Migrating Mangrove Detectives 

Written by

Do you live near a mangrove forest? If so, we invite you to become a mangrove detective. Our citizen science program, Mangrove Detectives, allows students to develop STEAM skills while contributing to scientific research. We are thrilled to announce that we recently migrated all Mangrove Detectives’ educational resources to our website. 

The program came about in 2014 when Dr. Ryann Rossi was studying a mangrove die-off on Abaco Island, Bahamas. She discovered that a fungal pathogen was infecting the local red mangroves, potentially transmitted by insects. To expand her research to other areas, she partnered with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) to implement the program in the Mangrove Education and Restoration Programs in the Bahamas and Jamaica. Thanks to a grant from the National Geographic Society, Dr. Ryann Rossi and KSLOF expanded this program’s reach further, developing a curriculum that includes real-world scientific investigations, video tutorials, photo galleries, and teacher lesson plans…

In Awe of J.A.M.I.N

Written by

Today’s guest blog comes from Sandra Turner, who works to promote the equitable advancement of climate literacy and ocean conservation. The Geography of Awe is the name of her latest National Geographic Society grant project, where she integrates her fieldwork and expertise in cartography and multimedia storytelling to share her love for the Caribbean’s rich culture and biodiversity. Here’s what she had to say about working with us on our J.A.M.I.N. program:

Every so often, we get the rare chance to experience genuine awe and inspiration. This was the case when Amy Heemsoth extended the invitation to join her this past April at William Knibb High School as she concluded her Jamaica Awareness of Mangroves in Nature (J.A.M.I.N.) program. I was in Jamaica conducting conservation research and fieldwork on another part of the island. Still, after months of phone calls, I could not resist the opportunity to meet Amy in person and learn more about the incredible work she does in the region, teaching students about marine ecosystems.

As a National Geographic Certified Educator and Explorer currently working to increase the equitable advancement of climate and ocean literacy to students in vulnerable global communities, Amy and I converged on the idea of deepening student citizen science and storytelling engagement. As I reflect on the impactful day spent with Amy, the students, and the staff, there are a few unforgettable moments worth sharing…

2022-2023 B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. Teacher Spotlight

Written by

Often, we share comments about our B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. programs from the students’ perspectives. This year I would like to highlight our remarkable teachers. Teachers are the backbone of our mangrove education and restoration programs, and their crucial role cannot be overstated. Over the years, we have come to realize that the success of these programs hinges on the teachers’ willingness to embrace and seamlessly integrate them into their classrooms. Their dedication and passion for teaching have enabled us to achieve our goals of educating students about the significance of mangroves and instilling a sense of conservation in them.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all the teachers who have been part of our programs, both the veterans who have been with us since the beginning and the new members who have recently joined our educational family. It is their incredible commitment that empowers us to make a lasting impact on the lives of students and cultivate a future generation that will protect and preserve our precious mangroves. It’s time to meet and celebrate our dedicated B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. teachers who make a significant difference every day!

2023 B.A.M. Student Voices

Written by

Previously, you heard the voice of the students in our J.A.M.I.N. program. Now it’s time to hear how the students in The Bahamas feel about our B.A.M. program.

“Though I do not want to pursue a career in science or conservation, I still appreciate and I’m thankful that I am a part of something so important like the B.A.M. program.”
– Kaley Scott, Forest Heights Academy

J.A.M.I.N. Student Voices

Written by

Throughout the B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. programs, we evaluate each program by surveying students in each of the three phases of the mangrove education and restoration process. We use this information to gauge how much information the students initially know regarding mangroves and their attitudes toward them before we begin the programs. After we start the programs, we continue to survey the students. This data helps us to determine whether our education programs are effective and whether we know our audience. It also allows us to measure how much knowledge is retained and whether their attitudes and actions about mangroves change as they continue through the program.

During the final survey, we ask the students for their input about the program. We want to know things such as: How we can improve the program; What was their favorite part of the program; and What did they learn from participating in the program?

One of my favorite things to do after the programs have ended is to read the students’ written responses. Below you will find select responses to the final survey. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

J.A.M.I.N. Alumni Spotlight: Where Are They Now?

Written by

Every once in a while, life presents us with heartwarming moments that reaffirm the impact of education. Such was the case when I receive updates or cross paths with former B.A.M. and J.A.M.I.N. students. On my final trip back, former J.A.M.I.N. student and William Knibb Memorial High School alumna Nastacia Linton emerged as a beacon of inspiration. While pursuing her degree, Nastacia has taken on the role of Assistant Librarian at her alma mater — a testament to her dedication to both education and science. I vividly recalled Nastacia’s calm demeanor, her quiet yet inquisitive nature, and her genuine interest in delving deeper into the world of mangroves.

It is with great pride that I shine a spotlight on this exceptional alumnus, who is not only pursuing her own career in science but giving back to her beloved high school. After reviewing Nastacia’s answers from our program evaluation, it should be no surprise that she wanted to pursue a career in STEM education when she said her favorite part of the program was “working in the field, collecting samples, recording data, working more closely with mangroves, and working in their environment.”

Nastacia’s journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of education and the enduring impact of programs like J.A.M.I.N. Join me as we delve deeper into her inspiring path, celebrating her achievements and exploring the ways in which she continues to make a difference in the world of science…

Shining the Spotlight on Our Partner, Trudy-Ann Campbell

Written by

After a hiatus of over two years due to the unforeseen impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were eager to resume the Jamaica Awareness of Mangroves in Nature (J.A.M.I.N.) this past school year. With its return came several changes, and one of the most exciting additions this year was the arrival of Trudy-Ann Campbell, the new outreach officer at the UWI Discovery Bay Marine Lab —a valued partner in the J.A.M.I.N. initiative.

In her role as the outreach officer, Trudy takes charge of organizing educational activities for both primary and secondary school students. Her responsibilities extend beyond the classroom as she collaborates with organizations like ours to deliver educational programs that create environmental awareness among youth. Moreover, Trudy works closely with local communities, empowering them to actively participate in the preservation and conservation of their mangroves…

Empowering Youth: The Return of our Mangrove Education & Restoration Program to Bahamian Schools

Written by

The definition of partnerships had a newfound meaning to Bahamians who experienced Hurricane Dorian in September 2019. So many relief organizations selflessly came to our rescue from so many different avenues, showing us the true meaning of partnership and dedication to our islands. As the island of Abaco has rebuilt over the past four years, we have been grateful for those partners eager to continue working with us as we come back stronger. Friends of the Environment (FRIENDS) is grateful for the partnership with the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation (KSLOF) in bringing the Bahamas Awareness of Mangroves (B.A.M.) program back to Abaco this year…