- Project name: Empowering youth through coral conservation
- Project site: Bahamas
- EDGE species: Pillar coral Dendrogyra cylindrus
- Active: 2012 - 2014
Since the beginning of her EDGE Fellowship Nikita has been developing her non-profit organisation, Young Marine Explorers (YME), directing her energy towards the development of marine education and outreach activities for school children in the Bahamas.
She has an MSc in Biodiversity, Wildlife and Ecosystem Health undertaken through distance learning at the University of Edinburgh.
During her Fellowship Nikita’s project aimed to increase awareness of the marine environment in the Bahamas using an EDGE coral as a key species. She undertook the below objectives to achieve this goal:
- Compile critical baseline information on the population density, distribution and size frequency distribution of the pillar coral;
- Engage local youth through coral-focused summer camps and by training selected individuals as Marine Environmental Ambassadors and PADI SCUBA divers to assist in underwater research and community outreach;
- Motivate local, national and international desire and action to protect Caribbean coral reefs through cultural and technological outreach activities.
- Nikita received the Nicole Avant Award for Science 2013 (former US Ambassador to the Bahamas) for dedication and hard work in the field of Marine Biology
- She was recognised in the Forty under Forty The Bahamas 40th Independence Bridge to the Future 2013 – a list of 40 Bahamians under 40 who will make a difference for the Bahamas within the next 40 years
- She received the Women’s Youth Leadership Award at the Women’s Empowerment Summit 2011, Bahamas
- She attended the International Visitor Leadership Program’s “Contemporary Issues Confronting Small Island Nations” summit 2012