2019 Kids in Action end weekly field trips with a clean-up

Friday, November 1st, 2019

The 2019 Kids in Action (KIA) weekly field trips came to an end with a clean-up activity at the Mosquito Coast Park located south of San Pedro Town on Saturday, October 26th. Every Saturday for the past three months, KIA members participated in educational field trips, visiting various ecosystems on Ambergris Caye to appreciate and learn to preserve and protect the environment and marine life even more.
At 1PM, the KIA met at Belize Diving Adventures Dive Shop for a short briefing with their instructor, and after that headed on a boat to Mosquito Coast Park on a boat. During the clean-up, the kids collected plastic bags, pieces Styrofoam, caps/stoppers, plastic bottles among other debris harmful for the environment. After the clean-up, KIA members got enjoy a delicious lunch and tasty snacks. This was followed by a much-deserved plunge into the water.
A KIA member shared with The San Pedro Sun that he is proud and happy to be part of this program. “I have learned so much since I became part of this program during summer. I’m now a certified diver and have learned the importance of protecting our environment and marine life. This group has been one of best things I have been part of. I’ve had so much fun while getting educated. I Hope to continue learning, as well as sharing with my other friends and family why we should take pride and responsibility in preserving our environment,” said a KIA member.
KIA instructor Brittney Garbutt also enjoyed the KIA trips and activities. “The trips went really well, we are very proud of the outcome. The participants got to learn and see things they never would have if they hadn’t taken the plunge! For many of them, these adventures will be remembered for a lifetime, like seeing a manatee face to face for the first time! The knowledge they gained is priceless. We’re proud to call it a success.”
Throughout the various field trips, KIA children 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. They further visited several parts of Hol Chan Marine Reserve such as Mexico Rocks, which became a part of the reserve in 2015, with Zone G designated as the Mexico Rocks General Use Area for snorkeling and Zone H as a no-take zone. At the area KIA members got to snorkel, learn about the abundant coral formations and other marine life they encountered. Some even got to free dive into an underwater cenote; testing their skills and lung capacities as divers. Another area visited was Zone C of Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is a mangrove island located south of Ambergris Caye. The children got to see mangroves up close, learn the different types that exist and what their role is in protecting shorelines from storms, hurricane winds, waves, and floods. Mangroves are essential as they further help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems, while maintaining water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land. Other places visited during the three months of the field trips was North Caye Caulker Channel where children got to see manatees, Shark Ray Alley, Hol Chan Marine Reserve Zone B (Seagrass bed areas), San Pedro Tour Operators Association’s (SPTOA) coral nursery among other interesting areas of Ambergris Caye. After each educational trip, the children took a short exam testing their knowledge on what they learned.
Kids in Action is a diving program that has been around for a decade now and certifies 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). Thanks to this amazing program, this year there are 38 newly certified divers on Ambergris Caye.
Special thanks go out to Access to Better Opportunity, Reef Adventures, Belize Diving Adventures and SPTOA for sponsoring the trips, Mr. Ched Cabral who has been the boat captain for the past three months, 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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