Lyford Cay permaculture farmLast week, a group of grade 8 students from the Lyford Cay International School flew over from Nassau to visit the Cape Eleuthera Island School. These sixteen students made it their mission to develop an idea for their year-long Take Action projects. The projects, focused on environmental stewardship, look to empower the students to push for sustainable solutions to the problems which plague their school or community. Over their three-day visit, the students focused on learning about alternative energy, water conservation, waste and plastics pollution, and permaculture.

Shortly after their arrival, students were exposed to the CEIS’s renewable energy systems during a tour of campus. Then, with the help of sustainability teacher Mike Cortina, the students explored different ways we harness energy from our environment here on campus: solar thermal to heat water as well as photovoltaic and wind to create electricity. The students were also introduced to biodiesel production, one of the crown jewels of our alternative energy systems.

Lyford Cay permaculture farm

A quick stop at one of the cisterns gave students a chance to measure and get a firsthand look at the campus’ water catchment system.  After coming face to face with a few frogs, everyone was thankful to learn about the UV filtration system!  Despite being surrounding by water on all sides in The Bahamas, students developed a better understanding of the sobering reality of how limited water resources truly are.

For the next lesson, the permaculture team took the students out of the classroom and into the muck.  The group quickly realized that learning about composting at The Island School means getting your hands dirty!  In teams, the 8th graders gathered leaves, shoveled manure, collected food waste, and chopped up brush to create their own compost pile using the 18 day Berkeley method.  It’s a great method of reducing waste that some of the students thought could be implemented at Lyford Cay with relative ease.

Lyford Cay farm permaculture

In order to visualize the prevalence of plastics on land and in our oceans, the group went out to Cotton Bay Beach to conduct plastic surveys. After walking the beach, students observed the effects of our consumerist society and recognised the need to inspire change.

Despite the rigorous academic schedule, students did have a chance to experience life as members of The Island School’s community and do a little exploring. After being invited by the IS students, the Lyford Cay got a taste of morning exercise and competed in a girls vs. boys run/swim.  To top off their trip, the students visited the Rock Sound caves,  picnicked at Ocean Hole for a bit of decompression time, and reflected upon their experiences under a banyan tree before heading home.

Lyford Cay

During their whirlwind trip, the students developed some exciting and ambitious new ideas to combat environmental issues in their own backyards. Solar panels on the new upper school, living roofs to lower energy costs, and plastic bag eradication in the local supermarkets are just a few of the ideas in the works. With their Take Action projects still in their infantile stages, we here at CEI are excited to see what will come to fruition in the next few months!