Funding the Future
Dr. Jamie Bacon
Bermuda Zoological Society (BZS) provides thousands of educational experiences each year to the island's residents, from pre-school to professionals. These experiences vary from the hands-on, in-depth adventure to curriculum support and assistance. Our educational initiatives are split into two broad categories: the Schools Programme and Kids on the Reef.
In Bermuda’s public school system, there are currently 18 primary schools, 4 middle schools and 2 senior schools - catering to around 6,000 students. Additionally, there are another 9 private schools (primary and K-12) with approximately 3,700 students. We tailor our support to reflect the curriculum of each school, finding ways to bring their syllabus to life whether it is in their classroom, the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum or Zoo or out on the water.
With BZS’s educational support having been proven to be effective, with its GASS Programme (Generating Academic Success in Science) showing we are helping to move the needle on student exam scores, demand for our help has never been greater. In order to keep up with this demand, we are reliant on the generosity of benefactors to secure the resources we need for staffing, supplies and resources.
With more support, we hope to deepen this experience for our students of all ages. Next on our to-do list is to secure funding for a wet lab on Trunk Island. This would enable Bermuda's young scientists to carry out investigations on the marine invertebrates of Harrington Sound. Similarly, plankton tows - very finely meshed nets - would allow our budding marine biologists to survey the microscopic marine life in Bermuda's incredible blue waters.
In addition to providing educational support in the more traditional sense, BZS also runs the Kids on the Reef programme which gives children, who might not otherwise have the opportunity, a chance to get out on the water and to set personal development goals for themselves. This is a wonderful way to share the beauty of our island home with youngsters as well as to demonstrate the vast array of marine life and ecosystems there are here.
During the two-day course, which runs twice a year, children are taught about coral reef ecology, ocean conservation and before taking instruction in free diving, both in a pool and in the open water. Each child who takes part is gifted a snorkel and mask to keep in the hopes that they will take what they learn and put it use joyfully.