Sandals Foundation Joins Bahamas National Trust to Spread Environmental Awareness in the Bahamas
Further amplifying its mission to engage adults and children across the Caribbean in environmental protection and conservation, the Sandals Foundation has lent its support to the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) annual Discovery Club Leadership Symposium which seeks to put conservation directly in the hands of young Bahamians.
By bringing the leaders of the over 70 Discovery Club units from their various islands together for hands-on training, the Sandals Foundation and BNT hope these leaders will be better prepared to return to their communities and clubs to further empower and equip their members to continue advocating and protecting the environment.
Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke, said the Foundation’s support of the BNT is a representation of their mission throughout the region with regards to environmental awareness. “For the past nine years, The Sandals Foundation has been working diligently to bring awareness to and support various environment conservation programs geared towards the protection of our natural resources here in the Caribbean. We have partnered with the Bahamas National Trust on other initiatives and recognize their invaluable work in the area of conservation.” Clarke said.
She continued, “We are pleased to support the Discovery Club Conference as it works to ensure that the participants have the tools to share valuable lessons throughout the year with students across The Bahamas. Targeting these young people on the importance of the environment, and in particular, our marine environment is the only way we will make positive changes for our island homes for the future.” To date, the Sandals Foundation has directly engaged over 34,000 adults and children in environmental awareness across the Caribbean.
The weeklong leadership summit, which began on Sunday (July 22) is expected to train adult volunteers of varying backgrounds to acquire the content and skills needed to effectively and consistently implement the content across The Bahamas. The participants will be engaged in areas such as marine and terrestrial ecosystems conservation, endangered species conservation, volunteer management, how to effectively measure the impact of their activities among other topics that are important to environmental conservation in The Bahamas.
According to BNT Education Director, Portia Sweeting, over the course of its 23–year existence, the Discovery Club has inspired children to love and care about the environment, and they, in turn, have influenced their communities for the better.
“When you empower a teacher, you transform the future of a generation. The BNT is tremendously grateful for Sandals [Foundation’s] contribution to this year’s Discovery Club Symposium. This week-long training will equip 100 teachers and community leaders to run BNTs environmental education program, in over 70 units across 9 islands to the benefit of over 1,000 Bahamian students.”
With three age-dependent levels, Explorers (7 – 9 years), Guardians (10 – 12 years) and Navigators (13 years and older), the Discovery Club targets both average and underserved Bahamian youths, providing multidisciplinary experiences that cater to different learning styles, involving a mix of in-class and field studies.