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Dolphin Program

Dolphin Program

“Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.” ~ B.F. Skinner, American Educator, 1904-1998

About the BIMI Dolphin Program

The Dolphin program is a structured week-long residential program where students learn about the island’s ecology and history and participate in recreational activities uniquely suited to the island. The program’s goal is to promote the development of the students’ interdisciplinary skills such as communication, self-confidence, and leadership capacity while they gain knowledge about ecology, sustainability and overarching scientific principles.

BIMI’s has sponsored the Dolphin Program (named for Eileen Dolphin) for over 10 years. Prior to 2018, the Dolphin Program sponsored school groups from inner city schools around the Northeast. During the summer of 2018, BIMI hosted students from College Crusade for the first time. The College Crusade serves a group of schools throughout Rhode Island that traditionally have low college attendance rates. The first week-long program with the College Crusade was a huge success and for two years we exclusively sponsored students that were part of the College Crusade. We have decided to expand this program to other schools in upcoming years and are offering more flexible options for schools and their students.

During the summer of 2021, BIMI will not have any residential  program due to complications with planning during the COVID crisis. We hope to resume this program in the fall of 2021.

Dolphin Program Curriculum

The curriculum used for the College Crusade students focuses on the anchor problem: “In what ways can people help sustain ecosystem function and biodiversity on Block Island?” Throughout the week the anchor problem is addressed through participation in a variety of activities with BIMI including a harbor tour discussing the ecology of the Great Salt Pond; water quality testing; plankton tows; exploration of the docks and Andy’s Way; and a beach clean-up and marine debris tally.Students also tour the Block Island Historical Society and discuss the anthropogenic changes to the island’s ecosystem since the time of indigenous settlement. Students also attend bird banding with Kim Gaffett of The Nature Conservancy where they further discuss more recent human impact to island ecology. Throughout the activities during the week-long program, they are encouraged to ask questions as well as create and participate in their own explorations. The students enjoy recreational activities including the Fishing Academy, kayaking with Pond and Beyond or Ocean Adventures’ paddle boarding, visiting the buffs and swimming at the beach. Recreational activities are also used as a springboard for evaluating human impact and sustainability on the island.

The week-long program culminates in the students each presenting a solution to the anchor problem. Past solutions have been varied. Past examples of these solutions include community activism such as beach clean-ups and lobbying their political representatives to better regulate trash; starting their own educational programs; banning all disposable containers, etc. Many of the students have reported that they were not aware of the extent of the problems addressed during the week. After their participation in the week-long program, their resulting enthusiasm for creating solutions to the environmental degradation is quite impressive.

If you or your school is interested in participating in the Dolphin Program, please contact Valerie Preler, Program Director at BIMI02807@gmailcom. 

Fr. Robert Sandoz of Christ the King Prep in Newark, NJ, put it this way: “It was life-changing for the students. The impact will be with them forever. BIMI’s Program opened up thoughts and considerations that our students would never have.”

Help BIMI with a Tax Deductible Gift

Your contributions allow BIMI to provide quality maritime programs and offer its Dolphin Kids a memorable Block Island experience.

Consider making a donation to BIMI today at BIMI is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.