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Bahamian Women Leading Charge on Environmental Efforts



#TheBahamas, April 22, 2022 – A Senior Forest Officer, part-time mermaid and author are leading the charge on environmental protection, education and advancement in The Bahamas.

In their respective terrestrial and marine fields, Ingeria Miller, Jonisha Cartwright and Kristal Ambrose are contributing leaders and changemakers to a more sustainable future for not only the country, but the world.

CIBC FirstCaribbean extended their celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’, by recognizing the work of the trio on Earth Day.

Ingeria Miller is a Senior Forest Officer with responsibilities spanning fieldwork and administrative duties. Her introduction to the environmental sector began over 13 years ago when she participated in a United States-funded research project focused on endangered birds on Eleuthera upon recommendation by her then professor, Mrs. Joyanne Thompson.

“Seven million snakes, mosquitoes and sand flies later, it was the most rewarding experience of my life. The project grew me up. I learned to love and appreciate nature and the outdoors became a living classroom for me,” said Ingeria.

Following a switch from pre-med to a major in Natural Resources, Ecology and Policy Analysis from Cornell University, and later completing a Master’s in Public Administration in Environmental Science from Columbia University, Ingeria has given her expertise to The Bahamas while at the now Department of Environmental Planning and Protection (DEPP) and the Forestry Unit. Her most recent environmental leadership role was during Forestry Awareness Week. She started the initiative in 2015 as well as introduced the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource’s only environmental summer camp.

Jonisha Cartwright, a part-time mermaid, took a twist on her environmental studies by connecting it to sociology, and is now a recent graduate equipped with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology with Sustainability from Arizona State University. Her journey in environmental work began in 2014 as a volunteer and later as an intern at the Bahamas Reef Environmental Educational Foundation (BREEF), a non-profit conservation organization focused on youth education, advocacy and public outreach.

As an environmental educator at the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), Jonisha said, “It gives me hope and joy to see kids excited about the environmental field or to see fishermen not only adhering to fisheries laws but being stellar environmental stewards and advocating for their peers to adhere as well.”

Jonisha joined the BNT in March 2020, three days before the country went into its first emergency lockdown due to COVID-19. Since her start, Jonisha has spearheaded the creation of the animated series, Adventures of Xuma, and plays an important role in Ecosystems of The Bahamas with the BNT, a live-action, video series aimed toward high school students and adults.

Geared toward children of various ages, Kristal Ambrose, who recently moved to Sweden to begin her PhD studies focused on Marine Debris Threats and Solutions for the Caribbean region, released a children’s book titled Kai and Gaia Discover the Gyre, with illustrations by Bahamian artist Stevie Burrows.

Prior to this milestone, Kristal founded Bahamas Plastic Movement and has engaged youth through many programs in order to inspire and empower them. She designed an upcycle program to motivate them to come up with original ideas about how to repurpose plastic waste and a Junior Plastic Warriors environmental education program which includes music, dance and art was later created.

Kristal’s connection with the ocean started at a young age when her father convinced her to join him on his daily swims. Being in the ocean made her feel more connected and inspired her mission―to save the ocean from plastic pollution.

She envisions a sustainable future as “a transition towards a circular economy complete with social and environmental justice, equity and access for all communities, especially those of colour.

“It also looks like a divine and intentional reconnection between humanity and the earth systems that support us,” Kristal added.

Ingeria, Jonisha and Kristal have each taken on environmental leadership in different ways in various spaces. The most common trait between the trio is their passion and commitment to not only the environment but their country. CIBC FirstCaribbean highlighted the trio earlier this year in celebration of International Women’s Day as the bank continues to support women making waves in the environmental sector.

Recent CIBC FirstCaribbean donations have also directly benefited organizations and causes the women are a part of. The bank partnered with the Forestry Unit to plant trees on the Bahamas Girl Guides campsite and, in light of the national plastic ban, partnered with Fresh Market to provide hundreds of free reusable grocery bags to customers. CIBC FirstCaribbean also recently donated to the Bahamas National Trust and BREEF.


