Posts Tagged freshwater

Watershed Weekend Preparation

Meandering Rio Grande

Water is an essential part of all life. On Saturday June 26,th 2010, Ya’axché is preparing and will be hosting a fun-filled Watershed Weekend. The main purpose of this event is to raise awareness and educate the communities about Toledo’s watersheds. Interactive and fune learning experiences will actively involve the communities that lie within or buffer the Maya Golden Landscape  (MGL) and to raise awareness of how the quality of their watershed affects the quality of their lives.  

This idea of such an event was first brought up to educate and raise  

River

awareness among the communities about watersheds. This event is designed to show the importance of fresh water in their communities. Not only are the rivers used for daily washing, bathing, farming and drinking but also play an essential role in maintaining the diversity of wildlife. If these resources are not preserved or managed in a sustainable manner, it then becomes a problem. Rivers serve as a habitat for semi and aquatic vertebrates and invertebrates. You are welcome to participate in this event: learn more about your watershed, have a fun day and see how Ya’axché contributes to watershed protection and management. Most importantly, learn what you can do to improve the quality of water in your community.  

Rio Grande River

The Watershed Weekend promises to be a very fun-filled day but also a very informative one for both children and adults. For the children, activities like water-balloon fights, slip and slide, tug of war, apple-bobbing, trivia and many other water related games will be happening. And not to forget the adults,  we have apple-bobbing games, kayak racing on the Golden Stream River and many other watershed themed games.  

On display will be a big watershed model, real life weird and wonderful river creatures fresh from our neighborhood rivers, and the premier of “Rivers to Reef” and Ajax film highlighting throughout the world the interconnectivity of rivers and watersheds to other ecosystems. Meet Ya’axché rangers who will be giving presentations on Hicatees, the Critically Endangered Central American river turtle and freshwater monitoring techniques. The winner of the Healthy Watershed Poster Design Competition will be revealed and entries displayed; the winning design will be printed onto T-shirts and these T-shirts will be presented to participants in the competition from the schools involved.  

Snacks will be provided. Food and drinks will be on sale provided by Medina Bank Parent Teacher Association to help raise funds. A free bus will be running through the villages of San Miguel, Silver Creek, Indian Creek, Golden Stream, Tambran, Medina Bank, Bladen and Trio for interested persons.  

Mark the 26,th of June 2010 as a must-attend event on your calendar. It promises to be one of massive learning and tons of fun for the family.  

This event was made possible with the aid of the UNDP COMPACT project and the U.S National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).

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Bladen Nature Reserve Field Trip for Students

BNR Management Zones

The Bladen Nature Reserve is one of the most pristine areas and has the highest level of protection in Belize. Ya’axché organized field trips for primary school students from buffering communities and also for high school students, but it was not a regular field trip, it was to educate young students about the Bladen Nature Reserve.

By law, the Bladen Nature Reserve allows only two things to happen inside its boundaries which are research and education. The reserve is divided into two zones, a natural environment zone and a preservation zone. In the natural environment zone only research and education may occur but in the preservation zone no one is regularly permitted to engage in any activity. The Bladen Nature Reserve is a no take protected area.

The Bladen River is the river that runs north-easterly through the nature reserve with is also classified as the mother of the Monkey River Watershed which feeds into nearby rivers and the Port Honduras Marine Reserve.  

On March 30th 2010 rangers along with teachers from Medina Bank, Indian Creek, and Golden Stream primary schools and Ya’axché volunteers took 49 students and on March 31st 52 students into the nature reserve. Not only were students given the opportunity to explore, but the trip also provided an opportunity for the rangers to practice their strategies of communication, as rangers are look at by Ya’axché as local teachers and ambassadors of Ya’axché who engage in hands-on environmental education. The ranger had open discussions with the children to better understand the roles that rangers play to manage such a huge area with rich biodiversity.

Through this practical adventure, the elementary students were able to observe the pristine and invaluable resources of the nature reserve. This activity directly involved the future decision makers of the three buffer communities, hopefully influencing their relationship with managing the communities natural resources sustainably.

Ya'axche ranger Explaining the importance of pristine rivers

Various situations encountered within the nature reserve were used as “teachable moments” to relate to problems posed to it. The rustic road entrance was used to illustrate the likely hood of impacts and threats posed not only by the surrounding communities but by anyone since it is accessible.  The Pine Savannah and the boundary line was used to discuss prescribed burning to prevent the spread of wild fires from Pine Savannahs. Rangers also talked about nutrient cycles, forest structure, pollution and littering, erosion control, seed dispersion, healthy water systems and the importance of wildlife.

Students were brought to the Blue Pool to show the importance and beauty of pristine waters which affect reefs because of their interconnectivity.

Through these field trips Ya’axché focused on educating the teachers and the future decision makers – students, about the value of effectively managed community natural resources. By spending time within the most pristinely conserved area of the Toledo District, the students and educators were able to observe the interconnectedness between their use of resources outside the nature reserve and what happens within Bladen Nature Reserve.

On April 1st 2010 26 high school students attended the field trip, with a Ya’axché  ranger and Education Outreach Officer. Ya’axché hopes to enable the students to become stewards of conservation in their communities, and give them training and skills they need to continue on in the path of environmental education.

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