The 2018 Reef Ball events in Hope Town and Marsh Harbour kicked off the first of many celebrations this year to honour the 30th anniversary of Friends of the Environment.
Anniversaries are a time to mark milestones, but they are also a time for reflection. Where did we come from, what have we done, and where are we going? In the last 30 years, Friends of the Environment (FRIENDS) has developed out of a true grassroots movement by our founders, Frank Kenyon, Rudy Malone, Suzanne Bethel, and Candace Key.
Volunteer efforts in Hope Town have since expanded to full time efforts by staff members and volunteers throughout all Abaco communities and schools. The mission for sustainable living is ever-present, and the need for community education continues to be met, and now informed by research through the Frank Kenyon Centre. FRIENDS and the Frank Kenyon Centre have created partnerships with organizations and universities that include The Perry Institute, Living Oceans Foundation, National Geographic, University of Miami and University of North Carolina and many others, and have grown to be respected and recognized.
Nearly 12 years of full time environmental education programs, offering over 16,000 educational experiences, means that we now have successive generations of community members who have been exposed to environmental outreach. Those students are now society’s decision makers and we have provided the tools for them to make smarter decisions regarding Abaco’s environment. We know that challenges exist, new and old. We know that there are still people to reach. But we also know that for each person we DO reach, we have made a difference for them, and for Abaco. Conservation is a long-haul game, but it’s oh so worth it for this beautiful place that we call home.
The Hope Town Reef Ball was held at Abaco Inn and the Marsh Harbour Reef Ball was held at the Jib Room. Both events featured live and silent auctions, a raffle, and live music by Uppercut 242. Both events sold out for dinner with many community members joining after hours for dancing and fun.
In addition to bringing attention to the 30th anniversary the Reef Balls also celebrated the gifting of Iron Cay (in the Snake Cay Creeks) to FRIENDS by The Gallup Family, and the pledge of a 30 thousand dollar matching challenge by The Devereaux Ocean Foundation to support coral reef conservation in Abaco. Persons wishing to help meet the challenge may make donations through FRIENDS’ website or office.
At the Marsh Harbour event Baker’s Bay presented a $50,000 check on behalf of a number of their members who donated to FRIENDS. We are looking forward to continuing work with Baker’s Bay with their Club Discovery environmental education program, initiatives to reduce plastics and styrofoam on the property and a possible mangrove education / restoration project.
The support of the entire Abaco community is much appreciated and critical to helping FRIENDS with our commitment to working towards a sustainable future for Abaco.
Thank you to our amazing auction donors:
Abaco Apiary, Abaco Ceramics, Abaco Construction, Abaco Inn, Abaco T-Shirt and Design, Albury’s Sail Shop, Albury’s Ferry, Bahamas Kite and Surf, Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation, Bill Verity, Blackfly Lodge, Blakely Taylor, Bluff House, Bradley & Stephen Petersen, Brandon Samuels, Bruce & Judy Wolck, Buds N Blooms, Cap’n Jacks, Cap’t Plug’s Adventures, Celia Rogers, Charmaine Albury, Cherokee Air, Chris Knowles, Classic Marine, Coral -Y, Cracker P’s, Cruise Abaco, David Albury, Delphi Club, Dive Guana, Dive Time, Elbow Cay Cart Rentals, Firefly Boutique, Froggies, Gabrielle Manni, Gallup Family, Graham & Anna Hayward Hegamyer, Graycliff, Green Turtle Club, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, HG Christie Realty, Higgs & Johnson, Holly & Chris Peel, Hope Town Canvas, Hope Town Harbour Lodge, Hope Town Wines and Spirits and Lighthouse Marina, HT Inn and Marina, Iggy Biggy, Island Cart Rentals, Island Marine, Jib Room, Jimmy’s Wine and Spirits, Jody Albury, Joe Albury, Kevin & Carolyn Cartwright, Kim Plotkin, Kim Roberts, Kim Rody, Laine Snow, Lickety Split, Lucayan Nature & Birding Tours by Reggie, Man and the Boat Adventure Charters, Marjolein Scott van der Hek, Mark & Susan Godvin, Mary Balzac, Maxwell’s Grocery, Melissa Phillpot, MH Exporters and Importers, Michael & Nancy Albury, Michelle Russell, Multihull Charters, Nippers, North Rock, Ocean Tally, Orchid Bay, Om Grown Greens, Pete Colling, Pete’s Pub, Plaine Products, Quality Star, Rental Wheels, Rick Block, Ricky Sweeting, Rudd, and Andrew Prosa, Sasha Lickle, Sea Horse Marine, Sean Matthews, Sena Fuqua, Shane Gross, Shelby Knowles, Sir Eden Farms, Standard Hardware, Stella Maris Resort, Stephen Malone, Suds & Cuts, Sugar Rush, Sweet Shop, T&N Cart Rentals, Travis Kelly, Tricia French, Turtle Hill Villas, Two Island Chicks, Wally’s, Wine Down Sip Sip and Lighthouse Liquors, Vernon Malone