The BERC (Bahamas Environmental Research Centre)

The Bahamas Environmental Research Centre opened in 1995, as a collaborative effort of The College of The Bahamas, George Mason University in Virginia, USA, and the people of Andros.

The BERC’s primary objective is to promote an understanding of current ecological issues. We define ecology in the broad sense to include all of the relationships between the biotic (living organisms), including humans, and the abiotic (physical) components of the environment in which we live.

The BERC, an integral part of the community, provides laboratory, classrooms, and field support—terrestrial and marine for academic and interpretative programmes. These programmes allow experiential, activity-based learning in many disciplines, with an appropriate emphasis on local, cultural and interdisciplinary focus. The BERC is a campus in the real world. The BERC also provides support for the work of independent researchers in a multitude of discipline, as well as student-faculty-community research collaboration. The extensive natural wonders of Andros Island, coupled with the rich cultural heritage of its people, lend the island to be used as a natural entrée to interrelationships between fields as disparate as the sciences, women studies, community studies and libraries, religion and recreation.

The BERC has an important commitment to the island and people of Andros. As a research centre it has as a mandate - the responsibility to create, facilitate and support programmes and projects that lead to sustainable development in Andros and the rest of the Bahamas through community based initiatives (libraries, continuous education) and support of local and national institutions (ANCAT, Schools, College of The Bahamas Academic and research Programmes).

As a means to achieve sustainability, among other intentions, The BERC intends to:

  • Create a hub and repository of all research and information pertaining to all of Andros
  • Find ways of disseminating information through a variety of means including formal classes and outreach programmes
  • Extend its field-based classes to many communities on Andros
  • To provide the necessary supports for further inquiries through research, technology and education
  • Assist with providing support for environmental education with ANCAT

 

The college of the Bahamas closed the BERC program in 2008.