“Exploring Bermuda’s Blue Backyard’ Session

December 16, 2022

Scientists from the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences [BIOS] participated in a virtual education session for local schools as part of the Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme’s [BOPP’s] ongoing youth engagement.

A spokesperson said, “BIOS scientists have been involved with BOPP since the programme’s inception, serving on both the Steering Committee and Science Committee, and providing valuable data and feedback to help guide the development of the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan.”

“We are delighted for BIOS’s Ocean Academy to partner with BOPP to share some of the important research being undertaken by BIOS scientists, from the study of microscopic animals to sixgill sharks,” said Kaitlin Noyes, BIOS director of education and community engagement.

The spokesperson said, “The hour-long ‘Exploring Bermuda’s Blue Backyard’ session was designed to help middle and senior school students learn more about the island’s unique and valuable marine resources. A series of short presentations, each led by a BIOS scientist, connected students with areas beneath the ocean’s surface that are being proposed for protection within a network of marine protected areas [MPAs] as part of the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan.

“Topics of the segments included marine plankton and their role in Earth’s climate system [Dr. Amy Maas, comparative physiologist and biological oceanographer]; the importance of reef habitat to marine ecosystems and Bermuda’s society [Dr. Eric Hochberg, reef systems ecologist]; Bermuda’s deep-sea fish biodiversity [Tim Noyes, fish ecologist]; and Bermuda’s maritime cultural heritage resources [Dr. Philippe Rouja, medical and cultural anthropologist].

“Destiny Matthie, a first-year student at Plymouth University in England, set the stage for the event, drawing on her passion for the ocean to help inspire appreciation for Bermuda’s marine environment. Matthie, a graduate of BIOS’s Ocean Academy suite of education programs, also introduced the speakers for the first half of the session.”

“Exploring Bermuda’s Blue Backyard was a great opportunity for BIOS researchers to reach the island’s young community and spread awareness of the vitality of Bermuda’s ocean and the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan,” Matthie said. “Each scientist, with their own personality and perspective, offered so much valuable information.”

“Exploring Bermuda’s Blue Backyard” was attended by 108 students from six schools around the island, including the Bermuda Center for Creative Learning, Bermuda High School, CedarBridge Academy, Clearwater Middle School, The Berkeley Institute and Warwick Academy.

The spokesperson said, “During the event’s second half, Matthie moderated a question and answer session. Participants asked BIOS scientists and BOPP representatives a variety of questions, including: “What are some of the challenges of studying in the deep sea?”; “Do you know the economic value of Bermuda’s reefs?”; “What is the coolest treasure you’ve ever found?”; and, “What is the most abundant type of plankton?””

“It was a wonderful experience to come together to talk about the ways that different parts of Bermuda’s ecosystem are linked, and how protecting one facet reinforces and supports all the others,” Maas said.

“Exploring Bermuda’s Blue Backyard” can be viewed in its entirety on the BOPP website here.

The spokesperson said, “The Draft Blue Prosperity Plan is open to public comment until 31 December 2022. The Draft Plan has two components: the Blue Economy Strategy, a guideline for growing Bermuda’s ocean-related industries and attracting investment, and the Marine Spatial Plan, a framework for implementing sustainable ocean development, protection, and management. This Draft Plan uses the best available science and builds from extensive input from the Government of Bermuda, the local scientific community, stakeholder groups, and Bermuda’s public.

“The public is encouraged to read the Draft Blue Prosperity Plan at BermudaOceanProsperity.org and provide their feedback online at the Government Citizens Forum website at forum.gov.bm/en/.”

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Category: All, Environment