Model Shelly Ross films for Trekforce

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 15, No. 32            August 11, 2005

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Shelly Ross, UK model filming a documentary for Trekforce.

Saturday was a day of fun and excitement as everyone was anxiously awaiting the Kumbia Kings’ arrival to San Pedro. But, this Saturday Shelly Ross, an international beauty and United Kingdom model, arrived on “La Isla Bonita” to document the hard work and dedication of the Trekforce program.

   While in San Pedro, Shelly visited Bacalar Chico where Trekforce recently constructed trails, cutting and clearing out an 18 kilometer (about 12 miles) nature trail through the thick brush. The trail extends from the San Juan area, where the Bacalar Chico Ranger Headquarters and Visitors’ Center is located, across the width of the island to Robles Point and then up to the amazing vista of Rocky Point. An additional trail leads to the site at the Laguna de Canteña, where, with the use of kayaks, visitors can reach the site where the volunteers have constructed an impressive palapa named “The Ark.”

   For the past two weeks, Shelly has been touring the country with camera on hand, acting as Director, Reporter, and Grip; San Pedro was her last stop. She has documented the work done by Trekforce Sarteneja, work carried out in the manatee conservation program in Hopkins and the hard labor of the volunteers maintaining camps at Victoria Peaks trail as well as in several Garifuna communities. Trekforce has also constructed a tourism campsite in Davis Falls, which they are trying to maintain. Shelly also managed to visit the Caracol Mayan ruins.

   The footage will be used as a promotional video for Trekforce volunteers. Although Shelly is not to certain who the audience will be, she envisions it to be used to give volunteers an idea of what they will be accomplishing on their trips or to entice new volunteers into the program.

   How did Shelly get involved with Trekforce? Well, in one of her trips, she had the opportunity to visit and climb Kilimanjaro, which is located at the north/eastern tip of Tanzania reaching heights of 19,335.6 ft. (5,895 m). For Shelly this proved to be a breath-taking experience and it inspired her to do her part in preserving the environment.

   Returning to the United Kingdom, through a mutual friend, Shelly met Rob Maury John, Managing Director of UK’s Trekforce. Since 1990 (UK-registered charity, No.1005452) Trekforce has been organizing dynamic teams of volunteers ranging from gap year (students taking a year off between studies) students through to professionals taking a year out or career break, to carry out valuable conservation, community and science-based projects as well as beneficial teaching and language placements in the rainforests of Central and South America and South East Asia. Belize has had invaluable help from these dedicated volunteers.

   Shelly and Rob got to talking and they concluded that she would use her expertise to document the hard work done by this organization in Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret. “I have been in the entertainment/modeling business for the past 12 years. So, you learn a lot from just being a part of the industry.” With the experience she has gained, Shelly was able to form the one-woman production crew, at her own expense. “I am hoping that this video can also be used to assist Trekforce in receiving funding. If the organization receives more funding then they could extend their services to both water and land. With all the amazing work, Trekforce does, it is time someone did something for them.”

   Shelly hopes to return to Belize to document the end result of the work being carried out by Trekforce. Shelly has been modeling since she was 15 and has remained in the business for the past 12 years. She is a proud mother of two children,nine(9) and two(2).
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