By Sarah Adams, Expedition Manager, Sarteneja, Belize. The theme for BV Belize primary school teaching session this expedition was conservation and natural resources. We accompanied 25 pupils from the Standard V class at Sarteneja’s RC School to Shipstern Nature Reserve for a tour of the nature reserve given by a Shipstern Park Ranger. The children were taken round the Butterfly Sanctuary and Breeding project and on a “jungle tour” through the semi-tropical and deciduous forest that makes up the reserve. The Ranger told the children about the trees and plants found along the trail and their medicinal and commercial uses, as well as describing the threat to Belize’s forests through illegal logging.
Blue Ventures staff and volunteers then followed this up with a classroom session based on the visit to the reserve. We focussed on butterflies and their natural habitats and the impact of habitat loss on different species. This was a good session which the children enjoyed very much; the team included an effective outside game which got the kids moving and thinking about what they had learned.
Blue Ventures staff and volunteers also joined the standard V class in week 1 of our expedition, to help with reading for some of the children who struggle with English. We are able to offer individual native-speaker support to these children in a village where English is the second or even third language of many of the inhabitants. We plan to make this a regular activity in 2011.