Tuesday July 24, 2012

We were greeted with a surprise this morning, as a local fox snuck his way up to the kitchen looking for scraps.   What better way for the kids to begin a day focusing on Belizean wildlife than to get to experience it firsthand.

After spending most of the morning playing camp games, practicing for their eco song competition, and working on an arts and crafts project (making bean bags), the campers’ patience was rewarded as we began our journey to the conference center to hear from the experts at the Belize Zoo.  But this was not to be any hike, for the counselors had carefully hidden an assortment of plastic bugs and animals that represented all the forms of Belizean wildlife, including each team mascot.  As this was a team competition, there was extra pressure on the eco-campers as everyone involved wanted to collect the most animals to help his or her team win the prize (the Jaguars came out on top!).  Along the way, our eco-camp naturalist David Juarez was on hand to discuss and answer any questions the children may have had about some of the species of animals they were finding.

The highlight of the day, besides the pizza for lunch, was the visit from Belize Zoo founder and director, Sharon Matola, and educational officer, Jamal Andrewin. The children had already heard that they could expect a visit from Happy, a barn owl used to help educate students on the importance of his species in our eco-systems.

While they excitedly waited for him to make his appearance, Jamal made a point of explaining how all of the different birds of prey play an essential role in maintaining the balance of nature.  With the help of Sharon and her guitar, the eco-campers sang Happy’s theme song and were rewarded as he flew out of his box to visit with the kids!  Once everyone had a chance to see and visit with him, posters and booklets were given out to the campers who could best answer questions on the wildlife lecture they had just received – hands shot up across the room.  Unlike yesterday, once the presentation was over, the children (and counselors) could not wait to get back to camp to jump into the water and cool off from the sun making its first appearance overhead!

Tomorrow we pay a visit to the on-site organic farm for Land Conservation.

The Blue Morphos working on their eco song for the upcoming competition

Walking the road to Lunch

Naturalist Guide David teaching Eco-camper Erick about his team mascot, The Jaguar

Camp Leader Jackie Britts tallying up the scores from the Belizean Wildlife Animal Hunt

Eco Camper Raeesa tries out her new wings with help from Belize Zoo Educator, Jamaal

Belize Zoo Founder and Director, Sharon Matola singing a song with the Kids to help Happy the Owl out of his Box

Sharon and Happy the Barn Owl

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