Locals and tourists in San Salvador can now interact with marine organisms without getting their hair wet.
Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and San Salvador Living Jewels Foundation (SSLJF) unveiled new marine conservation signage and the Sea Bus touch tank at the San Salvador International Airport, Thursday May 18. Approximately 80 people attended the opening.
For the past ten years, San Salvador Living Jewels Foundation (SSLJF) has been advocating for the protection of the environment in San Salvador and the island now has five new National Parks.
Conservation in San Salvador is an important component of BREEFs work to protect the marine environment that sustains the Bahamian way of life. BREEF has been running Marine Conservation Teacher Training Workshops and Sea Camps on San Salvador since 1995. “The work that was done and is continuing in San Salvador acts as an example of what can be accomplished when a community comes together to protect its precious resources.” stated BREEF executive director, Casuarina McKinney-Lambert.
“A small island with five national parks unlike any place in The Bahamas. Government heads favor locals protecting their resources. San Salvador means sacred ground. Here we live on sacred ground and sacred space and we should cherish what has been given to us.” said San Salvador’s Senior Deputy Administrator, Gilbert Kemp at the unveiling.
The signs and touch tank were made possible by a grant that BREEF received from the international environmental conservation organization, Seacology. These resources will be used to educate and inform visitors and locals about the newly declared protected areas on San Salvador and highlight how to safely interact with the marine environment.
In a prepared statement that was read at the unveiling, Seacology expressed their excitement for the possibilities that are now available to locals and visitors for learning about and exploring their natural environment.
“Seacology is delighted to support innovative environmental education programs, and we applaud the perseverance of our project partners, who persisted despite hurricanes and other obstacles! Seacology applauds the partners that came together to make this program happen and looks forward to adults and children learning about the amazing environment in and around San Salvador.”
For those people not yet ready to go into the water, the Sea Bus touch tank gives persons the opportunity to interact with marine organisms in a way that they can be safely returned to the ocean. It is a tool that raises awareness about the importance of these organisms and their natural environment. The mobile touch tank will be used at the airport, local schools and even community fun days to educate locals and visitors about the interesting marine life that can be found in and around San Salvador.
“Ninety percent of the guests visiting San Salvador come through this airport, the gateway. We are elated to have these signs. We are excited to partner with other organizations to protect San Salvador’s environments.” said SSLJF President, Michael Goffe.
Schools in San Salvador are already scheduling times for the Sea Bus touch tank to visit. For more information on BREEF, SSLJF or marine protected areas in the Bahamas, please feel free to contact BREEFs office, visit BREEFs website or Facebook page.
Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF)
All three of the unveiled signs.
Locals trying out the Sea Bus touch tank.
Sign with recently declared protected areas on San Salvador.