Friends of the Environment is taking on a new challenge: building a research and environmental education center for the people of Abaco. The Abaco Research Center is the culmination of 25 years of grassroots conservation work and 10 years of partnership with schools and teachers through our education program. The six bedroom facility will have a kitchen, dining space, wet and dry labs, covered outdoor workspace and a classroom.
It will provide FRIENDS with the ability to house visiting researchers, host schools and involve students from around The Bahamas and around the world in the conservation of Abaco’s environment. This center will help fill growing needs in the community by linking Abaconians with science and supporting high school students in science classes and career prep.
FRIENDS is planning to break ground this summer but still needs to raise $200,000 to complete all phases of the center and is looking for any assistance that can be provided with labor, materials, fixtures, cabinets, bunk beds, or any other ideas that will assist in making the center a reality.
The Mactaggart Third Fund has graciously offered a $50,000 challenge to enable FRIENDS to complete the Abaco Research Center. The conservation group has been challenged to raise the matching $50,000 by the end of July 2014. With this support, FRIENDS will be able to complete Phase 1 of construction of the Research Center and start programming in 2015.
This means more research on critical conservation topics, new spring break programs, increased summer camps and a variety of new opportunities for students and visitors. General donations to the project can be made, or FRIENDS has a variety of naming opportunities available.
The Abaco Research Center (ARC) will enable FRIENDS to enhance our existing education programs by:
-Hosting local and visiting students for field courses that will connect students to ongoing research.
-Expanding FRIENDS’ existing environmental summer camp programs to include more sessions, field courses for high school students, and spring break camps for Bahamian and visiting students. FRIENDS held two summer camps this year in Marsh Harbour and both had waiting lists.
-Building on partnerships with the Ministry of Education to create government approved field activities to help fulfill high school coursework requirements.
Through ARC, FRIENDS will be able to facilitate an increase in environmental research in Abaco. Benefits of this include:
-Scientists are able to provide informed solutions to conservation issues and provide perspective on questions about the best way to balance economic and environmental concerns.
-Scientists will be able to support local, national and international conservation efforts through their research in Abaco’s eight existing National Parks and marine reserves, with additional areas under consideration for protection.
ARC will be a local demonstration site for environmental technologies and sustainable building.
FRIENDS has a grant from the Global Environmental Facility to support installation of solar panels for the site.
FRIENDS is seeking vendors to install environmentally friendly fixtures and furnishings (flooring, solar hot water heater, low flush toilets, etc) for use in the ARC showroom as a way to expose them to the wider public. Please contact them if you have a product of interest and are interested in partnering with them.
FRIENDS has 501c3 tax exempt status in the US, so all gifts to the Research Center will be tax deductible, as well as being matched through the Mactaggart Third Fund Challenge. For more information please contact Friends of the Environment, 242-367-2721 or firstname.lastname@example.org