If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering. Aldo Leopold, Round River, 1993.
Reef Relief Hosts Grand Opening of Captain Roland Roberts House Environmental Center
Reef Relief, in cooperation with the Architectural Preservation Foundation of Green Turtle Cay, held the opening reception for the Capt. Roland Roberts House Environmental Center in New Plymouth, Green Turtle Cay, Abacos, Bahamas, on March 28, 2003, followed by an open house on Saturday, March 29. New Plymouth is the sister city to Key West, where Reef Relief is headquartered.
Reef Relief is operating the center as a public educational facility to increase awareness and support for protecting coral reefs in this fast growing area of the Bahamas. The Center is now open to the public on a daily basis from 8am to 5pm Monday through Saturday and all are welcome to visit it to tour the historic house and learn about coral reefs and how to protect them.
Craig and DeeVon Quirolo of Reef Relief were on hand to launch the new center. "We are grateful for the opportunity to utilize the Captain Roland Roberts House for environmental education and appreciate having this facility to support our coral reef conservation programs in the Bahamas. This project was made possible through the support of the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund. We would also like to thank the following supporters: Continental Airlines/Gulfstream International, Peter Anderson of the Conch Republic, Jennifer Stahl Memorial Fund, Linda Jennings Odum, Hartis E. Pinder Esq., David L. Bethel, Drs. Karen & Jim Porter, Chris Morejon, Strunk Lumber, U-Haul Truck Rental, Pat Green, Sally Ansey, Jackie Patrick, Lana Williams, Larry and Phillip Livesey, Maria Schrack and the students of Amy Roberts Elementary School, Mandy & Dale Roberts and Roger and Lynn Race.
The center features a classroom, children's activity room, library, offices and facilities for visiting researchers and speakers. It will support Reef Relief's marine projects in the area that includes maintenance of 18 reef mooring buoys to prevent anchor damage to the reef, a coral photo-monitoring survey, and a coral nursery to salvage storm-damaged corals.
The newly-restored building is circa 1840 and it has been meticulously and historically restored during the past two years and is now open and operated by Reef Relief in cooperation with the Architectural Preservation Foundation of Green Turtle Cay. The house represents classic Bahamian architecture with full upstairs and downstairs front and rear balconies, sash windows, wooden construction, and storm shutters on all windows.
During the opening reception, guests included Mr.George Mackey and Ms. Andrea Major from the National Museum of the Bahamas, and Wynsome Ferguson and others from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism. Mr. Mackey was a keynote speaker as well and ran an article in the Nassau Tribune about the project. Guests included Drs. James and Karen Porter of the Reef Relief Scientific Advisory Board and University of Georgia, Sir Peter Anderson of the Conch Republic, Dink Bruce, and Joyce Stahl, who flew over from New Plymouth's sister city, Key West, for the opening ceremony. Scott Roberts, of the Architectural Preservation Foundation that took the lead in obtaining and restoring the Capt. Roland Roberts House Environmental Center, delivered the opening remarks at the grand opening.
A volunteer docent program has been set up so that volunteers can work one half day per week to help visitors tour the center and learn about coral reefs. An education advisory board is being established to design educational programs for children. A native landscaping project will be started to plant native bushes and trees in the yard of the house.
Capt Roberts House Hosts Island Roots Festival.
DeeVon on stage at Island Roots Ceremony.
School Class From Nassau.
Nassau school group.
Inside Capt Roberts House.
Maria Schrack's class visits Capt Roberts.
Craig Quirolo & Visitors at Captain Robert's House. (click picture to enlarge)