Marine Ecology and Sustainability

During this trip, students will have the opportunity to travel to the islands of The Bahamas for eight days. Here, students will immerse themselves in environmental, place-based education, marine ecology, and sustainable living.  Students will spend a week in Eleuthera investigating the island’s varied habitats alongside educators and researchers from The Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) while living their lives mindful of their environmental impact.

The island of Eleuthera is known for its pink sand beaches, its unspoiled natural landscape and its history as the founding island of The Bahamas. Students will experience wonder and a sense of place as they explore the coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves accessible from campus. Alongside researchers at CEI, students will have the chance to take part in ongoing research efforts to conserve the species that these habitats support. This could involve encounters with sea turtles, lionfish, stingrays, or maybe even sharks in their natural environment. The connection between developing a strong sense of place and taking action to protect that place will be a key focus of this trip. The CEI campus honors its research efforts by maintaining an ethos of sustainability. Students will spend time learning about aquaponics systems, biodiesel production, or sustainable farming and food security. Throughout the trip, students are asked to be mindful of their environmental impact while they are guests at CEI by minimizing waste, reducing electricity use and conserving water.

All interested students are encouraged to apply by March 27. Financial aid is available to all qualifying students.

Program Notes

  • Students are expected to minimize wastewater production and electricity consumption throughout their daily activities. This means that:
    • This is an “unplugged” trip where students will not have access to cell phones or internet for the duration of their time in The Bahamas.
    • Students may not bring their own snacks to the CEI campus. Most meals will be prepared by CEI in their dining hall, where the kitchen team emphasizes sustainable practices and reduction of food waste.
  • Deerfield students will live together in open-style dormitory separated by gender with several bunks per room. There is no air conditioning.
  • The Island School’s current Covid-19 mandate requires that everyone traveling to campus be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 (two dose series).
  • Depending on your nationality, a tourist visa may be required to travel to The Bahamas. Please click here to check if you will need a tourist visa to visit The Bahamas.
  • A Bahamas Travel Health Visa is required for all travelers traveling to The Bahamas.  The CSGC will help coordinate the application process.
  • Families are responsible for transportation from U.S.-based airport to the student’s final destination at the end of the trip.
  • Students and faculty leaders will update families and friends at home through our Notes From The Field blog. 

Program Dates

May 31 – June 7, 2022 

Program Eligibility

This program is open to all students with a preference towards those who have a demonstrated interest in marine ecology, sustainability and/or other environmental issues. All interested students are encouraged to apply by March 27. Financial Aid is available to all qualifying students. 

Faculty Trip Leaders

  • Heidi Valk; Toby Emerson

Approx. trip cost $3,300 (*includes estimated roundtrip airfare from NY based airport)

Deerfield Academy’s Center for Service and Global Citizenship is committed to running all of our travel programs at cost with overhead expenses subsidized by the Academy.

Helpful links

Bahamas 2
Bahamas 3

2022 Itinerary

*This itinerary is subject to change.

May 31: Depart Deerfield, and begin traveling to The Bahamas by staying overnight in a NY-based hotel

June 1: Depart on an early AM flight to Nassau and continue travel to Eleuthera.

June 2:

Typical Schedule June 2– 6 (subject to change):

  • Early morning, begin the day with group exercise, such as biking, swimming, or running.
  • Breakfast
  • Morning lab activity or ecology adventure
  • Lunch
  • Afternoon research and/or excursions around the island, such as beach clean ups, campus exploration & discussions, and more.
  • Dinner
  • Evening research tutorial/lectures and activities such as lionfish dissection, a night hike and bonfire

Other potential topics include: plastics, sustainable fisheries, food security, permaculture, aquaponics, aquaculture, tourism, coral reefs and mangrove ecology.

June 7: Fly back to NY based Airport**

** Families are responsible for transportation from U.S.-based airport to the student’s final destination at the end of the trip.

Notes From The Field

The Bahamas 2019

The Bahamas #7: Down Island

Charlie Sinnott (’21) and Zach Davis (’20) share their experience traveling Down Island on Eleuthera, visiting an ocean hole, the Bethel farm, and Navy Base Beach.

The Bahamas #8: Final Reflections on Sustainability

For 1 week, 12 students traveled to the Cape Eleuthera Institute to explore the marine ecosystems. of Eleuthera while deepening their understanding of the realities and challenges of sustainability. Here are excerpts from the students’ final reflections on sustainability. 

The Bahamas 2018

The Bahamas #7: The Ripple Effect

Bailyn Prichett (’19) & Erin Tudryn (’18) recount their last day exploring the marine environment around Eleuthera and share some take aways from the trip, including what they hope to do once back at DA.