Smith College Coral Reef Ed-Ventures celebrates 20th Anniversary with a Campers Gala in San Pedro

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

Smith College and Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR) held a Campers Gala to celebrate 20 years of the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Summer Program  at Palapa Bar and Grill in San Pedro Town on Friday, June 28th. The event saw the attendance of past campers, students and professors of Smith College, the staff of HCMR, and other guests.


Coral Reef Ed-Ventures has been operating on the island for 20 years and is organized by students from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts USA, with assistance from HCMR. The participants are separated into two groups. Juniors, aged 6-12, and advanced, aged 12-18. During the camp, children learn about ecologic conservation and the Belize Barrier Reef. The Smith College students use several teaching strategies and techniques to bring across the message of how important it is to protect the natural marine resources in Belize. Some of the activities during the course includes mangrove observation, field trips to the HCMR and an arts and craft project depicting the significance of the marine resources around Ambergris Caye. Over the 20 years 1,280 island children have attended the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Summer Program with 77 Smith College students participating.
The Campers Gala began at 6PM with Smith College Marine Biologists and Environmental Science Professor welcoming everyone and thanking them for their attendance. He then made a short presentation about the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Summer Program. Past campers were then invited to share how their experience was and how it helped them discover their real passion.
HCMR Environmental Educator Mariela Archer then presented some paintings as a gesture of appreciation to professors of Smith College and Linda Salisbury from Smith College Board of Trustees Emerita, who has been one of the major sponsors for Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Summer Program. Smith College professors also presented paintings to HCMR Staff and Salisbury.
Certificates of appreciation were presented to several island businesses and persons that have contributed to the success of Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Summer Program over the 20 years. These persons and businesses include: Mely Badillo, Roxanni Kay (San Pedro Roman Catholic School Principal), Emil Vasquez (San Pedro High School Principal), Miguel Alamilla (HCMR former manager), Ambergris Caye Elementary School, Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop, Belize Chocolate Company, Blue Water Grill, Casa Pan Dulce Bakery, Coral Beach Royalty, Fido’s Courtyard, The Green House, Holiday Hotel, Lisa Kayaking, The Mayan Princess Hotel, The Phoenix, Reef Runner Glass Bottom Boat, Reef Seager, The San Pedro Sun Newspaper and Ambergris Seaside Real Estate.

Attendees then had the opportunity to mingle with each other while enjoying some delicious appetizers and drinks. Smith College would once again like to thank all the past campers and persons who attended the gala and celebrated 20 years of accomplishment with them. They hope they can continue to have a positive impact on Ambergris Caye.

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