Forfar Field Station, Bahamas
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Forfar Field Station is a research facility of the nonprofit International Field Studies, Inc located in North Blanket Sound, Andros Island in the Bahamas. Forfar allows students of middle school, high school, college (graduate and undergraduate), as well as teachers and adults to experience the cultural and geographical wonders of Andros Island. Forfar Field Station is part of a non profit organization known as International Field Studies or IFS. It is named for Archie Forfar, a Canadian who lived on Andros in the 1960s and died there in 1971 attempting to break the world record for depth on scuba.
IFS offers trips that range in length from one week to one semester, subjects such as marine biology, botany, ornithology, geology, archaeology, oceanography, or ichthyology can be covered individually in areas of specialization or comprehensively in a broad overview of subtropical ecology. During a stay at Forfar, one studies through a variety of hands on experiences. The courses are usually a week in duration from Sunday to Saturday.
Days are categorized by land trips or water trips. As the name suggests, water trips consist of taking a boat or van to a snorkel site, snorkeling all morning with generally a picnic lunch on a beach of some small island near the site. Snorkel sites can be to cays (pronounced keys), oceanic blue holes, and patch reefs (e.g. Pigeon Cay, Rat Cay and Dave's Patch Reef). Land trips are by bus to the nearby towns, communities, and the occasional inland blue hole (e.g. Fresh Creek, Conch Sound, Uncle Charlie's Blue Hole and Churches Blue Hole)
IFS believes an interdisciplinary approach to learning is especially well suited to the field studies environment. IFS functions as a facilitator for educational groups (ranging from middle school to graduate level college students) seeking expertise and logistical support. IFS also facilities research by assisting researchers with their logistical needs on Andros.
Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas but is sparsely populated (7,300 inhabitants). It is undeveloped which enhances the environmental uniqueness of the island. Located off the east coast of the island is the third largest barrier reef in the world and the Tongue of the Ocean. Home to different plant communities and a wide variety of endemic plants and animals. Geologists are attracted to many features in the Bahamas, including the thick limestone foundation of the islands dramatically cut by deep channels. Andros is known for its 178 inland and 50 oceanic blue holes.