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Camp Eco-Explorer – Kids Version taught 12 Grand Bahama youngsters to appreciate the environment and motivated them to do all they can to protect it

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – The word ‘environment’ means a whole lot more to a group of Grand Bahama students now that they’ve completed the first ever Kids Version of Eco Explorer Camp!

Camp Eco-Explorer – Kids Version, a seven-day camp sponsored by Waterkeepers Bahamas and Save the Bays, was organized to get youngsters excited about their eco-systems and impress upon them how important it is to take care of our natural resources.

“Our facilitators had the experience of working with teenagers over the past three years and became painfully aware at times of the lack of knowledge about and appreciation for our wonderful, rich and precious environment.  It became obvious that a great deal of work has to be done to enlighten our youth about our natural treasures,” said STB chairman Joseph Darville.

The theme for the week was ‘Protect. Preserve. Lead’ and students learned about pine forests, composting, recycling, mangroves, caves, the water cycle, weather, and climate change.

Rashema Ingraham, executive director of Waterkeepers Bahamas, says her organization focuses on ensuring swimmable, fishable, drinkable water for all.  “We are adamant about giving each Bahamian an opportunity to connect with the water, either for enjoyment or to ensure it is safe.  Programs like the Eco Explorer Camp gives campers opportunities to really understand why and how all species of the Earth depend on clean water,” she said.

When they were done in the classroom, they headed to the great outdoors to see first-hand just what they were learning about.

There was no shortage of outdoor fun! Field trips to the Rand Nature Centre, Garden of the Groves, Lucayan National Park, GB Meteorology Office, and Fortune beach brought out the true explorers in each student.

They were supplied with binoculars, magnifying glasses and even snorkeling gear to help them really get into the role of the scientist or the observer.

According to Darville, the program was very ambitious. “The content was challenging and demanded a level of attention and involvement commensurate with and beyond their age. However, with due diligence and encouragement, seasoned with a lot of patience, the facilitators were able to implant in those young minds and spirits an awesome regard and respect of our precious environment”, he said.