OCEANA Celebrating Ocean Heroes
OCEANA's "Ocean Hero" award is given to celebrate those that have displayed extraordinary commitment to conservation, advocacy, and educating others about Belize's precious waters.
This year's awards were given to eleven-year-old Madison Edwards and career tour guide and conservative educator Luz Hunter. These two winners may be far apart in age but they have the same love for the ocean. Here's how they put it when OCEANA spoke with them.
Madison Edwards, Ocean Hero 2017
"I think an ocean hero is an activist a person that put their all into helping the community, helping the marine life and just not sitting down and hoping for something good to happen. Just basically somebody that really tries and really cares. It doesn't matter, your size you age. No matter what you can still make a difference."
"I'm actually doing something and that's encouraging other people to do the same and I feel like one little thing could make a big difference."
Luz Hunter, Ocean Hero 2017
"I wish I could speak the language. I wish I knew what they were saying. To me, it is the imagination part of it. You know you make a connection with wildlife."
Dr. Aimee Thomas, Loyola University
"I have learned from her for 20 years and have seen her teach other on the guiding work she does which is essential to help educate other Belizeans on different issues of the environment and marine life. She has been instrumental in teaching our students."
Edwards is also the youngest Belizean to traverse the length of the Barrier Reef during a week-long sailing trip. Hunter is respected locally and internationally for her vast knowledge of the Flora and Fauna. She is also a strong advocate for turtles and manatees. Oceana Belize has been giving out this award to deserving Belizeans since 2013. This weekend, OCEANA also held its Annual Coastal and River Cleanup which were done in Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize City, Belmopan, Cayo, Placencia, Hopkins, Georgetown, Independence, Golden Stream, Big Falls, and Punta Gorda.
According to a release, "Every year through the coordination efforts of the Scout Association of Belize, Oceana Belize, environmental clubs, organizations, and individuals across the country, hundreds of volunteers take to the beach, riverbanks, canals and lagoons to collect and remove garbage and other forms of debris from Belize's waterways....The total tally of pounds of garbage and debris removed and properly disposed of will be published at a later date."
Ambergris Caye’s Madison Edwards and conservationist Luz Hunter get Ocean Hero Award
At the sixth annual Ocean Hero Award organized by Oceana in Belize, two outstanding Belizeans were awarded with the prestigious award on Saturday, September 30th, at the Ramada Princess Hotel and Casino in Belize City. The two recipients are career tour guide and conservation educator Luz Hunter from Burrell Boom in the Belize District, and 11-year-old student, Madison Edwards from Ambergris Caye. Both were recognized for their exceptional efforts in conserving Belize’s marine resources, the environment and its creatures for future generations to come.
Present at the event was Oceana Vice President Janelle Chanona who commended the Ocean Heroes for their dedication in the conservation of the country’s marine ecosystem. “At a time when our environment is facing its greatest challenges, we need people like these who connect us on an emotional level, and encourage us to become better versions of ourselves,” said Chanona. We are proud to recognize Belizeans who are making differences that benefit everyone, and knowing that now even the younger ones are taking that significant step is really amazing. I am so proud of young Edwards, and since she is so young, we have so many chapters of her to see, and who knows in the future she or one of the other awardees might be in my position, so I am super excited about that.”
Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun
Oceana Announces Belize’s 2017 Ocean Hero Award Winners
San Pedro Student Madison Edwards and Tour Guide Luz Hunter exemplify heroic spirit - On Saturday, September 30, 2017, Oceana formally recognized two Belizeans as the 2017 Ocean Heroes. They are eleven-year-old student Madison Edwards and career tour guide and conservation educator, Luz Hunter.
Hunter has been exploring the wilds of Belize most of her life. Her youthful awareness of respect for wildlife and the importance of the sustainable use for the marine environment led her to a career in the tourism industry. Over the last three decades, Luz has earned the respect of both local and international university professors and industry regulators who rely on her encyclopedic knowledge of the local flora and fauna to educate students as well as fellow Belizeans working towards tour guides licenses.