24 Newly Emerged Belizean Environmentalists!
Day 5: The 3 R’s of Conservation
FRIDAY! When arts and crafts were over, the campers lined up to hike to the Lodge for a presentation on the day’s theme, the three R’s of conservation: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The head of Chaa Creek’s Natural History Center and Butterfly Farm, Brion Young, gave a PowerPoint presentation that taught the campers not only about the benefits of being eco-friendly, but the extent to which one can be eco-friendly. For instance, part of Chaa Creek’s commitment to being eco-tourism is its commitment to its surrounding community. Not only donating ten percent of all room revenue to support the surrounding San Ignacio metropolitan community, but also the community of Chaa Creek itself.
They also listened to employees of each department about their duties, and how they are responsible to follow the three R’s. For instance, the head of housekeeping and laundry taught them the difference between ecologically responsible cleaning products and those that are not. Although the resort has to spend more money on these products, it reduces their carbon impact on the environment, and it upholds the honesty of Chaa Creek’s commitment to sustainable tourism. Even the chemicals used to treat the horses at the Chaa Creek Stables are eco-friendly!
Speaking of horses, after a macaroni and cheese lunch at the Lodge, the group split in two, with those who didn’t go horseback riding last time around going this time. Once again, those who had initial fears of the powerful creatures were mellowed once they understood how well trained they were!
Day 6: Belize Iguana Hatchery
The reigns were really loosened on the campers for their last full day of this 2015 Eco-Kids Summer Camp. After songs and breakfast, they made their own handbags out of recycled newspaper and reused cardboard and string. Their bags will act as totes for all of their arts and crafts they made during the week! After arts and crafts, the campers played Eco-Kids Jeopardy in their teams. Throughout the week, they were asked to take notes on the lectures, tours, and hikes that they engaged in for this specific reason. The Howler Monkeys and the Jaguars came out on top by thin margins over the Toucans and the Tapirs, and will receive extra special gifts on their way out of camp to take home. While the campers were working their brains hard, the counselors enjoyed sitting back and singing the Jeopardy theme song to put a little added distraction and suspense on the kids!
After Jeopardy, the eco-kids were anxious to get back on the Chaa Creek bus and head to town to visit the San Ignacio Green Iguana Hatchery. They saw baby Iguanas, a humongous adult Iguana, and even an oddly shaped Iguana with a bone deficiency due to lack of calcium in its body. They even got to hold them all, even though the Iguanas probably did more of the holding on than the campers did! There were lots of shrieks as the Iguanas crawled around their shoulders and even onto their heads.
Day 7: Closing Ceremonies & Talent Show For The Parents
The “best week of the year” as Mr. Levi likes to call it, always ends on a little bit of a somber note as the eco-kids see their parents arriving to pick them up and go home. However, not all joy is lost! Campers signed each other’s camp t shirts for memorabilia, helped clean up the camp by team, and had one last breakfast from Mr. Docio & co. before they performed their polished skits for their parents. It wasn’t just the parents that took interest in all the hard work their children put in during the week, though. Various members of the Lodge at Chaa Creek staff hiked up to the River Camp to watch the children perform as well! And of course, the Fleming family was front and center to see how the children enjoyed their learning experience and how they enjoyed being at the Macal River Camp.
The Jaguars, Toucans, Tapirs, and Howler Monkeys performed their skits one more time before enjoying a last lunch with their parents, catered straight from the Lodge. Appropriate thank you’s were given from kids, parents, campers, and counselors before the eco-kids received their diplomas, took a last group picture, mingled, exchanged hugs on their way out. This blogger even got caught up in the fun, while one tricky camper sneaked the camera away to take a few shots for himself! Even though it was a sad morning, everyone involved did their best to make sure that camp ended on a high note rather than a low one.
Although the 2015 Eco-Kids Camp is officially over, the lessons learned and the knowledge obtained about how to be ecologically sustainable and responsible will never leave the campers. But, more importantly, the bonds these campers made with each other, the counselors, and the Chaa Creek staff are now well molded! Campers were eager to exchange information to keep in touch, and a few were already asking Mr. Levi when the camp reunion will occur! Now, we anxiously wait for next year!
Special Thanks To:
- The Lodge at Chaa Creek management and staff
- 2015 Camp Counselors: Levi Baldwin, Sam Euler, Sofi Paz, Regina Requena, Erwin Wills, Erin Manzanero, Cristobal Valerio, Danika Valerio, Lily Jones
- Debbie Baldwin
- Sponsors: Running W Brand Meats, Caribbean Treasures, Go Tees, A&R, 3 Flags, BRC, Rosita Arvigo, Caribbean Chicken, FTC, Grace Kennedy, Western Dairies, Katie Valk, BNE