Ocean Academy Students Take Pride in Preserving Their Heritage and Protecting the Reef in Caye Caulker

Ocean Academy students joined organizations and individuals across the globe to help clean up and prevent water pollution. Twenty Ocean Academy high-school students and teachers beautified the Caye Caulker beaches in October, from the Split to the CBTIA Nature Reserve near the airstrip. But that’s not all they did. As part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by Ocean Conservancy (www.oceanconservancy.org), the students categorized and documented each trash item along the beaches to learn more about the greatest causes, and possible solutions, to water pollution.

The students enjoyed the research experience and learned that plastic products dominate the trash results:

* 749 caps and lids
* 406 plastic beverage bottles 2 litres or less
* 392 plastic bags
* 356 plastic cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons
* 146 food wrappers and containers
* 108 straws and stirrers
* 93 shoes and clothing

* Plus items in these categories

a) Ocean/Waterway activities (fishing line, rope)
b) Smoking-related activities (cigarettes, lighters)
c) Dumping activities (tires, building materials)
d) Medical and personal hygiene (condoms, diapers, syringes)

Ocean Academy’s motto - “Preserving Our Heritage, Creating Our Future” - reflects the high school’s deep commitment to environment stewardship. Ocean Academy students study marine biology and pollution prevention in the classroom. Every student puts that knowledge to practical use with environmental service projects. In 2009, students have assisted biologists from FAMRACC and Fisheries with projects such as mangrove reforestation, fish surveys, nature trail sign painting, and observations of coral bleaching and elk horn spawning. Photos of these activities are posted on the school’s website: www.cayecaulkerschool.com

Ocean Academy collaborated with the Caye Caulker Environmental Youth Club (a leader in the Coastal Cleanup for several years), marine biologists from Siwaban, and community volunteers. Thank you to Mrs. Virginia Vasquez who facilitated the Coastal Cleanup event as part of her desire to inform and encourage youth to pursue a well-rounded education.

Posted by Ambergris Today