, said being a member of the Eco-Schools program helped her to gain a better understanding of environmental issues and creating innovative solutions for them.
“The renewal of my school’s Green Flag validates our commitment and work and motivates me to continue to pursue change in my nation,” said Rihanna.
Selim-Dela Peña, BMES Eco-Schools coordinator, said achieving Green Flag status was an honor and a privilege for her school.
“It strengthens our commitment to provide our students an avenue to take an active role in protecting our environment,” said Peña.
To date, BREEF’s ESB network is spread over six islands and consists of 18 government and 25 private schools.
To learn more about BREEF’S Eco-Schools Bahamas program and its work in promoting the conservation of the Bahamian marine environment, visit Eco-Schools Bahamas – BREEF or email email@example.com.