2019 Kids in Action continue to learn about the environment and ecosystems of Ambergris Caye
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
Every Saturday for the past month, 2019 Kids in Action (KIA) have been participating in educational trips, learning the importance of protecting and preserving the environment and marine life of Ambergris Caye. On Saturday, September 14th, the KIA children had the opportunity to explore and learn about the Mexico Rocks Marine Reserve, located inside the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
At 1PM KIA members met at Belize Diving Adventures Dive Shop for a short briefing with their instructor Brittney Garbutt, and after that headed on a boat to Mexico Rocks Marine Reserve. Mexico Rocks became a part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in 2015, with Zone G designated as the Mexico Rocks General Use Area for snorkeling and Zone H as a no-take zone. KIA members got to snorkel this area, learning about the abundant coral formations and other marine life they encountered. Also, most of them got to free dive down into an underwater cenote; testing their skills and lung capacities as divers. After the educational trip, the children took a short exam testing their knowledge on what they learned.
KIA children have also visited a littoral forest located behind the island. Also known as coastal forest, it is a special ecosystem and unique habitat, especially for birds. It contains a mix of hardy trees and shrubs, with vegetation types including both ‘caye forest’ and ‘beach thicket,’ with herbaceous ground-cover plants supported by a seasonal succession of fruits and berries. Vines on the upper beach transition into woody shrubs with a relatively open canopy of salt-tolerant trees. These forests and scrubs bear the brunt of the storm winds, often showing stunted growth forms in the most exposed locations. They also provide excellent habitat for migratory birds. The KIA members learned about the plants, particularly if they were edible or medicinal, and they got to test their eyesight in bird spotting as well. They have further visited San Pedro Tour Operators Association’s (SPTOA) coral nursery located in front of the island and learned about the importance of mangrove trees and seagrass beds on Ambergris Caye. Site visits are repeated at least twice, so everyone has a chance to go in case they missed the first time.
KIA is an annual diving program that has been around for a decade now and certifies, free of charge, young divers so that they can better appreciate the natural marine resources surrounding Ambergris Caye. It is organized by SPTOA in collaboration with the San Pedro Tourist Guide Association (SPTGA).
Every member of KIA is a certified diver, and these educational trips are scheduled for every Saturday.
Special thanks go out to Access to Better Opportunity, Reef Adventures, Belize Diving Adventures and SPTOA for sponsoring the trip, Mr. Ched Cabral who was the boat captain, Brittney Garbutt, and SPTOA President Everette Anderson for educating the children, and the parents for allowing their child be part of this fun and educational trip. Anyone interested in partnering with SPTOA’s environmental projects can contact Anderson at 600-4856. For more information on the great work SPTOA is doing on the island, you can visit their Facebook page or their website at www.sanpedrotouroperators.com.
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