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Stories dealing with Education on Bonaire

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Do Divers Impact Reefs--A New Scientific Study Gives Insight

Earlier this month, a group of past and present CIEE Bonaire staff, interns, and students published a research paper titled, “The effect of recreational SCUBA divers on the structural complexity and benthic assemblage of a Caribbean coral reef” in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation. For many of the group of interns and students, the paper is their first peer-reviewed scientific publication, a major step in the path to becoming a scientist. CIEE Bonaire is very pleased to have been able to offer this opportunity to these first-time authors.

Guided dives have been shown to reduce diver impacts

The goal of this research project was to examine the specific effects that divers have on the benthic organisms (hard corals, soft corals, sponges, etc.) that make up tropical reefs. It has been known for quite some time that divers break, dislodge, and abrade benthic organisms. However, it is less understood how divers might affect the structural complexity of reefs and the relative abundance of different benthic organisms. The research project examined these two aspects through a series of underwater surveys conducted at areas that are heavily and lightly trafficked by SCUBA divers.

Benthic survey team

The results indicate that divers reduce the structural complexity of reefs (make them flatter), which is alarming because much of what makes coral reefs so diverse is their complexity. Additionally, in areas of high diving traffic, there was a shift from a reef dominated by hard corals to one dominated by sponges, soft corals, and rubble. This could be problematic for the future of corals because hard corals make up the structure on which coral reefs are built. The results of the paper indicate that more needs to be done to educate SCUBA divers on how to minimize their effect. This is crucial for island nations like Bonaire that rely on having healthy reefs to attract SCUBA tourism.

For those who would like to learn more, the scientific paper is available in PDF format by clicking here(Source:  CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 08, 2015 at 3:19pm AST
EducationNatureScuba DivingWater SportsPermalink


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

CIEE Offers Opportunity to Learn About Bonaire’s Seafaring Past

In olden days, many men on Bonaire supported their families by taking to the sea.  In fact, Bonaire seamen were duly noted for their abilities to handle boats in any type of conditions.  Even components of Bonaire’s flag recognize its men’s abilities on the seas of the world as there is a black ring with the four points of the navigation-compass.

Today, sadly many of these sailing traditions are not being carried forward, as our modern-day conveniences do not mandate the same innate knowledge of the seas or of boat-building.  However, there is currently one effort being carried forth on Bonaire to keep that tradition alive–-the renovation of the sea-cargo sailing vessel, Stormvogel.

CIEE will provide an informative presentation this Thursday, October 8th, 2015 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM on the Stormvogel. The talk will be given by Johnny Craane and Patrick Holian and will be about Bonaire’s rich boat-building past, the history of Stormvogel, and the community effort to save Stormvogel, the last sailing cargo boat of the ABC Islands.

As always, CIEE’s presentations are free to anyone who wishes to attend, and the talk will be given at their offices at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26. (Source:  CIEE and Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on October 06, 2015 at 1:32pm AST
Community ServiceEducationEventsPermalink


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Shark Week Premieres on Bonaire, Starting Saturday, August 22, 2015

It’s a new “first” for Bonaire, and it’s part of an international effort to give protection to the sharks which inhabit the waters of Bonaire, as well as all the Dutch Caribbean islands, and even Holland itself.  “Shark Week” will begin on Saturday, August 22, 2015, and there’s activities all week that will offer educational and fun things to do.

For some background information, it’s long been acknowledged that a healthy shark population equates to healthy reefs, as apex predators, such as sharks, keep other reef species genetically “fit.” In other words, the hardy survive and continue to breed, while those which might be a little weak, normally do not survive to breed.  But, unfortunately, since the days of the movie, Jaws, the hunters of the world’s oceans have become the hunted.

It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed each year in commercial fisheries, and it’s thought that this is a conservative estimate.  This represents a rate of fishing about double the rate of reproduction, which is why the world is seeing declines in most populations for which data exist.  These populations for which we have detailed information, are called “assessed” species, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened or near extinction assessed species includes 27 Caribbean species, of which six species are found in Bonaire’s waters (bull, blacktip, Caribbean reef, tiger, lemon, and whale sharks).

Bonaire, along with Holland and other Dutch Caribbean islands, are formally beginning an educational effort to increase shark awareness.  Next week’s launch will bring some fun get-togethers, but also the airing of educational videos.  View Shark Week’s schedule by clicking here (available in PDF), and be sure to stop by and become aware!  (Source:  STINAPA)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 19, 2015 at 9:49am AST
EducationEventsNatureScuba DivingSnorkelingWater SportsPermalink


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tanki Maraka Heritage Park Opens

It’s not a well known fact to visitors of Bonaire that the island hosted a U.S. military installation during World War II, but now, with the opening of the Tanki Maraka Heritage Park, visitors can get a glimpse into this particular slice of Bonaire’s history and the island’s role during the second world war.