Release: CIBC FirstCaribbean International

Bahamas News

Scores of Students Equipped with Supplies to Return to School



NASSAU, BAHAMAS, AUGUST 13, 2022 – As the new school year approaches, Sandals Foundation Ambassadors at Sandals Royal Bahamian have embarked on a back-to-school drive, donating school supplies to local schools and communities in Nassau as part of their commitment to education and community development.

Recently, a team of over 15 volunteers from the resort traveled to Gambier Primary School, where students and teachers were gathered for summer school, and distributed over 40 packages with school supplies that included notebooks, pencils, crayons, pencil cases, erasers, sharpeners, reading books, rulers and glue sticks and warm meals.

Public Relations Manager at Sandals Royal Bahamian, Renee Deleon, shared the impact that these donations will have on families and schools across the island.

“Education is pivotal to the growth of a nation and it is something that we are committed to at Sandals. We know that back to school expenses here like anywhere else in the world can be quite strenuous so we want to play our part in helping to ease the financial burden that this may present to families as schools look to reopen.”

Deleon further added, “Thanks to the support of our guests who packed for a purpose, we were able to collect these items that will allow students to be equipped with the essential tools they need to make a better transition to the classroom when they return to school.”

The gesture was met with song, dance and echoes of ‘thank you’ as the Sandals team made the presentations to the children. Principal Forbes explained how this donation will help to improve the teaching and learning process.

“I am tremendously grateful to the Sandals Foundation and their team members from Sandals Royal Bahamian for gifting my students with school supplies. This donation will go a long way toward allowing teachers to execute lessons and students to participate.”

Forbes also noted that the school has had a longstanding relationship with the Foundation.

“Over the years we’ve had a good relationship with the Sandals Foundation and I am happy that we still have them in our corner.”

In addition to this donation to Gambier Primary School, the Sandals Royal Bahamian team has distributed school supplies to the Community Touch Group. Donations were also made to children at the Nazareth Centre as well as some children from the Okra Hill community. Later this month the Sandals Foundation ambassadors will be giving back to children from the Nassau Village and Grove communities.


Photo Captions: 

Header: These Sandals Foundation Ambassadors from Sandals Royal Bahamian were captured with bag packs filled with school supplies moments before they donated the supplies to the Nazareth Centre.

 1st insert: It is always a joyous occasion when Sandals Foundation Ambassadors go out to give back.

 2nd insert: Volunteers from Sandals Royal Bahamian were a picture of joy when they stopped by Gambier Primary School to donate school supplies and issue lunches recently.

 Release: Sandals Resort

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Bahamas News

GBPA Statement from Ian Rolle, President



Re:  GBPA’s Response to fire in the International Bazaar


#TheBahamas, August 10, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority is aware of the recent fire at the International Bazaar.

The GBPA has engaged, and continues to engage, with operators of the International Bazaar, which include representatives of the Bazaar Association and several property owners, so that we can continue demolition exercises on the dilapidated structures and buildings.

The GBPA is acutely aware of the need to demolish derelict structures within the International Bazaar for the safety of all businesses and visitors. We have performed demolitions in the past at our own cost, most recently in February 2022 when we, in partnership with owners, demolished fire-damaged buildings in the Oriental Section. We have also written to numerous property owners of dilapidated structures over the years to sensitize them to the need to repair or demolish their buildings.

In addition, we have engaged the Government of the Bahamas in advance discussions to approve our requested amendments of the Building and Sanitary bylaws, which would enable GBPA to execute more demolitions in a timely manner and recoup the associated costs.

With the requested bylaw amendments in place, GBPA can continue to make consistent efforts to address the remainder of derelict buildings in the International Bazaar and other dilapidated structures within the city.

The GBPA itself has never owned any part of the International Bazaar but has historically subsidized the Bazaar for many years when owners were no longer maintaining its communal areas.

