Our Community - Miguel Alamilla Jr. -Preserving today's resources for tomorrow's generation

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 9, No. 41            October 28, 1999

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Miguel Alamilla Jr.

Recent news revealed the annexation of Shark Ray Alley to Hol Chan Marine Reserve. These two places have rapidly become a must-see sight when visiting Ambergris Caye. Many people have come together to study and protect these places for the benefit of our island and for future generations to be able to enjoy the underwater beauty of these places. It is with this in mind that we feature in this week's Our Community, the manager of Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Mr. Miguel Alamilla Jr.

    Miguel was born in San Pedro on September 16th, 1973, to Maria Elena and Miguel Alamilla Sr. Like most of kids of the new generation, he attended both primary and high school in San Pedro. It was during his four-year study at San Pedro High School that Miguel's strong inclination for Biology commenced. He graduated as an Academic Student in 1990. Immediately after graduation, he began working as a lab technician for the conch hatchery. Miguel recalls that this was a wonderful project in which they would monitor the life cycle of the conch. He worked with the hatchery for two years and then went on to become a park ranger for the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. He resigned after a period of six months to further his education. He attended Corozal Junior College, graduating with an Associate's Degree in Biology in 1995. Miguel had always been fascinated by the nature that surrounded him. As a young child he enjoyed birdwatching and fishing with his father. It concerned him that, because of human activities, we might lose these wonderful gifts. He knew that to be able to help, he would need to educate himself first. It was because of this same reason that he decided to attend the University College of Belize for two years. He graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology Education from UCB in 1997.

    Immediately after graduation, Miguel was hired as Manager of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office in San Pedro. In addition to this task, he was also the Reserve's Biologist. He has had his work cut out for him since the first day. Miguel is responsible for supervising the everyday activities of the workers and park rangers; and planning annual and monthly reports to the Hol Chan Trust Fund and Fisheries Department. As the Biologist, he carefully monitors the conch, coral, lobster and fish of the area; assesses human impact on the reef; and trains and supervises interns and volunteers to the reserve.

    Today Hol Chan Marine Reserve consists of a team of five persons; Miguel as Manager/Biologist, three park rangers and one secretary. Joining the team is a Peace Corp volunteer who has arrived on the island to help out for a period of two years.

    Miguel has recently joined the married couple's club. On July 30th, 1999, he united his life in marriage to Olga Maribel Lima. Even though he is happy with his present job, Miguel still feels that there is more he needs to learn. He hopes to pursue his Master's Degree in either a program concerning Marine Resource Management or Coastal Zone Management. He is presently taking an intense photography course. Wildlife photography has always been his life-long passion and he hopes to take it to another level. He eventually hopes to extend this hobby to include underwater photography. As if this was not enough, Miguel, a certified dive master, will soon take a course advancing him to the next level of diving - Instructor. He is doing this so he can start a volunteer program to teach volunteers at the reserve to dive and at the same time teach them about the conservation of the reef and the environment.

    Since taking the position of Manager, he has attended various seminars and presentations pertaining to the environment and reef preservation. Some of the places he has attended these seminars are Costa Rica; Akumal, Mexico; Panama and Jamaica.

    Miguel commented, "There are many things we can do to preserve our environment. One of the main constraints is funding but everyone can help just by coming to our visitor center (soon to be completed) and learning about ways to help and preserve." Miguel has proven that the future looks bright for our environment if we continue to follow his strong advice about preservation. He is an inspiration to many and has set the record straight, that anything is possible when you set your mind to it. Our Community looks up to with respect and applauds Miguel's great efforts for our environment.

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