2019 Kids in Action participate in an educational field trip

Friday, August 16th, 2019

2019 Kids in Action (KIA) continue to learn about the importance of protecting and preserving the environment and marine life of Ambergris Caye. On Saturday, August 10th, an educational field trip was offered for members of KIA to various parts of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
At 8AM the KIA youngsters met at Belize Diving Adventures (BDA) dive shop for an informative presentation about coral reef conservation facilitated by BDA Brittney Garbutt. She spoke on how to protect corals, as well as their importance in containing the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Corals help protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave actions and tropical storms and provide habitats and shelter for many marine organisms.
After that, they departed on a boat to 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. Garbutt also highlighted how they 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.
At 10:30AM, the children snorkeled at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Zone B (Seagrass bed areas), and Zone A. KIA had a lot of fun exploring the different species of fish and nurse sharks, viewing the beautiful corals, while also learning vital information about seagrass beds. Seagrass beds stabilize the sea bottom, provide food and habitat for other marine organisms, maintain water quality, and support local economies.
The field trip culminated with a snorkel at San Pedro Tour Operators Association (SPTOA) coral nursery located in front of the island. The coral restoration project is designed to replenish areas along the Barrier Reef where corals have died. The students got to see how the corals are growing and how Garbutt and the SPTOA manage it.
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.
President of SPTOA and organizer of Kids in Action Everette Anderson told The San Pedro Sun that one of their partners, Access to Better Opportunity, who sponsored this field trip has committed to continue doing so through November of this year. “So Kids in Action will continue to be part of these educational field trips every Saturday, where they will learn more of the importance of protecting the environment and appreciate it,” said Anderson. He also added their focus is to develop a community conservation project, stating, “Our goal is to see more partnership from community businesses, so we can get the children more engaged in different environmental projects.”
Special thanks go out to Access to Better Opportunity for sponsoring the trip, Mr. Ched Cabral who was the boat captain, Brittney Garbutt for educating the children and the parents for allowing their child be part of this fun trip. Anyone interested in partnering with SPTOA environmental projects, please 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.
All island businesses are reminded that they depend directly or indirectly on the environment and marine life, so it is essential for them to help protect it. Everyone has a responsibility to conserve and protect the environment; whether it be government, businesses, consumers, workers or other members of society, each must do their part to stop the polluting of our sensitive environment.

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