Press Release – Hol Chan Marine Reserve – May 12th, 2009 – Reef Week is a yearly celebration of the reef and its associated ecosystems. This year it was carried out under the theme, “Save the reef; don’t leave us in grief”, which was submitted by students of the Island Academy. Reef Week 2009 kicked off on Tuesday, May 5th with an Open Day at the Hol Chan office where students were invited for an educational tour of the Visitor’s Center and viewing of the touch tank which was filled with live marine animals. They also had the chance to answer questions, get prizes and have their picture taken on the reef scene.
On Wednesday, May 6th, nine (9) students from the different primary schools participated in the yearly trivia competition, which tested their knowledge of the reserve and its associated ecosystems. Javier Williams of New Horizon’s Academy claimed first prize, Kelsie Luna of San Pedro Roman Catholic School claimed second prize while Zack Mattes of Island Academy took third place. Each students received a snorkel set and fishing rods donated by Captain Sharks, school supplies donated by the Angelus Press, while first place also received a bicycle donated by Suya Tours, a round trip ticket to Belize City donated by Tropic Air and a set of books on Belize’s natural resources and history, donated by Coral Reef Alliance. In addition, second place also received a basket ball and pump from Castillo’s Hardware and third place a game from Harmouch Center.
On Thursday, May 7th, students participated in a skit competition, where they designed and presented a skit based on conservation of marine and coastal resources. Ambergris Caye Elementary took first prize with their skit “Killer fish gang, at large” they received $500 cash and a class trip to Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve, courtesy of Caribeña Enterprises and Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Second place was captured by Island Academy with “Reef school musical” and they received $200 cash and $100 saving account at Atlantic Bank, courtesy of Atlantic Bank, Banyan Bay, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
Finally to close off Reef Week 2009, Hol Chan took teachers from different schools around San Pedro on an educational tour of marine reserves at Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve and Arrecife de Xcalak. They visited the Visitor Center at San Juan, Cha’ac Balam Mayan site, and the cenotes at Bacalar Chico. In addition, they received a presentation on the establishment of Arrecife de Xcalak, and the opportunity to snorkel at the reserve.
Reef Week serves as a part of the environmental education program where the primary objective is to have students learn about our coastal and marine resources in a fun and rewarding manner. Hol Chan has hosted Reef Week for the past four years with the help of the business community, therefore we would like to thank all those who donated to this year’s Reef Week’s activities and we look forward for their contribution again next year.