August 17, 2016
From left: Dr. Ethan Freid, botanist; Rose Charles, intern; BNT Executive Director Eric Carey; Antonette Hudson, intern; Brendan Toote, intern; and Falon Cartwright, Levy Preserve Manager.
Three College of The Bahamas students - Rose Charles, Brendan Toote, and Antonette Hudson - were selected as interns from 15 applicants by the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve on Eleuthera this summer.
They studied the natural history of the area over seven weeks under the guidance of Dr. Ethan Freid, the Preserve’s botanist. Dr. Freid is a former lecturer at the College of the Bahamas.
The internship programme provides students with field experience that can lead to future employment. This is the third year that internships have been offered by the Preserve, which is operated by the Bahamas National Trust.
Experts were on hand to provide the interns with instruction in botany and plant ecology, island geology, birds and reptiles. In addition to Dr. Freid, they included geologists Dr. John and Joan Mylroie of Mississippi State University, Scott Johnson of the BNT, and wildlife biologist Joe Wasilewski of Natural Selections.
Among other things, the interns learned to recognize 100 common Bahamian plant species and helped install a new forest plot along one of the Preserve’s nature trails.
They also conducted their own research projects. Antonette focused on dune ecology and invasive species at different beaches. Brendan assessed bird diversity based on available habitat. And Rose examined forest growth in relation to weather patterns.
Their initial findings were presented at a special BNT staff meeting at the Retreat in Nassau. All three will continue their research independently with a view to presenting updated findings at the Bahamas Natural History Conference in spring 2018.
By Media Enterprises Ltd.