Coral Reef Ed-Ventures is an environmental education collaboration between Smith College’s Environmental Science and Policy Program and Hol Chan Marine Reserve on Ambergris Caye, Belize. This program was established 16 years ago by Professors Allen Curran (Geosciences), Paulette Peckol (Biological Sciences), and Susan Etheredge (Education and Child Studies). It is currently led by Professor David Smith (Biological Sciences and Environmental Science and Policy) and Dr. Denise Lello (Research Associate in Biological Sciences). Coral Reef Ed-Ventures is designed to teach the local youth of San Pedro about marine science and conservation. Coral Reef Ed-Ventures program began with two Smith student teachers and a few children. This year we are a team of six Smith student teachers and we anticipate over one hundred kids will attend youth camp!
The Central American country of Belize is bordered to the north by Mexico and to the west and south by Guatemala. Ambergris Caye is an island off the northern coast of Belize, and San Pedro is its only town. The Meso-American barrier reef is a half-mile from the shore of Ambergris Caye and continues for a total length of 1,000 miles. It is visible as a white line of breaking surf in the crystal clear sea. In 1987, Belize created Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a marine protected area. Hol Chan Marine Reserve covers four zones around the island including mangroves, sea grass and coral reef environments.
Our environmental education program uses experiential, place-based education to build a community of youth who are confident stewards of their local environment. Belizean children participate in research, create art work and other forms of media media, play games and interact with community members engaged in conservation work.