The Tanki Maraka site is a World War II Open-Air Museum highlighting the area of a U.S. military camp from 1942 to 1947.  This museum park has been presented as a combined effort by BONAI (Bonaire Archaeological Institute), the Government of Bonaire, Mondriaan Funds, and STINAPA.

In all, over 3000 documents were digitized, with many coming from the National Archives in Curacao and the Monqui Maduro Library, also in Curacao.  Here on Bonaire, oral history interviews were conducted with many of the island’s elders, who were living on Bonaire during World War II.

The archaeological site was first located using oral history reports, and then in July 2007, BONAI began to survey the site and do excavations.  The majority of artifacts that were found were surface finds.  The base included barracks, a personnel area, a sports area, and a technical area.

But why have a U.S. base on Bonaire?  Some history is in order:

On May 10, 1940, at 3:00 AM, The Netherlands was invaded.  The invasion was quick and effective.  On that same day, all German nationals or Nazi sympathizers in the Dutch islands were arrested and sent to interment camps on Bonaire.

May 11 and 12 brought the first U.S. military on Bonaire, along with British and French forces.  The call for troops came to protect the oil refineries on Curacao and Aruba, both helping with the war effort to supply Allied forces.

In February 1942, Holland invites a significant U.S. military presence but focusing on Curacao and Aruba because of the refineries.  It was just days later, on February 15 and 16, 1942, when Germany attacked both refineries.

Later that year, in October, 1942, it was decided that a small base, but with radar capabilities, would be constructed on Bonaire, one of several U.S. bases in the region.

With the end of the war on May 9, 1945, the troops remained for about two years more, as they decommissioned the base.  The Tanki Maraka camp was completely cleared of all wooden structures and technical equipment by February, 1947.  Only the concrete foundations were left behind.

The Tanki Maraka Heritage Park provides a self-guided tour through the premises of the old base.  The signage is excellent, giving visitors to the site an amazing perspective into life on Bonaire during World War II.  The images from the war are compelling, adding to the sense of history that one feels while walking through the grounds.  The walk takes about one hour to complete.  The park can be found along the road to Rincon.  After leaving Kralendijk, be watchful for a sign to the park on the right, and then the driveway to the entrance is just a short distance.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on June 18, 2015 at 11:38am AST


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

CIEE Hosts Two Informative Talks This Week

CIEE will host two very informative presentations this week at their headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26, on Wednesday and Thursday this week, from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM.

The first presentation, on Wednesday, May 13th, 2015, will have Jennifer Collins, Ocean Education (National Museum of Natural History--Washington, DC, USA) speaking about Smithsonian activities and resources for the ocean enthusiasts in us all.  Jennifer will talk about the range of marine resources and programs available through the Natural History Museum to citizens including teachers and students, the science community, and the public.

On Thursday, May 14th, 2015, Dr. Allen Collins (NOAA’s National Systematics Lab) will present a talk on Jellyfish and The Polyps That Give Rise To Them.  Allen is an expert in medusozoan cnidarians, a/k/a jellyfish and kin. He will talk about biodiversity and systematics (evolutionary relationships) between these groups.

As always, entrance is free, and everyone is welcome.  (Source:  CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 12, 2015 at 2:09pm AST


Thursday, January 08, 2015

First CIEE Public Lecture of 2015 to be Held on January 13th, 2015

CIEE will begin their new year with a free public lecture on January 13th, 2015 about the effect of anchoring on the reefs of the British Virgin Islands, an area with lots of sailing vessels.  Although anchoring is not permitted on Bonaire, except for fishing boats of less than four meters and with the use of a stone anchor, the presentation by Dr. Graham Forrester will prove just how important such regulations are for the health of Caribbean reefs.

Dr. Forrester is a professor at the University of Rhode Island, USA.  The presentation will take place at the CIEE headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26, in Kralendijk, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.  All are welcome, and entrance is free.  (Souce:  CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on January 08, 2015 at 1:21pm AST


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Upcoming Events on Bonaire

There are some interesting upcoming events in the next week for those on Bonaire.  On Saturday, the Kriabon Famers’ Market will hold its Christmas Fair.  And, next week, on Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, CIEE will host an interesting discussion about the effects of tsunamis on Bonaire.

Saturday, December 6th, 2014, from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Kriabon’s headquarters will take on a much different look, with a multitude of stands with Christmas items, paper, decorations, and local art.  Of course, this is all in addition to the normal Farmers’ Market stands with locally produced fruit and vegetables, plants, sweets, drinks, and local food.  From 9:30 to 10:30, enjoy live music from the Panchito Choir.  Kriabon is located at Kaminda Jatu Baco #55.

