NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The selection process for the Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BESS) program has come to a close, with Maya Lindeman from Windsor School and Christopher Clarke from Loganville High School in Georgia emerging as the chosen scholars.
In collaboration with the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF) and The Island School, the gap year program is billed as a coveted opportunity for hands-on research and in-person learning.
“The environment is a captivating and intricate system that never ceases to amaze me,” Clarke said, reflecting on his passion for the environment. “…any modifications to a single component of the environment can trigger a chain reaction that echoes throughout the entire ecosystem.”
Lindeman, an active member and president of Windsor School’s Eco Club, touched on the urgency of her activism.
“Currently, we are facing a potential environmental collapse,” Lindeman acknowledged. “Therefore I have made it a priority and a personal goal to help people alter their perspective on the protection of our natural habitats.
“I love these islands, and I want future generations to be able to look out of their windows 50 years from today and enjoy the same pristine waters and lush greenery that we enjoy now.”
With full funding from The Island School, both Lindeman and Clarke will embark on a journey that includes a semester at the Island School’s Eleuthera campus and a four-month paid internship with BREEF. During their internship, the scholars will gain valuable work experience with esteemed organizations such as the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization, IDEA Relief, and Blue Lagoon.
According to a press release, the BESS program has benefitted 61 young Bahamians since its inception in 2008, with many scholars pursuing tertiary studies or currently employed in the environmental field.
“Recognizing the growing need to problem solve in a rapidly changing world, BREEF and The Island School mentor these independent students through solutions-based learning and scientific research internships,” the statement noted.
“Upon completion of the programme, each scholar will be well equipped to lead The Bahamas into a more sustainable future.”