|Large banners were used in an effort to motivate islanders to be proactive.|
|Many boats joined to help raise awareness.|
|Elito and Alyssa Arceo hold up a poster during the parade.|
On Monday, February 2nd, twenty boats joined the first ever boat parade to celebrate World Wetland’s Day.
This year, the celebration took place under the theme, “From the mountain to sea, wetland at work for us.” Participants of the parade held posters that carried messages such as “only footprints, take photos,” “I love the mangrove,” “mangrove means life to the eco-system,” “protect the mangroves,” amongst others.
The parade started at the lagoon side near the Old Football Field and made its way through the different channels and ended at the Boca Ciega Channel south of San Pedro Ambergris Caye.
The first ever World Wetland Day celebration was held jointly between the San Pedro Business Association and the Ambergris Caye Citizens for Sustainable Development (ACCSD). “With the aim to highlight the importance of the wetlands,” commented main organizer Elito Arceo, “but also to highlight the importance to the natural habitat in the area including the reef.”
Participants included Seaduced, Ramon’s, Captain Morgan’s, Suya, Belize Divers Adventure, Seaside Real Estate, El Pescador, White Sands and Hol Chan Marine Reserve amongst others. While only 20 boats participated, Arceo was thankful and expressed his gratitude to all those participants that made a conscientious effort to help raise the awareness. Activities to commemorate World Wetland Day were also held at the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary in the Belize District.
February 2nd marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971. Since then, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to raising public awareness of wetland values and its importance to the eco-system.