The Bahamian island of Eleuthera is trying a spot of what it’s calling “educational tourism” in an effort to support local environmental initiatives and to incorporate sustainability into the guest experience, the Eleuthera News reports. Cape Eleuthera Resort & Yacht Club, in conjunction with the Island School and Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI), is launching a project they calls “The Barefoot Classroom.” The Island School is a semester program for high school students and CEI is a world-renowned research facility that promotes conservation, sustainability and natural resource management. “Since the very conception of Cape Eleuthera Resort & Yacht Club, it has been our goal to grow in a more sustainable direction. Working with the Island School and CEI is our first step in that direction,” explained David Green, director at Cape Eleuthera Resort & Yacht Club.
Programs include The Ocean’s Apex Predators: Sharks (join the research team engage in long-lining for tagging purposes), An Ocean Farm (circumnavigate CEI’s 3,000m offshore cobia cage), Flats Discovery (learn about best practices in handling sport fish, current research on predator-prey relationships and new discoveries about the spawning of bonefish), Coral Reef Surveys (take part in the lionfish survey program), Green Living (learn about the “green” revolution and think about how you can incorporate some of these initiatives into your life), Prehistoric and Historic Settlements (trip via land to nearby archeological sites) and Sustainable Food Production (learn about CEI’s recirculating aquaponics system which produces fresh tilapia and daily greens for the community).
From eco-tourism to volun-tourism to edu-tourism, travelers are seeking destinations that offer more than just what meets the eye. “This is travel that unites your purpose and passion and ignites your enthusiasm in ways unimaginable,” says David Clemmons, founder of Voluntourism.org. “Education is key to the tourist experience. The work we are doing at CEI is vital to protecting the natural resources- -reefs, sharks, bonefish and other local fish populations–that attract tourists to The Bahamas in the first place,” comments Karla Cosgriff, director at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. “When we travel, we learn. Whether it be a lesson in dance or preparing coffee, we learn through exchanges and the people we meet along the way. Our educational tourism program is an extension of this very philosophy. In giving guests the opportunity to learn, we are promoting understanding and inspiring real change,” comments Leesa Fountain, intern at Cape Eleuthera Resort & Yacht Club. “Our surrounding waters and marine life are the Cape’s greatest asset and as a resort we will support every effort to protect this vibrant environment for future generations,” notes Stephen Kappeler, general manager of Cape Eleuthera Resort & Yacht Club.
For the original report on this project go to http://www.eleutheranews.com/local/558.html
Satellite photo from NASA.