Categorized | National News

One Eleuthera Foundation celebrates 7th Annual Earth Day

On Saturday, April 21st , at the Centre for Training & Innovation (CTI), Rock Sound, One Eleuthera Foundation (OEF) and its partners staged, its 7 th Annual Earth Day Fest under the theme “Plastic Free Paradise”. 

The week leading up to Earth Day was filled with an explosion of related activities beginning April 17th. These included a Preservatives Workshop, Bag Making Workshop and a night of Art Explosion that consisted of a Recycled Glass Workshop and an exciting Paint and Sip event. 

The Preservatives Workshop was facilitated by Tonija Burrows from Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) and Tamara Thompson from Green Castle Packing House on Tuesday April 17th. Participants in the workshop were members from the local community and students from Preston H. Albury High School. Partakers were able to learn about making preservatives at home. During the class they made tomato and mango juice with ginger, butter and pizza sauce. 

“Preservation is a passion, I enjoy doing it. I love preservation because you can make your own food and you can make it healthy because you know what ingredients are used. It was great to see young people involved in the workshop. I love to see young people making a difference”, stated Tonija Burrows, workshop facilitator. 

The Paint ‘n’ Sip event was a fun and relaxed Wednesday evening affair where participants gathered at the Eleuthera Arts & Cultural Center (EACC) to unleash their inner artists. Using vibrant paint under the encouraging eye of Will Simmons and colourful recycled glass under the engaging direction of Shorlette Francis, beautiful pieces were created while unwinding in good company. 

A 2-day Bag Making Workshop was facilitated by Martha Smith on Wednesday the 18th and Thursday the 19th of April. The ladies who attended learned all about the process of tie dying, transforming various fabrics, t-shirts and bags into colourful, functional masterpieces which they were able to take home. 

On April 19th the Rotary Club of Eleuthera hosted an Earth Hour reception where Rotarians, OEF board members and community patrons enjoyed an evening of “Mix & Mingling”. The guest speaker for the night was Christopher Binns who, along with his wife Lisa, owns a rustic gourmet restaurant in Jamaica called Stush in the Bush. Mr Binns urged the enthralled audience “to recognize that the ground beneath your feet is holy ground and it is our ground. We can’t go no place else. Where you start is by respecting, protecting, and nourishing your land and your space.” 

The Earth Day Art Competition engaged the participation of several primary schools. These included Rock Sound Primary, Tarpum Bay Primary, Emma E. Cooper Primary and Governor’s Harbour Primary Schools. Students were encouraged to create art pieces featuring plastic or recyclable materials. Many creative pieces were presented for display and judging. The top 3 winners were announced during the Earth Day Fest event. Additionally, the public took part by selecting a winner for the People’s Choice Award which was also announced during the Fest. Notably, all winners were from Rock Sound Primary School. 1 st Place: Brandon Smith, 2nd Place: Gia Morley, 3rd Place: Natalia Sands, People’s Choice Award went to both, Brandon Smith and Gia Morley of Rock Sound Primary. 

The main event, Earth Day Fest, promoted environmental sustainability, Bahamian culture, partnership, economic development and community involvement. There were demonstrations and educational booths that covered things like recycling, lionfish invasion, conch conservation, aquaponics, plastic pollution, native produce and preserves, native plants, and art and craft made using natural and recyclable materials. Kids’ activities included a Kiddie Corner which was managed by Rotaract Club of Eleuthera and volunteers. A petting zoo was also on site managed by Edrin Symonette. Demos of the Fire Engine and Ambulance were facilitated by South Eleuthera Emergency Partners (SEEP) in addition to a story time session where children were read to by volunteers of a reading program. 

“I loved the petting zoo and the primary school art competition. It was a nice family atmosphere”, said a satisfied spectator. 

Capturing the crowd’s attention were performances by the Freedom Marching Band, Space 2 Create Rake n’ Scrape group, a reusable bag fashion show by Empress Verda, Junkanoo rush out by the National Junior Junkanoo Champions of Tarpum Bay Primary and rounding out the night was the Royal Bahamas Defense Force Pop Band who serenaded the crowd with sweet Bahamian music. 

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This year’s global theme, is ‘End Plastic Pollution’. This is a timely message as the Ministry of Environment and Housing very recently announced their efforts to eliminate single use plastics and Styrofoam containers for food and beverage in The Bahamas by 2020 thanks to the advocacy of Bahamas Plastic Movement. 

We all can make changes in our daily lives to work towards a plastic free paradise by utilizing the 4R’s. We can refuse disposable plastic such as straws and plastic bags whenever and wherever possible. We can reduce our plastic footprints by cutting down on the consumption of goods that contain excess plastic packaging. We can reuse durable, non-toxic straws, utensil and containers. We can also recycle what we are unable to refuse, reduce or reuse. 

Earth Day Fest is not only used as a time to promote environmental sustainability, it also marks the anniversary of One Eleuthera Foundation’s launch 6 years ago. The festive event creates a fun filled family atmosphere of education and awareness for all ages. 

Chairman of OEF’s board Alfred Sears, noted that “the OEF template represents what I call a third pathway. A third sector where communities can build schools, establish banks, resource centers, emergency services and cultural centers. All of these things have already been done by One Eleuthera Foundation.” 

During Earth Day Fest’s opening ceremony, OEF’s CEO Shaun Ingraham highlighted the importance of protecting our planet. He further urged the crowd to sign the Save Lighthouse Point petition. He noted that “OEF and our partners want to work together to create a sustainable development for lighthouse point but we can’t do it without your help. If we lose our natural and cultural assets we will not have an identity as a people. Protecting our natural resources will help us to grow our economy and will help us to ensure the future of our children.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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