Thursday July 26, 2012

Today’s theme was Bio Waste Management, and we focused on using the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.  During our arts and crafts time, the eco-campers were lucky enough to receive a visit from the youth ambassadors of the Friends for Conservation and Development.  The highlight of their visit was a chance to participate in the making of a plastic bottle garbage can.  The basic concept here is that instead of throwing away empty bottles, one can make a very cool and functional trash bin.  Using a re-bar outline, the campers attached rows of four bottles through wires from the top to the bottom of the structure.  After there were enough rows to complete the circle, they were left with a unique place to store their full bags of trash (see the pictures at the end for an image).  The youth ambassadors also brought in jewelry and accessories they had made out of old bottle caps, and gave a talk on the importance of conservation in Chiquibul.  As one of our eco-campers pointed out, “when you destroy the forests, you are destroying us!”  Clearly the messages of the camp are getting through to the youth.

Our presentation today was given by Chaa Creek Senior Naturalist Guide and waste management expert Brion Young.  Brion focused his talk on the importance of the 3 R’s, and demonstrated how Chaa Creek tries to implement these in as many of its daily practices as possible.  The first R, reduce, is the method of cutting down on the products or materials used if they are unnecessary or unneeded.  One of the most innovative ways Chaa Creek reduces waste is by providing guests and staff with water containers and water stations around the property to cut back on water bottles garbage.  The second R, reuse, is the method of using the same item again, either for the same purpose, or for something entirely different.  The eco-campers were quick to point out that yesterday they had learned that many food scraps and items were re-used by Chaa Creek to be turned into compost at the Maya Organic Farm.  The final R, recycle, is the method of changing unwanted or old materials into new products.  Brion showed us the recycling station at Chaa Creek, and demonstrated how old cans and glass bottles could be broken down to be used as filler before pouring cement for pathways and buildings.  When the eco-campers saw all the amazing things that could be done using the 3 R’s they told me how eager they were to bring home some new methods and ideas to share with their families!

After receiving another great lunch from the staff up at The Lodge at Chaa Creek, the campers headed back to the Macal River Camp for a Splash Party!  The kids and counselors got soaped up for games on the giant slip and slide, threw sponges and water balloons, and did everything they could to get as wet and wild as possible.  The boys didn’t even bother using the showers, as they just sprayed the soap off of each other with the hose before calling it a day.  We continued with our nightly campfire, games, and stories and the kids went to bed dreaming (or having nightmares) of the Legend of the Jungle Pirate!  With only two full days left to go, many of the eco-campers have told me they are hoping their parents forget to come and pick them up so they can stay here at Chaa Creek all summer long!

Tomorrow’s theme is Eco-Tourism and Sustainability.

Diani and Emily getting close during the Lifesaver relay

Elias working on the plastic bottle garbage can

Friends for Conservation and Development Youth Ambassador show Kieva his bottle cap belt

The finished environmentally friendly garbage can

Brion Young teaches about the 3 R’s

The girls try to break the end of the boy’s chain on the slip and slide

Elias with a face full of soap

The four eco teams get ready for a caterpillar race

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  1. Very good articloe. When I was young the three “R’s” were something completely different. They were about learning at school. “Reading”, “Riting”, and “Rythmetic”. Lol! But, it seems that there is much still to do in this area of bio-medical waste disposal. However, your article can only help to raise awareness and improve things in understanding waste disposal.


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