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Bahamas News

Beneath the Waves’ summer camp inspires young Bahamians to become stewards of the environment



#TheBahamas, August 10, 2022 – While the waters near Great Exuma are renowned for their unmatched beauty, last weekend, more than 40 students spent a day with Beneath the Waves learning the deeper value of the marine ecosystems that surround their islands and act as a bedrock for the Bahamian economy and way of life.

As participants in the non-profit’s summer camp, the young students learned about mangrove and coral reef habitats and the many species that live among them.

They heard about some of Beneath the Waves’ research, including studies of sharks, seagrass and blue carbon, and research methods like underwater video surveys.

Coral Vita Conservancy, which has been working relentlessly to restore coral reefs off Grand Bahama, sent team member Joe Oliver , Director of Restoration Operations, to assist with the camp and provide in-depth information on corals in The Bahamas.

Team ECCO, a North Carolina-based ocean education organization, also provided in-depth lessons on invertebrates and fish.

Long after the taste of ice cream at the end-of-day party has faded, campers will remember learning how to tag a lifelike shark. And they’ll wear their camp t-shirts with pride, remembering this is the day they learned to value the water all around them and what lies beneath the waves.

Eleven-year-old twin sisters Kassidy and Kaylee Burrows described the camp as a highlight of their summer vacation.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Kassidy. “And we learned all about sponges, the water, mangroves, coral reefs — how they protect animals and how they protect the shore — and also about animals themselves, aquatic animals, for example, sea anemones, corals, sponges and sharks.”

Kassidy was especially enthused to share her experience with helping to plant new mangroves.

“We found out how mangrove seeds can actually disperse into the water,” she said.

“And I thought they were going to be small seeds, but, in my opinion, they looked like asparagus kind of.

“We also got to go in the water and plant new mangroves.”

Beneath the Waves’ scientists have been studying The Bahamas’ waters for more than a decade, having helped with the creation and management of conservation policies, including the legislation that made the country’s waters a shark sanctuary in 2011.

The non-governmental organization knows that in continuing efforts to protect The Bahamas’ greatest asset, its natural environment, community buy-in is vital.

And in that context, the value of helping young Bahamians gain these kinds of hands-on experiences and lessons, ones they’ll undoubtedly carry with them through life, can’t be overstated.

Kaylee Burrows is already brainstorming the ways she can apply what she learned in her future career.

While the mangroves piqued her sister’s interest, Kaylee said she was fascinated by coral reefs and the important role they play on a global scale, though she noted they don’t seem to be sufficiently appreciated.

“I learned that The Bahamas has some of the biggest coral reefs in the world,” she said. “We actually put pieces of coral on a pipe to help build a platform for the coral. The reason I chose coral reefs over all of the topics is because we the people of the Bahamas, don’t even recognize how important our islands are. These coral reefs are very beneficial to the whole world.”

Kaylee said she hopes to one day become a veterinarian and an author.

“As a vet, I can help not just land animals, but marine animals too,” she said. “As an author, I can write books on marine biology. I think this experience helped with my future career, and I’m forever grateful.”

Beneath the Waves Managing Director Jamie Fitzgerald said plans are underway to make the camp an annual event.

“We look forward to being able to work more closely with local schools in the islands we frequent, such as Exuma and Nassau, to develop educational materials around sharks and marine science, and to foster opportunities for internships and future careers for any aspiring Bahamian marine biologists,” Fitzgerald said.


Photo Captions: 

Header: Hands-on experience – Exuma students planting mangroves with the help of research scientists from Beneath the Waves  — just one of the many memorable moments from the non-profit’s summer camp that was held on July 23. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)

1st insert: Learning about coral — With the help of experts from Coral Vita, a Grand Bahama-based organization working to restore reefs near the island, students built plaforms for coral. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)

2nd insert: More to come  – Camp leaders and participants posed with the inflatable shark, as the first of what is hoped to be many Beneath the Waves summer camps came to an end. (Photos courtesy of Beneath the Waves)


Release: Beneath the Waves

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