Youth from Belize and the U.S jump into manatee and seagrass research along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, engage in climate change mitigation strategies on the coast, and participate in jaguar research in the rainforest.
In that moment of immersion, knowledge leads to inspiration.
Through hands-on field experiences and alumni leadership training, youth connect to local ecological hotspots – for Belizean youth these are places just beyond their back doors, but often never seen or experienced. While in the field, students become scientists, participating in ongoing research with our partners at the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize Audubon Society, and others. Students collect data about invasive lionfish, elusive jaguar, marine microplastics, and dolphin behavior. This work not only increases their knowledge of the singularity and importance of Belize ecosystems but also empowers them to become global citizens, as they learn how their impact can make a difference in the world.
“I was very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the ecology course because I was able to see a part of my country I had never been to before. It also gave me a chance to develop leadership skills I can use as a member of the eco-club."
Addison dreams of travelling the world one day; though surprisingly, he never experienced the world's second largest barrier reef just a short boat ride away from his home. On EPI's Belize Marine Ecology course, Addison was finally able to explore the Mesoamerican reef and learn first-hand about the extraordinary array of species that live there. He also sharpened the leadership and team building skills he intends to use organizing conservation projects like beach clean ups.
My Experience on the EPI Belize Ecology Course
Originally published as a Letter to the Editor in the Amandala Newspaper
A few weeks ago, from March 24 to April 1, a group of 17 persons, including six students from Galen University, four students and a professor from Linn-Benton Community College in Oregon and two instructors from Ecology Project International (EPI-Belize), embarked on a field-based ecology course to Calabash Caye and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. We were going to learn about the ecosystems and importance of these natural resources while also learning to collect scientific data.
Upon our arrival at Calabash Caye, where we spent our first five days,... Learn More