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History of FRIENDS

1988 FRIENDS founded in Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas by a small group of Hope Town residents; namely, Rudy Malone, Suzanne Bethel, Candace Key and Frank Kenyon, who were concerned about the local and visitor practice of taking undersized crawfish.

1989 FRIENDS Charter signed by an eight-member Board of Directors. It states: The Friends of the Environment has been formed as a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and awareness of the fragility of our environment here on Elbow Cay and the surroundings cays and waters.

1991 Educational environmental programs brought to schools and communities in Marsh Harbour, Man-O-War and Hope Town.

2001 First Reef Ball is held at the Great Abaco Beach Hotel Pavilion.

2003 Board Members hold Restructure Meeting. Agenda highlights: establish a Marsh Harbour office in conjunction with the Abaco Chamber of Commerce, hire a secretary, include members from outside Elbow Cay, develop community structure to encourage active participants from the outer cays.

FRIENDS becomes A Partner in Progress with The Nature Conservancy; one of the world’s leading environmental organizations.

2005 Lindsey Delaplaine becomes first Executive Director.

2006 FRIENDS receives two year grant from the MacTaggart Fund to start Education Program. Olivia Patterson hired as Program Coordinator.

2007 d’Shan Maycock hired as FRIENDS Education Officer. First FRIENDS Board Member & Staff Retreat held at the Bluff House on Green Turtle Cay. FRIENDS moves into the new Education Centre in Marsh Harbour.

2008 Lindsey Delaplaine McCoy steps down as ED after the birth of her child, Kristin Williams hired as FRIENDS’ new Executive Director.

2009 FRIENDS’ Education Officer trained as a RARE Pride Campaign manager and FRIENDS launches “Size Matter” campaign to increase the Spiny Lobster population in Abaco by reducing the harvesting of undersized spiny lobsters during open and closed seasons.

2011 Longtime Office Manager Anita Knowles retires, later that year Ruth Albury is hired for the position.  Lindsey McCoy returns to staff as Special Projects Manager.

2012 Grand “re-opening” of FRIENDS Nature Trail adjacent to the education center in Marsh Harbour.

2013 Local Abaconian Cassandra Abraham hired as FRIENDS’ new Education Officer.

2014 Construction began for new research center and solar installation. Cha Boyce joins staff as Events Coordinator, and FRIENDS intern A.J. McIntosh joins staff as Program Assistant.

2015 Frank Kenyon Centre for Research, Education, and Conservation opens! Abaco gains four new national parks!

2016 FRIENDS partners with National Geographic Expedition to map Abaco blue holes.

2017 Lianna Burrows hired as Education Officer.

2018 Celebrating 30th Anniversary of FRIENDS!

2019 Hurricane Dorian strikes Abaco. Education Centre damaged irreparably and FRIENDS begins recovery process. 

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