The Hol Chan Coral Reef Ed-Ventures is a children’s educational summer program in collaboration with Smiths College from Massachusetts, USA and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The program teaches children about reef ecology and conservation. The project started some 12 years ago as a result of professors from Smiths College who had been working in Belize on the Barrier Reef conducting various researches working with Hol Chan.In an effort to give back to the community, two of the professors, through working with Mr. Miguel Alamilla from Hol Chan, developed the program. Some 12 years ago, the camp started with an enrolment of about two students. This year, there have already been approximately 100 students who have signed up.
This week a team of five students from Smiths College are on the island for a six weeks stay. The program serves as a summer internship for the participating students. Prior to arriving on the island, the students have a week of preparation and come here for six weeks, one of which is used for research on the reef along with their professors. As part of their research, the students get to enjoy our barrier reef eco-system through scuba diving as they research the various fish species and their occurrence.
The summer program is divided into two parts. The youth camp is for students ages 9 – 12 while the advanced camp is for students 13 and over. Activities are scheduled to commence on July 4th through July 16th with a graduation ceremony at the Central Park on Thursday July 14th. Permission slips may be obtained by visiting the San Pedro Town Library or the Hol Chan Marine Reserve office.