Friends of the Environment E-Newsletter
Established in 1988 July 2017
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FRIENDS Mission: 
To preserve and protect Abaco's marine and terrestrial environments in order to achieve sustainable living for the wildlife and people of Abaco, Bahamas.

Kenyon Centre Vision: 
Support the work of FRIENDS by facilitating scientific research and outreach, and promoting sustainable development in Abaco, Bahamas.

July Education: Summer Camps!!!

Junior Campers (Ages 6-9) enjoyed daily field trips and fun hands-on activities like making s'mores with a solar oven. Many campers had their first opportunity to snorkel a reef or swim in a blue hole.
 

Sustainable Fishing Campers (ages 10-12) learned all about being responsible fishers and gained or improved skills on knot tying, baiting hooks, and humanely removing hooks from fish. Each day included a field trip to go fishing; all campers were lucky enough to catch a fish! (All fish were released). Camps were held in Marsh Harbour and Man-O-War.


Our little Sea Beans (ages 3-5) got hands on with nature by making prints with plants, looking for bugs near the Kenyon Centre, and exploring the Mary E. Albury Nature Trail here at FRIENDS. The Sea Beans also got to view fossils and specimens from the National Museum of The Bahamas and learned more about Bahamian wildlife (past and present). Each day includes story time, art, games, and outdoor play to encourage learning and fun! FRIENDS also hosts a Sea Beans after school club once a week.



 Check out our Facebook page for more exciting photos. 
 

Kenyon Centre Update

Sea Turtle Field Course Raises Awareness of the Importance of Mangrove Creek Systems

Local student, Taryn Carroll assists Beth Whitman in releasing a turtle into the Snake Cay Creeks

An annual favorite, the sea turtle field course is run by Beth Whitman (Florida International University) in partnership with the Kenyon Centre. Participants help conduct research on turtle populations in the East Abaco Creeks National Park. Turtles are tagged, measured, and released, in an effort to learn more about their life history and population health.


Gardens Installed!

bush medicine garden
FRIENDS received donations to install three themed gardens on the centre premises. The Bush Medicine Garden, Edible Orchard, and Pollinator Garden are doing great thanks to the summer rains! Stop by some time and see them! The gardens and the Mary E. Albury Nature Trail are open for viewing on week days during normal operating hours. For group tours, please contact the office at 367-2721 to plan ahead.



Crawfish Season opens on August 1st. Remember, Size Matters!

size matters, spike, crawfish season

Citizen Science Opportunites

You Can Help: Report Sea Turtle Nesting/Hatching Activity

Bahamas Sea Turtle Network - nesting report flyer



Global FinPrint video watchers needed!

As part of the Global FinPrint project, our team has recorded more than 350 Baited Remote Underwater Video (BRUVs) here in the Abacos to assess shark and ray populations along the fringing reefs and within seagrass lagoons. Each video is between 1.5 and 3 hours long, so we need your help to extract the data from the videos! The major funder for Global FinPrint, Vulcan Inc., has created a special software to help with the process and anyone with a PC can use it!

If you're interested in joining our Global FinPrint team, getting a first-hand view of the marine life around Abaco and putting your fish ID skills to work or improving your current knowledge, please reply to: Beth Whitman or Friends of the Environment.

We can hold in-person or virtual (via Skype) training sessions and will provide you with a set of videos.
The first group training will be held at Friends of the Environment on Thursday, August 3 rd; if you can't make it then  we will work with your schedule to get you the training you'll need.

Global FinPrint Project
This video describes the mission of Global FinPrint and why this project is so important.



Piping Plover Watch 
plover with tag, CWFNJ   Although we have scientists that visit Abaco on a regular basis, they rely heavily on the community to assist with continuous monitoring of their various projects. The Piping Plover project is one where citizen science has been hugely helpful. Thanks to the support of volunteers last season, not only were 21 banded birds resighted, but every single one was able to be tracked back to its summer grounds. Many were returners, some for the third year. Last year, the first bird was reported on  30th July ; the year before,  28th July; they are on their way! If you would like to contribute sightings, please email your reports and photos to pipingploverbahamas@gmail.com  or join Abaco Piping Plover Watch 2015-2017 on Facebook.
Save the Date: Abaco Science Alliance Conference, sponsored by Aliv!
 
ASAC Save the Date 2018

Abaco's Environment in Photos
Killer Whale Sighting in Abaco! 



Killer whale sightings in The Bahamas are rare, so when they do happen they get a lot of attention - as Craig Cephus from Grand Cay found out! (His video was posted this month and had over 27,000 views on Facebook at the time we published this newsletter!).
A calf was reportedly seen with this whale even though it is not in the video.

The first known record of a killer whale in The Bahamas was found in the log of a 1913 whaling ship, while the first photographs came from an animal that stranded in Man-O-War Cay in the 1960's. Since then there have been reports from across the country, and between the months of April to November, with more sightings reported in the summer. These killer whales (known as transients) have been observed eating other marine mammals, though they may also be targeting pelagic fish when they are bountiful. More research is needed to better understand their population dynamics and movement patterns.  Interested in more details? Check out this research paper from The Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization.