The Reef – Our Present, Our Future – Let’s Protect It. - Reef Week 2011 was celebrated this past week with many education activities under the theme “The Reef – Our Present, Our Future – Let’s Protect It”. The sixth annual reef week activities were organized by the Hol Chan Marine Reserve as a component of their educational and outreach program.
Beach Clean Up-
The activities kicked off on Saturday, May 14 with a Beach cleanup at Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve where several children from various elementary schools in Ambergris Caye participated. The site was at the turtle nesting beach in the Bacalar Reserve and a total of 30 drum size garbage bags of trash were removed from the beach.
Lion Fish Round Up – Cook Off Competition -
On Sunday, May 15 during the annual Lagoon-Reef Eco Challenge a Lion Fish Round Up and Cook-off Competition took place at the Central Park. The Amigos Del Mar Dive Shop Crew won the most lionfish competition with a total of 332 fish and also took the prize for the smallest lionfish caught. Second place was awarded to the Belize Diving Adventures Crew and they also took the prize of the largest lionfish caught.
During the cook-off, Lionfish Fillet was prepared baked and barbeque style and served for free as a delicacy platter to the many spectators that gathered for the event. Over 150 plates of the delicious tasting fish were served.
“This is one marine species we want to over-fish so we hope our local fisher men can make a profit in catching and selling lion fish fillet to local restaurant” – Hol Chan Marine Reserve. “The next tournament will be held in June and we will also invite restaurant to participate in a lion fish cooking competition. Fillet will be provided to all participating restaurant since we have already secured 26 pounds of fillet from this past Sunday’s tournament.”
Hol Chan Open Day –
Students from several elementary schools of San Pedro participated in an Open Day at the Hol Chan Compound on Monday, May 16. Various displays were prepared emphasizing the environmental, social and economic importance of our marine reserve network. Highlighted were the northern marine Reserves of Bacalar Chico, Hol Chan and Caye Caulker. Almost 200 school children walked through the informative displays and participated in the educational games.
Movie night was held on Tuesday, May 17 at the Hol Chan Marine Compound. Children enjoyed a great movie entitled “The Adventures of Sammy the Turtle” while enjoying great snacks.
Trivia Competition –
Hol Chan Marine also held a trivia competition on Wednesday, May 18 at the Lions Den. Winners of the competition were: 1st place -Brittany Garbutt - New Horizon Academy, 2nd Place - Juan Hernandez - Holy Cross Anglican School and 3rd Place - Adriana Cal - Caye Caulker R.C School.
Marine Science Project Competition –
The Marine Science Project had students from several schools working diligently on projects. All the projects were carefully and beautifully done and were on display at the Hol Chan Marine compound. Winners of the competition were 1st Place - Ambergris Caye Elementary - “No Oil Drilling”, 2nd place - Island Academy - “Belize Coral Reef” and 3rd place - Isla Bonita Elementary - “Coral reef community”.
Thank You Letter
A big heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in any way in the reef week activities, thanks to all the students for participating and as well as the teachers who help their students prepare for our competitions. (Ambergris Caye Elementary, Isla Bonita Elementary, Holy Cross Anglican school, Island Academy, Caye Caulker R.C School, Maestro Reyes School, San Pedro R.C School and New Horizon Academy) .
The main objective of this program is to involve stakeholders in various educational activities that are planned throughout the week. Through this initiative we hope to increase our outreach capacity to as many stakeholders as possible and provide valuable learning experience that will enhance our understanding of the importance of protecting our coastal resources for future generations to enjoy.
Thanks to all our sponsors for making this year's event possible and we look forward for your continued support in our environmental educational activities.
Sponsors - Castillos Hardware, The Belize Bank, Banyan Bay Resort, Scotia Bank, Belizean Shores, Cayo Espanto, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Atlantic Bank, St. Francis Xavier Credit Union, Captain Sharks, Harmouch Center, S.P Hardware, Caribeña Enterprises, Coral Cable, Coral Reef Alliance, Tropic Air, Caye Management.
/s/Hol Chan Marine Reserve