Students get scholarships
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve was established in 1987 and its Board of Trustees was later formed in 1994. It’s Belize’s oldest marine reserve and has expanded over the years to a protected area of seven square miles, including the famous Shark Ray Alley. Today Hol Chan along with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries launched an initiative that will ensure the future protection of the Jewel’s marine life. News Five’s Delahnie Bain was hand for the launch of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Scholarship Fund, which provides four years of tuition for high school and bachelor’s degree students in natural resource management.
Delahnie Bain, Reporting
Academic excellence has paid off for four students, who were awarded scholarships by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in collaboration with the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Minister Rene Montero says the scholarship fund has been in the works for years.
Rene Montero, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
“When I became Minister of Agriculture I did a tour of all the marine reserves. I noticed the potential of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. So the first thing we did was extend it to include the Cangrejo Shoals which doubles now. The same time I noticed that there were a lot of funds that were not being used. So I started this initiative to create a scholarship trust fund. Over the years we have been negotiation and I am very pleased that the Board of Trustees approved the scholarships.”
Lindsay Garbutt, Member, Board of Directors, Hol Chan Marine Reserve
“If Belize is to continue to be a leader in management of Marine Protected areas, which are fisheries management tools, investment has to be made in the area of marine natural resource manage. The Board of Trustees for the Hol Chan Marine Reserve has made an important decision to create a scholarship fund to give an opportunity to students to further their education with emphasis in marine science. Starting in year one, one scholarship is being granted for a first degree and three for high school accreditation.”
The high school scholarship recipients hail from San Pedro and Caye Caulker, while the bachelor degree student is enrolled at the University of Belize.
“Today we are honored to mention the recipients of the high school scholarships which are Christie Camilla Tzul and Estephanie Mas of San Pedro High School and Osmin Arana who will be attending the Ocean High School in Caye Caulker. The person who will be awarded the Bachelors Degree Scholarship is Mr. Nigel Mesh. Mr. Mesh is enrolled at the University of Belize and is undertaking a bachelor’s degree program in natural resource management.”
Miguel Alamilla, Manager, Hol Chan Marine Reserve
“It’ is very significant, it’s a step forward. As I mentioned before it’s a gradual progression, it’s a good start because we want to provide young Belizean students with an opportunity to dedicate all their efforts in their studies and not to worry about the financial part. So I think it’s hugely significant.”
“And you’re also molding the future environmentalists.”
“That’s one of the intentions. We want young Belizean students to acquire a taste for being natural resource managers and we believe that this is an investment on that behalf.”
To keep the scholarships for the full four years, recipients must maintain good grades. Delahnie Bain for News Five.
Minister Montero explained that the high school scholarships are given specifically to students from Caye Caulker and San Pedro because the majority of the fishermen live on the islands and work with government to protect the marine reserves.