|Summer Safari all about Conchservation!|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2012 08:15|
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Thirty –two (32) young people spent a week at the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) Summer Safari learning about conch. Camp Conchservation provided the boys and girls with an opportunity to get to know conch on all levels by learning about its habitat requirements, biology, uses and the rules and regulations governing its harvest in The Bahamas.
Day one saw the students visiting Bonefish Pond National Park. Bonefish Pond is an extensive coastal mangrove area providing an excellent habitat for juvenile conch and other marine life. The young explorers snorkeled and learned about mangroves and the importance of coastal wetland areas as marine nurseries, as well as, places for visitors to learn about our unique Bahamian ecosystems.
Scientists warn that Bahamian Conch populations may be over harvested. A culturally important resource, conch will be hard for people to do without.
The campers visited the Fish Fry area and interviewed fishermen, restaurant owners & workers and patrons in order to find out 1) if they thought Conch were endangered and 2) what kind of regulations would they be willing to accept in order to insure that we have Conch for the future. Jondre Kelley said he was surprised that the fishermen he interviewed said that there was still plenty of conch. All of the interviewing made for hungry campers and they finished off their work by making their own delicious conch salad.Snorkeling the sea grass beds at Goodman’s Bay was the next adventure for the campers. The campers were able to visit and survey an area of Juvenile conch learning how to conduct conch surveys. The next survey was conch middens on Arawak Cay. The youngsters measured the conch and recorded the number of adult and juvenile conchs found in the middens.
After each excursion the students worked in groups to complete reports on their findings. The last day of camp was spent completing their reports and giving presentations to BNT staff, their parents and family members on what they had learned at The “Conchservation” Camp. Special awards were given at the closing ceremony and with the following campers being recognized for outstanding performance:
Best Camp Journal - Liam Francis
Most Helpful- Isreal John, Devonia Lightbourne
Best Behavior- Lashae Anderson
Most Creative -Nile White
Matia Knowles , said “ I really enjoyed this camp. It was very exciting to snorkel at Bonefish Pond National Park and I learned a lot about conch. Kiran Halkitas who is a second year Camp Safari participant said, “I could not wait to come to camp. Last year was fun but this year was even better and I enjoyed interviewing the fisherman about what they thought about conch in The Bahamas.”
The Bahamas National Trust also ran Summer Safari in Grand Bahama and will be partnering with the Haynes Library in Eleuthera to run the camp July16-20. Additionally, the Trust is supporting summer programmes in Central and South Andros.
Camp Safari Participants enter the water to conduct the Juvenile conch surveys at Goodman's Bay
Making Conch Salad
Conducting interviews at the Fish Fry
Snorkeling at Bonefish Pond
Campers hard at work
The Conch Salad was delicious
Getting ready to play the Conch relay game
The Conch Relay Game reinforced the conch anatomy lesson
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