|Ancat Summer Eco School|
The Andros Conservancy and Trust (Ancat) has offered a free summer eco school to upto 25 at risk youths of the Fresh Creek, Andros area since 2009. During our three weeks together we establish a family atmosphere while we encourage learning about the natural environment of Andros. We also teach about team work, leadership, responsibilty, accountability, healthy living, nutrition, exercise, campsite survival skills and sustainable livelihoods, it is a programme that develops the whole child.
Each year we choose a focus and to date we have introduced the mangroves, creeks, coral reefs, inland and oceanic blue holes, terrestrial habitats, National Parks, and west side of Andros. The youths have learnt the names of fishes, corals, birds and trees and every year we add to their knowledge base, thus preparing these youths to become conservationists who help to spread the message of how precious our environment is to our economic future and how to avert the threats to its wellbeing.
Daily activities include swimming lessons, snorkeling trips to the coral reef and scuba diving training, walks through the forests, camping under the stars, tours through areas of interest and lessons by visiting personnel. To date we have been enlightened by messengers from the Sea Turtle Conservancy, Bahamas Red Cross, Water conservationists, bird watchers, wild hog hunters, wood carvers, art teachers and zumba dancers to name just a few of the contributors.
The group is given two wholesome, filling meals per day using reusable cutlery and dishes and are trained to understand the part we all play in creating garbage and its polluting effects. Each child is given a reusable water bottle which can be filled daily at the centre and then taken on that day’s activity, thus teaching the children to accept personal responsibility.
The youths annually choose a community service project that they would like to perform and we spend a whole day helping our village and developing a sense of understanding that working together we can achieve great goals. These projects have included beach and mangrove cleanups, debris removal from along the harbour shoreline and yard work for elderly Fresh Creek residents.
It is important to create learning opportunities for youths so that they can feel comfortable in the outdoors and become environmentalists from a young age, understanding the connection between the island and themselves.
These children are the men and women of the future and how we aid in their preparedness for the responsibility of becoming custodians of the island will make a difference for future generations.
Grants received in 2015 from :
Eco Ed Foundation, Tucker Foundation, Caribsave, Paradise Children’s Fund, Moore Bahamas Foundation, Lyford Cay Foundation, Scotia Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation and Idea Wild.