Hol Chan-Smith College Summer Program for Children

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 25            June 21, 2001

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Smith College Summer Program facilitators

Friends from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts have returned to "La Isla Bonita." For those who do not remember, Cathy Parsons and Kate Buckman, interns in marine education at Smith College, conducted a series of summer classes for children of the island last year. This year they return with extra back-up personnel to conduct classes in journal writing, and participate in educational activities, field trips, crafts and games. Their efforts will help students better understand: the importance of the coral reef and mangroves; the interaction of plants, animals and people; animal adaptation; and scientific procedures. Joining Cathy and Kate are Mattie Byrd McHold, Alexandra Chitty and Kim Cheney, also interns in marine education from Smith College.    Funding for this program is made possible through the Henry David Thoreau Grant from Northeast Educational Services in Sommerville, Massachusetts.

    Since their arrival to San Pedro, this five-member team has visited Lydia's Institute of Fine Education and San Pedro Roman Catholic School conducting half hour to forty-five minute presentations on what the students can expect from the summer program which will commence on July 2nd. The program is available to children ages seven to twelve years old and will last for two weeks. The Smith College team emphasized the program will be full of entertaining and educational activities revolving around the ocean, reef and the creatures that live there. Classes will be held from Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will take place at the San Pedro Town Hall. Many prizes will also be available to the participants, through poster competitions as well as a Hol Chan logo competition. Parents are encouraged to send their children to be part of this fun and educational program. Parents wishing to enroll their children need to obtain a form from the Hol Chan office. Children without a signed consent from their parent/guardian will not be accepted. Anyone wishing further information may contact the Hol Chan Marine Reserve office at telephone number 026-2247.

    Aside from the children's summer program, the Smith College team will hold a teacher's workshop and will work closely with the Hol Chan personnel. The group, whose main interest is marine education, told the San Pedro Sun that because of its success, funding has already been set aside for next year's program. Through the E. J. Murphy Fund, the Smith College team managed to purchase a number of books to use during the summer program and these will remain on island at the San Pedro library at the end of their stay.

    On behalf of the community's children, the San Pedro Sun extends a warm welcome and many thanks to these kind and giving students.

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