In early October, Cha Boyce took over from Kristin Williams as Executive Director at Friends of the Environment (FRIENDS). Boyce shared her immediate goals for the non-profit environmental agency, including keeping focused on educational programs and continuing to build on what was already planned.
“My first goal,” explained Boyce “is to continue the educational programs with presentations during the school years, summer camps, field trips and to try to bring more students to the Kenyon Center to use the laboratory, learn how to use the microscope for example, as well as provide them with a number of programs geared to their age group.”
Schools are invited to participate in ongoing programs and to benefit from features of the FRIENDS Education Centre such as the Mary E. Albury Nature Trail, solar demonstration site, and bush medicine and pollinator gardens.
As a former event coordinator for the organization, Boyce intends to continue to plan fundraising events to pay for environmental educational programs which are provided to the community at minimal cost and sometimes no cost at all.
She also would like to see FRIENDS continue to be a resource to the community by referring them to experts or scientists who can assist with public environmental concerns, while the organization acts to bring awareness to the environment by focusing on local habitats.
“I feel that the organization is more effective by providing education and awareness,” she explained “and by leaving the handling of issues to activists and advocacy groups.”
She mentioned, excitedly, the soon-to-be-opened Natural History Exhibit of the Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation’s National Museum of The Bahamas, in partnership with Friends of the Environment.
Among other scientific data the museum exhibit will demonstrate the negative influence of humans on the original fauna and flora of Abaco as described below:
“Inspired by the discovery and science behind exceptionally well preserved fossils of prehistoric wildlife found in The Bahamas, this museum exhibit will showcase how the natural environment has changed and continues to change with the arrival of people to the islands.”
The exhibit will feature fossils of animals that once existed in abundance on Abaco but are now extinct.
As the new director, Boyce will be working to increase the exposure of the Kenyon Research Centre. One outreach project will be to invite schools from other islands of The Bahamas to stay at the Kenyon Centre while providing them with environmental activities such as field trips to the blue holes and the coral reefs among other local ecosystems.