Coral Ed 2018 – Ready to Go!


This week the Coral Ed Team 2018 is getting ready to depart for San Pedro! Preparation week just started, and the STARRs are working very hard to get everything set before our departure. We wanted you to get to know our team this year, so we took a quick time out to write a little bit about ourselves.

  • Aidan Coffin Ness ‘20

Hi everyone! My name is Aidan Coffin Ness, and I am a rising junior at Smith studying Spanish and Education. I grew up camping with my family and learned at a young age to love and appreciate the nature around me, especially the water. Being in and around the water has always made me happy, and I have learned so much about water conservation and the oceans since I started at Smith. For the past four summers I have been working at a camp in the Northern US teaching young girls to appreciate the nature around them, which has shown me the importance of environmental education. I am so excited to be a part of the Coral Ed community in Belize this summer and to share my love of the ocean with the students!


  • Carla Schwartz ‘20

Hi everyone! My name is Carla Schwartz and I am a rising junior at Smith. I am majoring in Biology and minoring in Marine Science and Policy. I am particularly interested in conservation biology and what we can do to help both marine and terrestrial life survive. Next semester I will be traveling to Tanzania to do a Wildlife Management program, so I am very excited to be immersed in interactive research and learn more about  Belize in hopes that it will prepare me better for future experiences. I can’t wait to work with students and spread my passion for Biology. Getting to learn about the community and ecosystem in San Pedro will prove to be an unforgettable experience!  

  • Katherine Akey ‘20

Hello! My name is Katherine Akey and I am a rising junior majoring in Engineering at Smith College. I am particularly interested in Environmental Engineering and how engineering processes affect our environment. I grew up in Westminster, Maryland on a small organic family farm, so I am very excited to be in San Pedro and experience a place with ecosystems drastically different from the ones at home! I am looking forward to sharing my love of the ocean and science with the students at camp, and am very eager to get to Belize!

  • Liz Nagy ‘18

Hi all! My name is Liz Nagy, and I’m a recent Smith graduate with a degree in Environmental Science & Policy and East Asian Languages & Literatures. Over the past few years, I’ve done a lot of work with coastal communities and coral reefs from Hawai’i to Tonga, so I’m excited to continue pursuing these passions in Belize. I think environmental education is very important, and that working with the community and exploring the natural landscape will be a great learning experience for everyone involved. I’m really looking forward to diving into marine science with the people of San Pedro!

  • Emiline Koopman ‘18J  Co-leader

Hi all! My name is Emiline and I am this year’s co-leader for the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures program. I participated in Coral Reef Ed-Ventures in 2016, and I am very excited to be returning to San Pedro for another summer of research, community outreach, and environmental education. Since my last trip to San Pedro, I have had many great experiences to prepare me for this summer. I have worked on various community-based conservation projects in the Pacific Islands and I am thrilled to transfer the skills I have gained on marine protection to a Caribbean setting. Since graduating Smith College in January 2018, with a degree in Biology and a minor in Marine Science and Policy, I am ready to dedicate my career to these vital marine ecosystems which we will be experiencing first-hand this summer on Ambergris Caye.

  • Dana Vera ‘19 Co-Leader

Hi everyone! My name is Dana Vera and I am a rising senior at Smith studying Education and Mathematics. This is my second year in the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Program and I am one of the Co-Leaders of the team this year. I am so excited to go back to San Pedro and see all of our wonderful campers again! Last summer it was my first time in Belize and I truly enjoyed it. This year I am excited to share the research and activities we do in San Pedro with our campers and have a lot of fun during our three weeks of summer camps.



This year we are celebrating our nineteenth year of the Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Program.  We are excited to host our two annual summer camps: The REEF Program (Advanced) and the Youth Program. The theme of the year is CONNECTIONS: we will explore the connections we have with nature, the environment, and the community. Additionally, we are going to introduce the campers to research methods like mapping and coral identification, techniques we use when we analyze the data we collect in Belize.

Both of our camps will be held in the San Pedro High School, and the programs dates are the following:

REEF Program June 25th – 29th – For children ages 12 and up

Youth Program July 2nd – 12th – For children ages 7 to 11


Keep tuning in for more blog posts as our Belize adventure unfolds! We are departing very early on June 3rd for our flights to Belize, and we will be keeping you updated as the Coral Ed-Ventures Program-2018 continues!

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-Dana Vera & Team STARRS






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