Town shows up big for Reef Festival 2000

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 22            June 1, 2000

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Lydia Guerrero, Principal of Life, accepts first prize from Mito Paz, President of Green Reef, on behalf of her students
Children enjoy touch tank

Mar de Tumbo Beach was the rendezvous point for hundreds who appreciate and care for one of San Pedro's biggest attractions - the Barrier Reef. Sponsored by Green Reef and Tropic Air, the fourth annual Reef Festival was once again a successful event held for a great cause. Our Reef, Our Livelihood, Our Future was this year's theme and was displayed in a variety of models done by the children of Island Academy, Lydia's Institute of Fine Education (LIFE) and San Pedro High School. The students clearly portrayed the reef and the amazing wildlife which inhabit it, using different materials and tactics. This creative and educational part of the festival was judged and the following received prizes. First place went to the Standard I model of LIFE. The specific message sent by this young group who are the future leaders of our country, read "Protect our wetlands, swamps and mangroves. It is the habitat for our wildlife. Avoid irresponsible development." Second place went to the Infant I class of LIFE and third place to Island Academy. The judges also gave special mention for the creative work done by the Standard II class of LIFE and to Tracy Eiley of San Pedro High School for the informative verbal explanation of her project.

    Although thundershowers threatened to hinder the festival, those attending showed their strong support of Green Reef and the festival by staying. This proved to be rewarding as just minutes after, the sun came out and the day became perfect. Many enjoyed free glass-bottom boat trips to the reef on the Southern Beauty while others just enjoyed the great atmosphere. As always, informative posters regarding the importance of the preservation and conservation of the reef were on hand. The marine life touch tank, courtesy of Amigos del Mar, was again the number one attraction. Both children and adults enjoyed touching the wonderful creatures of the reef. Organizers of the festival also put together fun games including a watermelon eating contest, sack race, tug-o-war and many others. The San Pedro Dance Company entertained with a variety of dances on the beach. To delight the taste buds, pork pibil tacos, rice and beans and pastries were on sale.

    Sunday was a great day to make the community aware of the importance of the reef and to learn how to help protect it. The Reef Festival has proved to be the perfect way of doing this, and all organizers and participants should be proud.
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