Dolphin Encounters’ Beach Buddies Program Takes Education to the Beach

Anyone who’s heard of Dolphin Encounters should know about the Bahamas Education Association for Cetacean Health – also known as Project B.E.A.C.H. – the two are synonymous, and with good reason. For years, the Dolphin Encounters team has taken pride in helping locals and visitors learn more about the Bahamian marine environment and the variety of life found beneath our waves. Project B.E.A.C.H. was established to boost conservation efforts by increasing marine education in Bahamian schools.

With the abundance and wide array of aquatic species found in Bahamian waters, one of the most common misconceptions found by Dolphin Encounters’ educators is that the ocean is an unlimited resource. One of Project B.E.A.C.H.’s objectives is to help young Bahamians get acquainted with marine life, eradicating fears of the ocean and inspiring future generations to effect change in marine environment protection.

Project B.E.A.C.H. is comprised of several components; one of its most successful programs is the Beach Buddies Program. Offered free of charge to all academic institutions, organizations, businesses and clubs throughout The Bahamas, Beach Buddies’ focus is on keeping Bahamian beaches clean and safe. Litter commonly found in public parks and beaches, such as bottles, soda cans and eating containers and utensils, can not only ruin natural habitats and recreational grounds, but also pose risks to humans and animals alike. Unfortunately, the only ones who can put an end to the problem are the ones who are causing it – that’s why the Beach Buddies Program teaches students the importance of taking responsibility for their local environments by partnering with schools to organize beach clean-ups in local areas.

Helping students and teachers coordinate a safe, educational and fun event, Beach Buddies recently partnered with New Providence-based Naomi Blatch Primary School to conduct a clean-up of the public beach in the South Beach area. Attending the clean-up were Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett, Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald, parents, teachers, Dolphin Encounters staff, school administrators and students.

Along with gloves and garbage bags, the Dolphin Encounters team provided a stock of data cards to record the amount of trash collected. Keeping spirits high, at the end of the project, the Beach Buddies team rewarded participants for their contribution to conservation; Project B.E.A.C.H. administrators presented each helper with a water bottle and Beach Buddy pin or keychain. The event ended with a promise from Naomi Blatch to make beach clean-ups one of the school’s on-going activities.

Project B.E.A.C.H. believes that continued efforts in areas like beach clean-ups will help create a more pristine environment that everyone can enjoy and learn from. To find out more about Project B.E.A.C.H. and the Beach Buddies Program or to organize a Beach Buddies clean-up, visit the Dolphin Encounters website or call (242) 363-7180 ext. 302/303.