Bradley Rutherford knows his mangroves. And his turtles, barracudas, kayaks, caves, estuaries, needlefish, sharks and much more! And if you can’t find him at the water’s edge on Grand Bahama island he’s probably nearby somewhere filling up a garbage bag with the litter that other’s left on the trail or taking care of the home that he loves.
His work with container ships as a younger man prepared him for a long run as a tour guide for Grand Bahama Nature Tours. For over 10 years he guided tourists in kayaks through the mangrove tunnels of Lucayan National Park. This part of Grand Bahama island is an important and precious ecosystems of the greater Bahamas.
Currently, Bradley works for the government of the Bahamas in the Department of Marine Resources in their Fisheries department.
Cradle of Life
His kayaking tours introduced people from all over the world to the beautiful and important ecosystems that comprise the Bahamas. Along the way, he gently but passionately reminds everyone that these systems that make up the Bahamas and many other island groups in the Atlantic and the Caribbean, are critical to biodiversity and to the survival of a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Seeing Clearly… 60 Feet Down
Bradley’s passion for enjoying, protecting and sharing the wonders of the Bahama’s comes through in everything he says. He can’t help but pick up trash. He can’t help but explain the importance of the mangroves to the protection of the islands and he can’t help but to share it all with anyone he comes in contact with . He’s now started his own YouTube channel called Brad’s Bahama Eco Tour
Mangroves: Second Line of Defense
Mangroves are essential to the Bahamas. Bradley calls them the second line of defense. Which means that after the coral reefs, mangrove forests are critical to the protection of the islands from storms, erosion and of course hurricanes. He talks about over 80 species of mangroves and how their interlocking roots forms the foundations of building up the land.
80 % of the Economy Related to Tourism
To say that Dorian was devastating is a gross understatement. Lucayan National Park, where Bradley led his tours lost all of its mangroves. These critical forests won’t come back for decades.
Bradley is undeterred despite the destruction of hurricane Dorian and continues to make videos for his YouTube channel, share his passion for his environment with others and educate everyone on the importance of biodiversity.
It’s a conversation full of a host of new terms for me including: coppice, key, and let’s not forget zooxanthellae!
Passion to Take Action
Brad likes to point out that many non-profit groups are actively involved with preserving the natural beauty of the Bahamas including Save the Bays. He rallied a group of friends to pick up 100 bags of trash within a year and continues to teach others every chance he gets. It’s a conversation that’s full of wonder, knowledge and inspiration.
3 x 3 Main Street Challenge
We’re going to Sausalito, CA in the San Francisco Bay area and we’re starting at Mauler Bikes at 215 Main Street. Which is a great place where you can buy a bike that gets over 150 miles to the gallon and will save your sanity and your pocketbook for your commute. Then a half mile north (3 minutes) on Bridgeway road is Yee Tok Chee Park perched right there on the magnificent bay. Just about 20 minutes away is the awe-inspiring, magical and must-see Muir Woods National Monument, home of a grove of giant coastal redwood trees.
Then we look at our maps and ask, “What’s 3 hours away?” And that answer is Big Sur, Big Sur and Big Sur. Take one of the most beautiful drives in all the world along Highway 1 and spend sometime in the iconic coastal gem known as Big Sur.
Where Art Meets Nature with DJ Shark featuring Cat Stevens
Too much to say about Cat Stevens also known as Yusuf. It’s iconic. It’s important. And it’s still relevant.
No Planet B
Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease is ravaging our coral and our coasts and much of the areas along SE Florida and the Bahamas. We’ll take a look at this important issue and discuss how you can get involved.
Several groups that you can contact for more information include: The Southeast Florida Action Network and Atlantic and Gulf Rapid Reef Assessment group.