Abaco placed third overall in the National-Coastal Awareness Committee’s iReport Competition held earlier in the year with two students receiving among top awards in the country.
The National Coastal Awareness Committee (NCA) in Collaboration with the Bahamas Reef Educational Environmental Foundation (BREEF) Eco-Schools opened the iREPORT Competition to students from both primary and secondary schools, youth clubs/groups, challenging young people from around The Bahamas to identify and recommend solutions to challenges in their coastal environment through the competition.
Wynsome Ferguson, Ministry of Tourism’s Director for Abaco, celebrated the success of the students noting that each year, in relation to Coastal Awareness month there are a number of activities on the island including beach cleanups.
She said that each year the NCA Committee will select an island to go to and do a major clean up, and “this year Abaco had that great pleasure; we had a team of 26 people who came down and cleaned Treasure Cay and Blackwood’s beaches.”
She said there were also competitions involving the youth of the nation and “I am so happy to say that this year Abaco was the recipient of two of the awards and St. Francis de Sales’ Marbria Wilmore won third overall with the iREPORTS Competition.”
For the best eco school competition a student had to nominate their school and Keith Clarke of Every Child Counts nominated his school and as a result his school won that award.
Ms. Ferguson presented the two students with a certificate, some money and a gift bag and congratulated them both on representing Abaco so well.
The official winners are:
1st place – Asia Outten – Eight Mile Rock High School, Freeport, Grand Bahama Age 17
Title of Entry: ‘Coastal Commotion’
Prizes – trip for 2 to New York City sponsored by Stuart Cove and Tavares Strachan (airline rickets and two nights accommodation), $500 sponsored by the NCAC.
2nd place – Dorian Williams – The Beacon School, Freeport, Grand Bahama – Age 13
Title of Entry: ‘Take it Home Please’
Prizes: $300 cash, participation in the BNT Summer Camp at the Rand Nature Center, Grand Bahama sponsored by the NCAC
3rd place – Marbria Wilmore – St. Frances de Sales School, Marsh Harbour, Abaco Age 14
Title of Entry: ‘Invasive Plants’
Prizes: $150 cash, Participation in a Friends of the Environment Summer Camp sponsored by the NCAC.
Best Eco-Schools Entry – Every Child Counts, Marsh Harbour, Abaco.
Title of Entry: ‘Every Child Counts Rat Eradication Project’
School prize – Eco-Schools Green Grant – $300 sponsored by BREEF
Student prize- Keith Clarke age 16 – Prize: Internship in Nassau/Environmental Camp
“We are very proud of the winners of the iReport competition and congratulate them and every participant,” said Chairman of the Coastal Awareness Committee Earlston McPhee. “We also thank all agencies and sponsors who assisted in this effort, we could not have done this without their support.”
This marks the 13th official launch of the competition which is part of the 2015 activities of the National Coastal Awareness Committee of The Bahamas, a group of stakeholders from the private and public sectors formed to heighten the public’s awareness of the importance of preserving and protecting our coastline
“The national competition is vital to sustainable development and the objective is to get our young people involved in finding solutions to sustainable development issues that we are challenged within The Bahamas,” continued Mr. McPhee. “As they, the youths, are the future, it is critically important that we get them involved at all levels and challenge them to help us find solutions to the issues.”
The National Coastal Awareness 2015 activities also included beach clean ups, and field trips to Dolphin Encounters and Stuart Cove with BREEF to expose children to the importance and preserving and protecting our marine environment.
Agencies involved in the National Coastal Awareness Committee include the Ministry of Tourism,Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Education, BREEF, Stuart Cove Dive, Dolphin Encounters, The Organization of American States (OAS), Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas National Trust (BNT), Bahamas Environmental Science and Technology Commission (BEST) and the Port Authority.