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Bahamas National Trust and C.O.B. Collaborate to Promote Natural History
By College of The Bahamas
Feb 22, 2013 - 8:44:24 AM

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College of The Bahamas and Bahamas National Trust administrators at a press conference on February 13th. (Photo: COB)

Nassau, BAHAMAS – Researchers, educators, natural resource managers, students, and naturalists from all over the world will converge at The College of The Bahamas in early March to share comprehensive research findings on the natural history of The Bahamas.

The College and the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) are collaborating on the Bahamas National Natural Science Conference, scheduled for March 5th – 8th, 2013 at the Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre.

Executive Director of the BNT Eric Carey said it will provide a forum for natural scientists to present their work to each other and the Bahamian public.

“This conference has been designed to deliver to a Bahamian audience the results of research taking place throughout our country. It has long been bemoaned by any number of persons working in the field of the environment, in education and in academia that there isn’t enough heard locally about research taking place in The Bahamas,” he said.

“A lot of the scientists who work in The Bahamas have been criticized by Bahamians saying they come and study and they do not return the research. Often the research is returned it is a requirement of the permit.…The problem we have is in managing this information. The information comes back, it goes into a particular department, it gets filed and left there. One of the things we will be talking about is networking to figure out a way to catalogue and share this information and make it available to people who want to access it.”

According to COB President Dr. Betsy Vogel-Boze the opportunity to further solidify a partnership with the BNT seemed a natural fit as research is a primary part of The College’s mission of supporting and driving national development. However, there are other potential benefits to the institution and the country at large.

“This is an instance where the mission of the two entities – the Bahamas National Trust and The College of The Bahamas – overlaps. We are both in the business of providing information on The Bahamas, developing talents and leadership and protecting a sustainable environment,” said Dr. Boze.

“Science and natural history are so important to our fragile ecosystems here in The Bahamas and often this is not studied by Bahamians, but by scientists abroad. It is important that we develop a generation of leadership and scientists that can be responsible for doing our own research on our archipelagic nation. We look forward to a long and successful partnership between COB and BNT and that this will be the first of many natural history conferences that we will be hosting.”

The aim of the conference is to inspire new avenues of research and cooperation across disciplines while highlighting the benefits of researching the environment, the economy and the human society of The Bahamas. Information will be shared through oral presentations, plenary talks, roundtable discussions and film showings. The conference will feature research on a wide range of natural history areas including: marine and terrestrial invasive species; environmental stewardship; ethnobiology; conservation of reptiles and sharks; sustainable fisheries and protected area management. Research on ecology, conservation of endangered birds; and mammals and coral reef ecology will also be presented.

President of the BNT Neil McKinney hopes that the conference will be the start of a deliberate and sustainable focus on the development of new knowledge and scientific advancements.

“The collaboration between the two organisations is so important because obviously working together we can do a lot more than we can do working individually. It also helps to ensure that there are no redundancies and that we are not working on the same things and wasting energies,” he said.

“Many times some of the breakthroughs that happen in science or some of the great advances that come, come when people from different disciplines get together and they see a solution to their problem and their discipline with other people working in different disciplines,” Mr. McKinney added.
The conference is open to persons in academia, the public service, non-governmental organisations and students.

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