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St John’s Students “Discover Bermuda”
A group of students from Bermuda College and New York’s St. John’s University has spent most of the past fortnight exploring the Island as part of a course to “Discover Bermuda.”
The course—now in its third year—is hosted by the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo (BAMZ) and Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS), and funded by a generous private donation from a board member of the Atlantic Conservation Partnership (ACP), a US not-for-profit 501c3 affiliated with BAMZ.
It brings together a dozen St. John’s University and eight Bermuda College students to spend 10 days travelling around Bermuda to learn about its fragile ecosystem, environmental challenges and sustainable success stories, as well as the Island’s economy, shared cultural history and socio-economic challenges.
The three-credit university course, supported by ACP director Joseph C. Smetana and led by St. John’s Professor Dr. Frank Cantelmo includes an intensive schedule of fieldtrips and lectures.
“It gives us an opportunity to highlight our island environment and everything that’s unique about it as a microcosm of the world,” says Dr. Ian Walker, Principal Curator of Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo and an executive board member of BZS and ACP.
The students have toured natural areas such as Southlands and Walsingham Caves (“Tom Moore’s Jungle”), taken boat trips to snorkel offshore at North Rock, and visited industrial areas such as BELCo and the Tyne’s Bay Solid Waste Facility.
Course lectures have been led by experts from a host of organisations, including the Bermuda National Trust, Bermuda Government, Bermuda College, BEST, BELCO, Family Centre, BZS and BAMZ. Scientists and other lecturers have given students a variety of perspectives on the uniqueness of ocean islands, their value, and the challenges they face, using Bermuda as an example.
“We’re very proud of the course and excited we can offer it in conjunction with St. John’s University and the Bermuda College,” says Dr. Walker. “It is of tremendous interest to these young people and their comments prove to us they are gaining critical environmental understanding about Bermuda and other island ecosystems.”
BZS is the support charity for Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo, funding a full slate of education programmes, conservation and research projects, exhibits and community outreach events. BAMZ is a Bermuda government institution within the Department of Conservation Services.