BNT Participates in Staff Exchange with the US National Park Service

BNT Participates in Staff Exchange with the US National Park Service

December 6th, 2023 – Nassau, The Bahamas

The Bahamas National Trust’s (BNT) Education Department recently participated in a dynamic six-day exchange initiative with the US National Park Service (NPS).

The seven-member team visited the renowned Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Reserve, and the Biscayne National Park in South Florida.

The strategic trip included meetings with park officials and deep dives into national park education, interpretation, volunteer program optimization, and conceptual planning – tools which will be useful as the BNT develops their Strategic Plan for the next five years.

During the immersive exchange, the BNT team toured various national park facilities, and examined educational and interpretive programs present at the three parks. This aspect was particularly useful as the organization prioritizes developing infrastructure for priority national parks in its long-term planning.

The group also got hands-on and participated in the ecological practice of “slogging” in the sloughs. A slough, pronounced “sloo,” is a type of wetland characterized by its slow-moving or stagnant water. They provide habitats for many different species of animals and plants and are common in South Florida. This experience provided them with invaluable firsthand insights into the unique ecology of these remarkable ecosystems.

BNT Director of Education Portia Sweeting said, “In The Bahamas, our national parks are important outdoor classrooms for understanding our island ecosystems, and the role they play as habitats for fisheries and spaces for nature tourism and recreation.  By visiting these South Florida national parks that share similar environments with many of ours, we can reflect on the interpretive experiences they  provide and how we can incorporate similar ones at our parks.”

At the height of the exchange, the BNT group attended the Big Cypress Swamp Heritage Festival. This event served as an invaluable outreach opportunity and allowed the team members to engage with the local community and gather additional perspectives on environmental stewardship.

Reflecting on the overall trip, Sweeting described it as “a confluence of insightful, inspiring, and highly productive endeavours.”

“Our team now feels invigorated and ready to design and implement exciting and fun plans and activities for our Bahamian national parks,” she added.

This experience with the NPS further solidified the BNT’s commitment to continuous learning and collaboration in environmental education; to support its dedication to effectively managing Bahamian national parks for the benefit and enjoyment of Bahamians.

The Bahamas National Trust and the US National Park Service enjoy a strong and collaborative partnership of more than 60 years. The latter is one of the original scientific institutions that serves as a part of the BNT’s governing council. The two organizations have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dedicated to sharing planning and designs for the development of protected areas; examining the role of national parks in promoting economic development  through tourism; and developing methods to increase community support for protected areas.

This exchange was made possible through The Bahamas Ministry of Education’s “Education Good Practice Award,” granted to the BNT for the impact of its outstanding and innovative Environmental Education Programs. The award supports training opportunities for educators who support the Ministry of Education’s curriculum goals.

To learn more about the role the BNT plays in managing terrestrial and marine national parks, conserving wildlife, and informing environmental policy, please visit its website: and follow/subscribe to its various social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.


Media Contact: Leah Carr | | (242) 429-7902

About the BNT:

The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959 to build and manage the national park system of The Bahamas. Possibly the only non-governmental organization in the world charged with such a responsibility, the BNT works daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas through science, stewardship and education for present and future generations. There are currently 33 National Parks managed by the BNT with more than 2 million acres of marine and terrestrial areas protected.

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