According to Mariela Archer, Environmental Educator at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and main coordinator for the 2014 Reef Week activities, the theme will emphasize the importance and the urgent need to further protect the reef so that future generations can enjoy what we currently have.
Events for Reef Week will kick off with the two-day Lagoon- Reef Eco Challenge scheduled for May 10th and 11th. The challenge itself highlights the importance of the island’s eco-system to the marine environment. Activities continue on Monday May 12th with a coastal and waterways cleanup campaign in the town core beach. Archer said that several stakeholders such as schools, tour operators and guides as well as the San Pedro Town Council have been invited to join in this event.
On Tuesday May 13th, Hol Chan Marine Reserve officials will release Ellen, the stranded sea turtle that was brought from Placencia in March, into its natural habitat. This will be witnessed by a contingency of media personalities, aimed to create awareness of the importance of protecting the endangered Loggerhead sea turtle in Belize.
On Wednesday May 14th, primary school students from Caye Caulker and San Pedro Town will participate in the annual Reef Week Trivia Competition. Schools from both islands have been invited to submit the names of two students for the competition. The competition will test the participants’ knowledge about the reef.
Activities will then continue on Thursday May 15th with the annual Marine Fair starting at 9:30 AM at the San Pedro Central Park. The main highlight of the Marine Fair is the “Art from Trash” and Nature Photograph competitions with the participation of students from San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker Village. In addition, several organizations have been invited to set up educational booths to target the local populace about the work they do to help protect the reef and the environment.
On Friday May 16th, Hol Chan Marine Reserve will be taking a few teachers for a trip to Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve to coincide with Teacher’s Day celebration. Activities will culminate on Saturday May 17th with a second cleanup exercise, this time, along the turtle nesting beach in the Robbles Area and Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve beach.
The theme was selected from a competition held earlier this year. The winning submission came from Betty Alpuche of San Pedro Roman Catholic School. Chosen from over 50 entries from four different schools, Alpuche’s winning submission, won her a trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, (including a picnic for her entire class).
Archer explained that the events, which are organized by Hol Chan Marine Reserve on Ambergris Caye, are opened to the public. She also took the opportunity to thank all the schools that participated in the Reef Week Theme competition as well as those who have confirmed their participation in other events. To find out more about Reef Week 2014 and how you can participate in the various activities, you can contact Hol Chan Marine Reserve at 226-2247 or 226-2420.