(September 20, 2012) – The Sandals Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts International – as part of its commitment to environmental protection, has pledged to pay for the transportation of 3,000 New Providence students to visit the Bonefish Pond in an effort to learn about the protected wetlands.
Through their partnership with Experimental Education – an organisation that promotes learning through field interaction – the Sandals Foundation launched The Ride to Save the Wetlands and students from Akhepran International Academy were the first to participate on September 17.
“The Sandals Foundation believes that environmental conservation must start with the education of the children. You cannot grow to love and protect what you do not know and understand. The Ride to Save the Wetlands is a project geared towards exposing students as a first step in the understanding and protection of the wetlands,” said Heidi Clarke, director of programs for the Sandals Foundation.
Bonefish Pond is one of 27 national parks in the Bahamas, established by the Bahamas National Trust, to protect the unique flora and fauna of the coastal and inland areas.
This national park comprises 1,280 acres of coastal wetlands, also called mangroves, which serve as a home to many unique and some endangered species.
While at Bonefish Pond the students were provided with personal snorkeling gear, compliments of Young Marine Explorers, a non-profit environmental organization, which they used to explore the waters of Bonefish Pond, identifying the marine life that make this area their home.
They were guided by the marine biologist and director of Young Marine Explorers, Nikita Sheil-Rolle, along with her able group of volunteers, and learned in addition to other skills how to identify the four main species of mangroves found in the Bahamas.
Before the trip, many of the students admitted to knowing very little about the wetlands and some were hesitant to enter what they referred to as the “gooey” waters but once they took the plunge, all were reluctant to leave.
“Akhepran International Academy was pleased to participate in this project sponsored by the Sandals Foundation, in conjunction with Experiential Education and Young Marine Explorers, as the school’s mission is to educate scholars by integrating intellectual, cultural, environmental and spiritual harmony in each lesson so as to prepare conscientious global citizens and leaders,” said Dr. Jacinta Higgs, headmistress of Akhepran International Academy.