It’s been a busy week of recruiting on all accounts. We spent Monday morning waking up San Pedro on the Good Morning San Pedro broadcast, sharing details about the camp and talking about how we all got involved and hope to walk away from the camp. It was an unexpected line of questioning, but it was nice to be able to tell the community about why we’re running these camps and why we’re here to participate in them. We even made it to the local paper, which we made sure to grab a hard copy of.
We’ve also been walking up and down the streets and ringing up phones to tell people about camp and ask for local support, whether that comes as funding, food or anything else for camp. So far we’ve raised a fair bit of money and have guaranteed cupcakes for graduation, which is exciting for the kids! We’re still working on that too, with plans to take the kids on a glass bottom-boat trip and out snorkeling to use high-tech research equipment. R.E.E.F. camp this year will get to experience a lot of hands-on activities, and fieldtrips which will hopefully inspire them to venture further into the sciences.
Wednesday was one of our two movie nights, featuring ‘Surf’s Up’ at the Lion’s Den. After many, many hours over the stove we had 90 bags of popcorn and a 5 gallons of Kool-Aid ready to go. About 20 kids and their parents showed up, which wasn’t bad for a rainy night and our first movie shown outside of camp weeks. The kids who came enjoyed themselves, and got to pose with us for some pictures for a local newspaper.
The professors also landed in San Pedro this week; Al, David and Denise stopped by our apartment to say hello and see how things have been going. Although they only swung by briefly on Wednesday, seeing as we were busy with movie night, we were with them again bright and early the next morning. Come Thursday we were up and at it in the water for 8:30 sharp. Everyone enjoyed our practice snorkel in Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley, intended for everyone to get comfortable in the water.
There were beautiful coral, copious sharks and gliding rays all around us, and it was a great introduction to the deeper waters of Belize.
On Friday things got a bit more intense as we went out on the water again, this time for a practice dive. This trip was to Mexico Rocks, where everyone geared up to explore the corals up north before moving on to research practice. For this research we’ll be taking coral transect quadrat photos and data to compare to past data and assess annual changes in the reef. This meant that we split into two groups of three to practice laying out the transect, fumbling around with the clipboard, trying to stay in place with a quadrat while someone takes a picture of said quadrat and more. It was definitely a challenge, and everyone appreciated this trial run before the data gets to be real. Things came to an exciting end as a storm kicked up, and we sailed against pelting rain back to the safety of San Pedro’s shore.
This weekend will see us headed to the mainland for some visits to a zoo, Mayan ruins and more, so stay tuned to read all about it!
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-Liz Nagy & Team STARRS