By Nan Kenyon
Friends of the Environment is pleased to announce that their new Research Centre will be named after one of the organization’s 1988 founders, Frank Kenyon. Frank has put his heart and soul, in an unassuming way, into the development and protection of Abaco ever since he arrived here in the 1950s. Through an aggressive fund raising campaign by Frank’s friends and family members, the construction of the building is well underway and has warranted the name “The Frank Kenyon Centre for Research, Education and Conservation”.
In recognition of those initial contributors to the Centre, FRIENDS held a gala celebration on Saturday, January 31st. Events Organizer, Cha Boyce, and Executive Director, Kristin Cartwright-Williams, opened the program with enlightening talks on how both FRIENDS and the Centre were born. Cha initiated the idea of naming this Centre in her Dad’s honor and solicited family and friends for funds to build this important addition to FRIENDS’ infrastructure.
The invited guests were divided into six small groups, each led by a tour guide who took them through the Centre and explained its function. There are dormitory-style accommodations for twenty-five research personnel and students, kitchen and lab facilities, all surrounded by spacious, covered decks for classes. The highlight of the tour, for many, was the impressive solar building which incorporates sixty 250 watt solar panels and nickel iron batteries, installed by South Island Solar. Greg Johnson, co-partner with Michael Lightbourne, explained how the new solar capacity will power the facility.
Dr. Diane Claridge, Executive Director of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization, announced that BMMRO plans to loan a sperm whale skeleton for display at the Centre entrance. Nancy Albury, Curator of Paleontology for the National Museum of The Bahamas, showed the groups fascinating fossils from Abaco’s blue holes, caves, and beach sediment as she explained the diversity of Abaco’s fragile land and sea environments. Following the tours the guests were shuttled to the home of Frank & Cha Boyce for an afternoon buffet. All attendee donors agreed that it was a “totally awesome day” in honor of a totally awesome man. Frank sees this Centre as the next important phase of the FRIENDS’ education mission and is looking forward to the opening celebration, tentatively scheduled for Earth Day on April 22nd.
Additional donors are encouraged to join this select group. Please contact Cha at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the FRIENDS office, 367-2721, for more information.