Casuarina McKinney-Lambert
2021

Casuarina McKinney-Lambert

Advocate

Guardian of the Bahamian Blue

meet casuarina

Casuarina McKinney-Lambert is the Executive Director of the Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation (BREEF), a non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting the Bahamian marine environment through hands-on education, outreach, research, and policy. She was a founding board member of One Eleuthera Foundation and Bahamas Protected Areas Fund. She serves on the Fisheries Advisory Council, the National Climate Change, Biodiversity, National Maritime Policy Committees, and on the Sustainable Development Goals Technical Committee. She is a member of the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme and the United World College National Committee in the Bahamas.

Guardian of the Bahamian Blue
Nominated by: Faanya Rose ME'94
Class of 2021 Location The Bahamas
Critically endangered Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus) gather to spawn during the winter full moons in The Bahamas
Critically endangered Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus) gather to spawn during the winter full moons in The Bahamas

I was born in an archipelagic nation of over two thousand low-lying islands surrounded by the ocean. We are particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise and the impact of increasingly strong hurricanes. The Bahamas has some of the last remaining stocks of important species, such as the critically endangered Nassau grouper and the iconic queen conch. My work is to better understand the ocean around us and to use this information to guide how we can live more sustainably, socially, economically, and environmentally.

I have spent thousands of hours underwater while exploring coral reefs, mangrove creeks, and blue holes, and have descended into underwater canyons over 780 meters deep in a submarine. I have the privilege of sharing the wonders of the Bahamian ocean with many people from different walks of life, including students, teachers, fishermen, and enforcement officers in communities throughout the islands. A public that is active and aware supports efforts to sustain the ocean that sustains us all.

“One of my favorite things is to take someone, terrified of the ocean, into the water for the first time, to be part of the transformation that occurs. It’s a huge expansion when people realize that a whole part of the planet unfamiliar to them is now accessible.”

- Casuarina McKinney-Lambert

Many Bahamians don’t know how to swim. It’s shocking to think members of my own community are missing the opportunity to experience the beautiful and diverse coral reefs firsthand. One of my favorite things is to take someone, terrified of the ocean, into the water for the first time, to be part of the transformation that occurs. It’s a huge expansion when people realize that a whole part of the planet unfamiliar to them is now accessible. Inspiring others to be environmental stewards is definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of my work

never stop exploring

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