The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) continued their transition back to in-person events with the return of the Ashore fundraiser in benefit of the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park (ECLSP), hosted last weekend in Staniel Cay, Exuma. The ECLSP is the world’s first – and oldest – land and sea park, and one of 32 national parks managed by the BNT. It has been a paradigm for marine protected areas (MPAs) globally. The BNT created the Ashore event to celebrate this world-class national park and to have a fundraising event dedicated to garnering support for it. The first and only Ashore was held back in 2019, prior to the pandemic.
Ashore 2022 was a huge success, raising nearly $100,000 to support the urgent purchase and installation of an upgraded fuel storage system for the park’s headquarters on Warderick Wells.
This fuel system is critical to the operations of the Exuma Park, and will provide fuel for patrol vessels, generators, and other equipment that is essential to the effective management and protection of this remarkably special national park. Guests of Ashore enjoyed an island-style cocktail reception at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club with an open bar provisioned by Sands Beer and Jimmy’s Wines & Spirits, hors d’oeuvres, and live music.
Along with the opportunity to pledge support of the park’s critical funding need directly, event-goers had the opportunity to further support the cause by purchasing exclusive merchandise and participating in a raffle drawing. The Ashore Super Raffle meant that there was one major prize at stake: two roundtrip tickets onboard Makers Air, for an Exuma Park Safari granting guests a one-of-a-kind experience with Park Wardens, travelling on patrol vessels, engaging in citizen science activities, and staying overnight at the Park Rangers’ Station, among other fantastic swag to complete the package.
BNT Executive Director Eric Carey said, “This event has proven how beloved the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park is, for good reason. It’s beautiful in every way and protects some of the most diverse and important marine species in The Bahamas. It was amazing to be in the company of so many friends and supporters who love the ECLSP, and our wonderful staff who volunteered their time and effort because they understand the need to protect this precious haven of marine biodiversity. We cannot say thanks enough to everyone who made this event a success, and we look forward to our Ashore Treasure Hunt and Beach Party later this year.”
Ashore was originally planned as a two-part event, beginning with a treasure hunt on the seas taking participants from cay-to-cay, as in years past. Due to inclement weather predictions, the daytime part of the event was postponed until further notice. A new date for the Ashore Treasure Hunt and Sands Beer Beach Party will be announced as soon as possible.
The BNT thanks everyone who attended Ashore 2022 and supported the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, especially those who made special efforts to travel in from the United States, New Providence, and surrounding cays within the Exuma chain of islands.
To learn more about the role the BNT plays to manage national parks, protect species that inhabit them, and inform environmental policy, please visit its website: http://www.bnt.bs and follow/subscribe to various social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.