Then enjoy the radio transmission of a live performance of Handel’s Messiah on Saturday afternoon from 2:30 to 6:00 PM, on radio 89.5 FM, courtesy of Trans World Radio.  Pre-concert programming begins at 2:30, and there will be an interview with Dr. Rodney Wynkoop, the music director, at 2:55 PM, just prior to the concert beginning at 3:00 PM (more or less, since it’s a live event!).  What a way to get into the holiday spirit!

On Wednesday, December 10th, 2014, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, CIEE will be offering a free presentation by Max Engel, Jan Oetjen,and Simon Matthias May, who come from the Institute of Geography at the University of Cologne, in Germany.  They will discuss the studies that have been done since the late 1990s, on the fields of massive boulders and coral rubble deposits aligning the coast of Bonaire to prehistoric extreme-wave events such as tsunamis or hurricanes. This research has intensified in the last decade, and it is now accepted that some of the largest boulders and also subsurface sand layers found in some of the bays are the result of one or several tsunamis of the last millennia. By combining information drawn from the sediments with computer models of potential tsunamis reaching the shores of Bonaire, we aim at assessing the risk potential on the island. The talk sums up research activities of the past and provides insights into our initial modelling scenarios.  CIEE is located at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26 in Kralendijk.  All are welcome, but do arrive on time, as the presentations are started promptly.

Enjoy!  (Source:  Kriabon and CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on December 04, 2014 at 12:24pm AST
EducationEventsMusic and PerformancesNatureShoppingPermalink


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Learn Your Bonaire Fish ID at the next CIEE Public Presentation

The next presentation in the community education series of CIEE Bonaire will be held on Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.  The guest speakers will be Carlos and Allison Estape, fish identification gurus and underwater photographers who work closely with REEF.

During their presentation, they will show attendees how to enjoy a “100-fish dive,” in other words, how to spot over 100 different fish species on only one dive.  They will put a high focus upon some of the neat, cryptic fishes that most people overlook.

As always, the event will be held at the CIEE Bonaire headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot.  Entrance is free, and everyone is welcome.  (Source:  CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on August 06, 2014 at 5:20pm AST


Monday, May 12, 2014

CIEE Offers a New Lecture This Evening Focusing Upon Coral Reefs

This evening, CIEE will host a free public lecture by Dr. David Unger, a professor from Maryville College; his talk is entitled, “The Future of Coral Reefs” and there will be a high emphasis placed on reefs from the Caribbean.

Anyone with an interest may attend, free of charge.  The lecture will take place at the CIEE Research Station from 7:00 to 8:00 PM, at their headquarters at Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot #26 in Kralendijk.  All are welcome!  (Source:  CIEE Bonaire)

Posted by Susan Davis on May 12, 2014 at 3:44pm AST


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Upcoming Bonaire Events Feature Nature, Culture, and Food

There’s a busy schedule of upcoming events in the next few days, so there’s surely something for everyone’s tastes, even literally!  Enjoy nature presentations, Dia di Rincon, and the Taste of Bonaire.

First of all, this evening, April 29th, CIEE will host a talk by Charlie Dryden, a PhD student from Newcastle University.  The title of his talk is, “Caribbean reef structure and the role it plays for reef fish communities” and it will be held from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM.  All are invited to the CIEE headquarters on Kaya Gobernador N. Debrot, and entrance is free.

And then tomorrow, Wednesday, April 30th, it’s the 26th annual edition of Dia di Rincon (Rincon Day), so it’s time to party all day in Bonaire’s quaint village of Rincon.  The folks in Rincon have been preparing for weeks to host Bonaire’s largest annual event celebrating Bonaire’s history and culture.  Enjoy music, folkloric dancing, and traditional music.  It’s time for everyone on Bonaire to unite in one place and enjoy all that Bonaire holds dear.  View the day’s schedule of events (available in Papiamentu in PDF format) by clicking here.

Finally, on Sunday, May 4th, enjoy a very special Taste of Bonaire with the Bartender Edition, in Wilhelmina Park from 6:00 to 10:00 PM.  Come and support the Bonaire Culinary Team 2014 with the local bartender competition, with the winning bartender joining the Bonaire team traveling to Miami for the Taste of the Caribbean competition.  At this weekend’s Taste of Bonaire, there will be local music, handcrafts, and creative cocktails.  It’s a sure-fire way to finish off a week of festivities.

(Source:  Bonaire Insider Reporter)

Posted by Susan Davis on April 29, 2014 at 11:57am AST
EducationEventsNatureRestaurants and DiningPermalink


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