A group of 15 tourism students from a vocational college in the Toledo District participated in a marine ecology course in San Pedro Town from Monday, November 27th to Wednesday, November 29th. The course was conducted by the Ecology Project International (EPI) in Belize and Mar Alliance. During the three-day course, students learned about the marine environment, conducted data collection techniques on sharks, rays, finfish and other species.

On the last day of the course, the group enjoyed a full day snorkeling at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. For many of them, this was an experience of a lifetime. A couple of them shared that it was the first time they had been swimming with rays and sharks. At the end of the day, Rachel Graham from Mar Alliance congratulated each of the students and encouraged them to be advocates for the protection of the marine environment. Each student was then presented with a certificate of participation and a few shared their snorkeling experiences. “I was very afraid at the beginning, but afterwards I got used to the sharks being near me,” said one student. “It was an amazing experience for me, I will never forget it,” said another. “I can just imagine how wonderful it would be to have an oxygen tank and go deeper below the water.”

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