Why Belize and its Underwater World this Summer?
A service trip to the underwater world of Belize will completely change the way you view the sea.
If you have ever considered studying or working in science or marine biology this is a great way to learn what it’s all about. It will introduce you to new skills, and give you a grounding in invasive species management, marine conservation and biology.
If you are looking for more this summer, BELIZE: GUD MAWINTEEN SCUBA AND ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAM may just be the perfect destination for you!
You’ll be in a remote dive camp in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, surrounded by turquoise Caribbean Sea.
First documented in the waters near Florida in the 1980’s, Lionfish will eat anything they can fit in their mouths. According to the Coral Reef Alliance, one lionfish was observed to eat twenty small fish in the space of thirty minutes.
The Lionfish arrived in Belizean waters in 2008 and have been devastating juvenile fish populations ever since. Capable of reproducing year-round, lionfish are out-breeding and out-competing native species. By drastically eliminating the abundance of coral reef fish, the lionfish invasion could represent one of the most devastating marine invasions in history.
You will learn how to hunt lionfish using specially designed spears while diving, a tactic otherwise prohibited in Belize. You’ll also participate in dissections to establish the species that lionfish are feeding on.
The data collected during the surveys will aid national and international research and assist with lionfish population management efforts.The data collected will contribute to research publications, written by field scientists, collected by YOU. By reducing the population through culling dives you will be directly responsible for reducing the pressures of the lionfish invasion in the Caribbean.
Other Fun To Be Had:
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If being a vital link in collecting data and meeting a diverse group of like-minded students from all over the world while snorkeling, sailing, tubing and zip-lining isn’t enough to convince you to be of service in Belize this summer, below are ten more compelling reasons to join us in Belize:
1. Belizean folklore tells of a 3-foot tall dwarf with no thumbs called El Duende. The thumbless dwarf is said to hang out in the forest and he eats children who try to harm the wildlife.
2. Belize has its own version of Big Foot/Sasquatch, called El Sisimito. It is a large creature that has no knees and has its feet on backwards.
3. Be only Central American country where English is the official language, you’ll also hear a mixture of Creole, Spanish, Garifuna and Mayan languages filling the streets.
4. Countries around the world compete for the world’s tallest building, in Belize, they know that size doesn’t matter. El Caana (Sky Place) a Mayan temple as its tallest building!
5. 42% of Belize’s land is protected, over half the country is rainforest, and it contains the only jaguar preserve in the world.
6. At 185 miles, the Belize barrier reef is the largest in the Western hemisphere. Only 10% of Belize’s barrier reef species have been discovered and with 90% still a mystery, there could be all kinds of strange and wonderful creatures out there to explore.
7. No swimming in the ocean or rivers on Good Friday! Belizeans avoid it and believe it is bad luck. Local Mothers can often be heard telling their kids they “will turn fish!” if they swim on this day!
8. No fast food. Belize has no Starbucks, McDonalds, Burger King, or KFC
9. Instead of fast food, you can enjoy the national dish of Belize is Stewed Chicken with Rice and Beans and Potato Salad also called 1, 2, 3.
10. There are 900 Mayan ruins scattered throughout the Belize landscape, impressive structure that housed their elite and worship services. These ruins, over 1500 years old, with many still undiscovered beneath the forest floor wait to be explored.
Join us, and, as they say in Belize…Waitbruk down bridge — Don’t wait too long!
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For a good list of Lionfish facts and recipes click here.