In 2014, Cody High School traveled to the Caribbean to participate in EPI's Belize Marine Ecology Program, and their persepectives were forever changed.
During their course, Cody High School students conducted research on bottlenose dolphins inhabiting the Turneffe Atoll, a place the Oceanic Society has called “the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere.” While there, the CHS students made a frightening discovery. During one hour of beach clean up, students filled five large garbage bags full of trash that had littered the shore.
Upon returning home, CHS decided to take action. They could make a difference. “Plastic is something right in our backyard in Cody,” said Amy Gerber, the course chaperone. “We are going to try to reduce the amount of plastic we generate, starting at the high school. We’re trying to reduce plastic waste in communities.” The students installed recycling bins at the local stadiums, initiated a campaign to reduce the use of plastic straws, and collaborated with another area school to form Cody Earth Aware, an organization that inspires youth to take an active role in community-based conservation efforts.
Our EPI Belize courses open up a new kind of classroom.