Friends of the Environment E-Newsletter
Established in 1988 May 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.

April and May Education Update: 

For the past two months at FRIENDS we have been on the go! Our mangrove ecosystem field trip continues to be popular among schools, totaling 9 mangrove field trips over the past two months. This was a great kick-off to our Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (B.A.M.) project partnership with The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation that continued in May, and is in its second year.  We are also proud of our Island Investigators whose Garbage Index of the Marsh Harbour area was published in the April 15th issue of The Abaconian. Our Education Officer also did field trips to the South Abaco Blue Holes Conservation Area (north of Crossing Rocks) and the Mary E. Albury Nature Trail here at FRIENDS. 

We are grateful for all of our donors and supporters who make it possible to offer all of our field trips and presentations free of charge for all Abaco schools.

Our little Sea Beans are learning about everything from the solar system to reptiles. Here they are proudly displaying the snakes they made. 

FRIENDS also offers educational programs for schools visiting from other islands. St. Andrew's School from Nassau recently visited and enjoyed a presentation and walk on our nature trail. Please contact us for more information on educational programming, and accommodations at the Kenyon Centre!

4ocean, cleanup, coconut tree bay
247.5lbs of trash were collected by the Abaco Ranger Guides during a cleanup at Coconut Tree Bay in Murphy Town. The cleanup was sponsored by 4Ocean and coordinated by FRIENDS.

 Check out our Facebook page for more exciting photos. 

Kenyon Centre all comes together!

When the Kenyon Centre was established we had a goal to incorporate research, education, and conservation into all programs. Over the past month we have great examples of merges between these focus areas.


BAM, photo by Amy Heemsoth
Students at Forest Heights Academy proudly display their plated mangrove leaves which will be investigated for the presence of plant diseases. Photo by Amy Heemsoth.
The Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (BAM) partner project with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation demonstrated that research can be applied to management, but also to hands on lessons for students.  Learn more about how Ryann Rossi's (North Carolina State University) research is being applied to mangrove conservation and education in Abaco through BAM.

Visiting Scientists Lend a Hand

Oriol Lapiedra, a herpetologist from Harvard, has been working out of the Kenyon Centre for the past few summers. This year, his schedule matched up well with some of our after school programs and he has been able to offer some hands-on lessons to both Discovery Club and Island Investigators! And it just so happened the Discovery Clubbers are earning their Herpetology Badge! 

Save the Date!

Lionfish Derby
Friday, June 23: 5-7 PM Captain's Meeting and Late Registration, followed by a sunset cruise!
Saturday, June 24: Sunrise-4PM Derby (Awards and party to follow)

Register early online, at the FRIENDS office, or at Brendal's Dive Centre. Final registration will be at the Captain's Meeting at the Green Turtle Club. Registration is $125 and includes two dinners and four drinks at the Green Turtle Club. Participants will also enjoy lionfish tasting and dockside drinks after weigh-in!

Contact the  Green Turtle Club for special rates for participants! (242-365-4271 or 1-800-370-4468)

lionfish, Shane Gross
Earth Day Celebration

Thank you to everyone who came out to Pete's Pub to celebrate Earth Day. Kids had a great time at the kids corner where they read books, coloured and painted a coral reef scene. After lunch they helped with a beach clean up where we found an alarming amount of plastic and illegal fishing gear. 

Enforcement Workshop

On May 30th and 31st an enforcement workshop was held at the FRIENDS Education Centre. The purpose of the workshop was to educate those responsible for marine enforcement on the existing laws as well as the conservation implications behind the laws.  In attendance were representatives from the Department of Marine Resources, The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, Customs, Immigration, The Ministry of Tourism, Local Government Officials and Bahamas National Trust park wardens. In addition to the two day workshop, community meetings were held in Sandy Point and Fox Town. Support was provided by the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida through funding from the Disney Conservation Fund. This was the first of a series of workshops that are planned throughout the islands. Thank you to Stevie Connett from Family Island Research and Education for all of his efforts!  

Gilford Lloyd, officer in charge of enforcement for The Bahamas, showing an example of an illegal egg bearing lobster to customs and immigration officials. 

The FRIENDS conference room was at capacity. Even the newly elected Member of Parliament for South Abaco, James Albury, attended the workshop. 

Stone Crab Season is Closed!

Fishing for stone crab is officially closed June 1st - October 15th

As a reminder, fishing is still closed for spiny lobster until August 1st. 

Please consider alternate seafood in the meantime.

Abaco's Environment in Photos: Babies!

thick billed vireo, birds, nesting, photo by Lory Kenyon 
It's that time of year...the birds are at it again :)

Here's a photo of thick-billed vireos nesting in Elbow Cay. Photo courtesy of Lory Kenyon.