In collaboration with the Year of the Ocean and Earth Day, Green Reef (a local non-governmental organization) held its annual Reef Day Festival on Sunday, April 26th, at Mar de Tumbo beach in San Pedro Town. The highlight of the festival was the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Green Reef and the Belize Audubon Society. The signing of the memorandum signified the transfer of responsibilities of two small bird sanctuaries from the Audubon Society to Green Reef.
Opening ceremonies were held just before noon. Mistress of Ceremonies was Lidia Guerrero, principal of Lidia's Institute of Fine Education (LIFE). His Worship Mayor Alberto Nuñez gave the welcoming address and Mito Paz, president of Green Reef, addressed the gathering. He mentioned the importance of preserving Belize's wildlife and bio-diversity and was pleased to announce that the Belize Audubon Society would be signing a declaration of understanding with Green Reef to transfer responsibility of Little Guana Caye and Los Salones Caye to Green Reef.
Osmany Salas of the Audubon Society addressed the crowd briefly and said that signing an agreement with Green Reef and giving them the responsibility for the islands was the best thing to do since the islands are right in Green Reef's back yard. He concluded by encouraging everyone to join the Audubon Society and to support their cause. Carlos Santos, president of the Audubon Society, spoke next and asked Mito Paz to join him in signing the memorandum. Osmany Salas and Mayor Nuñez signed as witnesses.
A sand sculpting competition was held after the signing ceremony. Sand sculptures included a 25 foot sea serpent, a turtle, dolphin, sting ray, sea horse, a merman, Shasta the mermaid and an octopus. The second place winners were Joe Beissner and Martin Leslie Jr. who made the dolphin. First place was awarded to Tracy Eiley, Wally Nuñez Jr. and Freddy Marin who made "Shasta" the mermaid. The winners received Green Reef Festival T-shirts.
On display were posters and model displays depicting marine life and other wonders and mysteries of the sea. The displays were made by hard working and creative high school and primary school students. Music was provided by the old High School Band. Sail boat rides and trips to the reef on the Glass Bottom Boat were provided for free.
Mito Paz and other organizers of the Reef festival would like to thank the High School Band for providing great music, all the students and teachers who helped to make and set up posters and displays, Geraldo Badillo who provided free sail boat rides, Norman Eiley for captaining the Southern Beauty Glass Bottom Boat on the trips to the Reef and Doctor Ken Mattes for giving lectures during the boat ride. A special thanks to all those who made the festival a great success.
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