Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hol Chan Reef Fest week-long activities include adopting Esmeralda Park

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The 2023 Hol Chan Marine Reserve Reef Fest is currently underway. It started on Monday, May 22nd, and it will end on Saturday, May 27th, with a Reef Fest fair and kayak race at the Boca del Rio beach park. Besides the yearly activities such as the puppet show and trivia competition, among others, this year, the fest included the adoption of the Esmeralda Park in downtown San Pedro.
The annual educational festivity is celebrated under the theme ‘Collectively Advocating and Safeguarding our Marine Resources through Research and Education.’ On Monday, May 22nd, the fest opened with ‘Run for the Reef’ at 6AM from central park. Another activity on Monday included a Reef Scavenger Hunt, which saw several lucky winners.

The other events that have taken place so far include a puppet show featuring Ozzie, the clown who entertained pre-schoolers at the Lions Den on Barrier Reef Drive on Tuesday. On Wednesday, a training on sea turtle nesting monitoring was shared with high school students.

One anticipated event was the annual primary school trivia competition on Thursday, May 25th, at the Lions Den. Several students across the island, including Caye Caulker, participated in the educational competition. According to the Hol Chan management, the students were tested on their knowledge of topics such as marine reserves in Belize, coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass ecosystems. They were also tested on Belize Fisheries Regulations, climate change, and other important topics. At the end of the intense competition, Christian Anderson of Ambergris Caye Elementary took third place, a Chromebook laptop, and an award. In second place was Justin Quiroz from San Pedro Roman Catholic School, who also took home a Chromebook laptop, $250, and an award. Devin Cartagena from Holy Cross Anglican School took first place at this year’s trivia along with a Chromebook laptop, a printer, a year of tuition assistance for high school valued at $1,000, and an award.

Later that day, Hol Chan officially adopted Esmeralda Park next to the San Pedro Public Library in a short ceremony. Hol Chan’s Executive Director Ian Pou commended stakeholders like Searious Adventures, who have looked after the park. The park by the beach and across from the Roman Catholic primary school has seen its fence and picnic tables recently painted. Pou committed that the public area will receive further attention under their care.
Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez joined Hol Chan and acknowledged all the stakeholders supporting this year’s fest. Perez said Esmeralda Park is meaningful for islanders, particularly children, and students, who use it for leisure and family time. The short ceremony also included a vote of thanks from Deputy Mayor Johnnia Duarte, followed by an official ribbon cutting making the park adoption official. Invited guests were then served refreshments.

Activities continue Friday, May 26th, with a décor and slogan competition at the San Pedro High School and movie night at Central Park starting at 6PM. The week will culminate with a fair and kayak race on Saturday, May 27th, at Boca del Rio beach park.

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