New volunteers join Green Reef

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 35            August 30, 2000

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New volunteers Dan Ellison and Jill Hepp

Two eager volunteers have recently joined the Green Reef team in San Pedro. Headed by Mito Paz, Green Reef is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of sustainable use and conservation of Belize's marine and coastal resources. Jill Hepp and Dan Ellison will now be working closely with Mr. Paz to ensure the continuation of this essential organization for the island.

    Jill Hepp, originally from Ohio, USA is a graduate of San Diego University where she majored in Biology and Environmental Science. As a US Peace Corp volunteer, Jill chose Latin America to volunteer her services and was eventually assigned to San Pedro, Belize. After spending over a month in  San Ignacio, Cayo and Burrell Boom, she relocated to the island two weeks ago to commence work with Green Reef. Jill has already started working on her first project which includes working with the Area Representative and the San Pedro Town Council to zone the wetlands north of San Pedro (San Mateo Area) so that parts can be designated as a recreational area. Having spent some time in Mexico where she studied and researched mangrove habitats, Jill feels her experience will aid immensely in this current project. She will also be involved in the Naussau Grouper project, currently underway, in addition to being responsible for day-to-day matters at Green Reef, including the annual Reef Festival and other educational projects. Jill's ambition to help has been very visible in the short time she has been here, as in her work with the San Pedro Tour Guide Association giving lectures at the ongoing tour guide training courses. Jill is very happy with the warm welcome she has received and describes San Pedro as a friendly town. During her two-year stay on the island she hopes to enjoy the beautiful barrier reef by snorkeling and diving. She also hopes to travel to the mainland and other parts of Central America.

    Dan Ellison comes from Mapledurwell, Hamphire just out of London, England and is a development studies and geography student at the School of Oriental and African Studies. Having completed half of his degree in this three-year course, Dan was sent to Belize by the Department of National Development of his country. He is on a DFC training program which is a volunteer service that sends university students to countries around the world. Dan was originally scheduled to go to the Solomon Islands to work with UNESCO but because of his contacts and wanting to volunteer his services to small islands and development states he opted for Belize. Belize Alliance of Conservation Non Government Organizations (BACON- GO) suggested that he work with Green Reef and after looking into Green Reef's website and speaking with Mito Paz he was brought on board Green Reef's team. Dan will be working mainly on fundraising projects to assist Green Reef with the financial resources essential for the daily operation of their organization. He also hopes to do extensive mangrove research and study different proposals affecting Green Reef. In speaking about the island he commented, "San Pedro is a really laid-back place. It is a melting pot of cultures and everyone is charming. It is fantastic." During his one-year stay in San Pedro he will be working on his dissertation for college, hopes to visit Honduras and Guatemala and be actively involved in community functions.

    San Pedro welcomes Jill and Dan  and thanks them for their interest in our fragile environment. Bienvenidos!
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