ALANNAH Vellacott with the article celebrating her work in Essence magazine.
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
ALANNAH Vellacott, a Bahamian marine scientist and conservationist, has been featured in Essence Magazine for her work, passion, and dedication to ocean preservation.
The article, titled 'The Real Little Mermaid,' was written by Janna A Zinzi and published in the September-October issue of Essence.
Vellacott, 33, is a coral restoration specialist at Coral Vita, the world's first land-based coral farm for reef restoration. She is from Grand Bahama and grew up with a love for nature and the ocean.
Vellacott was surprised when Zinzi, who visited Coral Vita to learn more about their work, decided to write a second story about her. The two women bonded over their shared love for the ocean and kept in touch.
When Essence accepted Zinzi's story, Vellacott was excited to learn that her life's story would be featured in a magazine that highlights African-American women.
Growing up, Alannah remembers always seeing her mother reading Essence magazine at their home.
“I have fond memories of it,” she said. “Whenever there was a new Essence Magazine out, she would go to the food store and pick up the magazine.”
Vellacott's work involves underwater field operations, conducting reef health surveys, identifying corals, scouting areas that need rehabilitation, and monitoring areas that they are currently restoring.
She also hosts school tours at Coral Vita and goes into schools to talk about coral reefs and marine ecosystems.
Vellacott's parents greatly influenced her love for the ocean. Her father was an avid underwater enthusiast and her mother was a humanitarian. She is a trained diver of 17 years and a dive instructor. She has also worked as an underwater model and appeared as a diver in the docu-series, Enslaved.
Through her upbringing in the community of Queens Cove, adjacent to Hawksbill Creek, one of the largest mangrove creek systems situated on Grand Bahama’s north shore, Vellacott developed a keen interest in nature and the ocean, playing in those mangroves.
Vellacott received a scholarship from the Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation and attended the Bahamas Environmental Steward Scholars (BES) programme at the Island School in Eleuthera.
She believes that people's choices can either help or hurt the environment.
Vellacott emphasises that Bahamians must understand that they are caretakers of what God has given them. She believes that climate change is threatening our existence, but together people can make a change.
She urges people to never give up on their passion, encouraging them to continue taking steps towards achieving their goals.