The Nature Conservancy named Block Island “one of the last great places on earth.” One reason for this is Block Island’s Great Salt Pond, where the Block Island Maritime Institute has operated for nearly two decades.
BIMI was founded in 1997, when a group of right-thinking summer and year-round residents came together to purchase the historic Smuggler’s Cove in the Great Salt Pond which was in danger of being sold to a developer. BIMI has successfully operated since then by providing maritime-related programs for children and adults from its location on the edge of the Great Salt Pond.
BIMI is a Maritime Institute for two reasons: Block Island is maritime land surrounded by the Atlantic where maritime sea creatures such as fish, shellfish and sea grasses live and thrive. BIMI’s mission is to provide educational programs and maritime activities including aquaculture and marine science and maritime heritage for residents and visitors on Block Island.
BIMI Board Member Susan Park Weissman put it this way:
“I think we can capitalize on the metaphor of the double ender going both ways as representing BIMI’s role in preserving Block Island’s history, but also educating for the future.
I see our vision as protecting Block Island from the homogenization that is happening in our society by providing opportunities for all ages to learn and identify with BI’s unique characteristics, particularly those things related to the sea: aquaculture, sailing and fishing. People come to the island to reach out for “roots” they don’t find at home; BIMI has created a venue for educating children and adults with opportunities to participate in BI’s maritime culture.”