Disney Cruise Line announced the hiring of two Bahamian experts to lead the cruise line’s environmental conservation efforts in The Bahamas, with a focus on the the Disney’s new destination project at Lighthouse Point in Eleuthera.
Bradley Watson of Nassau was named Bahamas Conservation Programs Manager and Pachancia Knowles, also a Nassau-native, was brought on as Bahamas Assistant Conservation Programs Manager. Both roles were created as part of Disney’s longstanding commitment to conservation and environmentally conscious growth within The Bahamas.
“At Disney, our approach to protecting the environment has always been centered on the idea that people are the key to meaningful and lasting conservation success,” said Dr. Andy Stamper, Conservation Science Manager with Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment. “Bradley and Pachancia’s expertise and history of work in The Bahamas will be tremendously valuable as we carry forward our commitment to people, wildlife and nature in the region. We are excited to welcome them to the Disney team.”
For the past three years, Watson championed several community-driven conservation and ecotourism projects throughout Abaco, Grand Bahama and Eleuthera as a science officer with the Bahamas National Trust. In this role, he led successful conservation efforts on both private and public lands including a monitoring programme to protect a rare species of songbird, drone mapping of vulnerable ecosystems and increasing awareness to endangered animals. As a result of these efforts and others, Watson was named The Bahamas’ National Youth Climate Ambassador earlier this year.
Watson has a passion for educating the public on the importance of environmental conservation and sustainable development projects. He has held teaching assistant and mentorship roles at various colleges and universities, conducted ecotourism guide trainings throughout The Bahamas, and served on the board of directors for the Center for Ocean Research and Education.
“I love my country, the environment and the people who live in it, and that is why I am working to develop a future where each can thrive,” said Watson. “I’m excited to join Disney Cruise Line and help facilitate sustainable economic opportunities for Bahamians while also protecting the environment so we can better prepare for the future and unlock the unlimited potential of The Bahamas.”
Knowles served as marine science officer with the Bahamas National Trust since January 2020. She was responsible for several marine monitoring and restoration programs within The Bahamas national parks, including coral reef nurseries and the Northern Mangrove Restoration Project in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
Knowles aims to inspire future generations to care for wildlife and the environment, stemming from her experiences as an educator and animal trainer. She has developed far-reaching partnerships with local organisations, government officials, educators, students, landowners, fishers, international groups and others to foster a shared sense of responsibility to protect the environment.
“I believe that everyone can make a positive impact to create a more resilient and healthier world,” Knowles said. “I look forward to my new role with Disney Cruise Line and collaborating with valued partners to support the Bahamian economy and, at the same time, celebrate and protect our region’s rich biodiversity.”
Disney Cruise Line has long been committed to The Bahamas, including its most recent ‘Wishes Set Sail’ campaign to support youth initiatives in the cruise line’s key port communities. Since its maiden voyage in 1998, Disney has introduced countless families to the beauty and spirit of The Bahamas and has provided significant economic impact while demonstrating a strong commitment to the environment and the community. Approximately 75 percent of the cruises offered by Disney have at least one stop in The Bahamas, all five of its ships are registered in The Bahamas and it is estimated that Disney Cruise Line operations currently contribute more than $70 million toward the Bahamas gross domestic product annually.
Disney Cruise Line has committed to filling all positions on Castaway Cay with Bahamians across a range of disciplines with opportunities for training and advancement. Disney has received all the necessary approvals from the Government of the Bahamas and has begun work at Lighthouse Point, which is expected to create more than 300 construction-related roles – more than doubling the number of jobs Disney Cruise Line committed to in its Heads of Agreement.