Tag Archives: Coral Ed-ventures

Education in and for the World- Students in the Coral Reef EdVentures program are at it again!

6 Jul
Coral Reef Ed-Ventures is an environmental education collaboration between Smith College’s environmental science and policy program and Hol Chan Marine Reserve on Ambergris Caye, Belize. The Coral Ed program uses experiential, place-based education to build a community of youth who are confident stewards of their local environment. Each summer, Smith student teachers head to Belize to lead local children in research, facilitate the creation of art and music, play games, and provide opportunities for the children to interact with and learn from community members engaged in conservation work. This year, six Smith students are in Belize running the program for its 16th summer.
The 2015 team, from left to right: Elena Karlsen-Ayala, ’16; Shabnam Kapur, ’16; Laura Henry, ’16; Riley Gage, ’15; Emily Volkmann, ’16; Mandy Castro, ’17

We asked biological sciences major (track 5: biology and education) Mandy Castro, ’17 to take a moment out of her busy day to answer a few questions for us:

Q: What inspired you to apply to participate in Coral Ed?
A: This is exactly what I aspire to do as a profession, which is to teach biology to kids. Coral Ed also has given me a wonderful opportunity to do just that and partake in various forms of research from scuba diving and surveying sea fans to taking kayaks to the mangroves and getting my feet wet with drone research.
DSCN0817                           Mandy, left, and team mate surveying sea fans in Belize.

Q: What do you hope to take away from your experience this summer?
A: I hope to acquire better classroom management skills and more practice creating curriculum for varying age groups.

Q: What has been the biggest adjustment for you now that you are in Belize?
A: The biggest adjustment for me would be the heat and the humidity. I am a California girl born and raised where we only experience dry heat. So this totally took me outside my physical comfort zone.

Q: What has been a highlight of the experience thus far?
A: One of my favorite experiences was the crocodile trip through the lagoon during advanced camp. Seeing the crocodile wrangler in action by jumping into the water and capture a crocodile was an exciting experience for the campers and as well as for us, the teachers.

Read more about the Coral Ed program, follow the students’ blog (click on the year on the top menu) and more at http://sophia.smith.edu/blog/coraledventures/coral-ed-2015/

Postcard From Coral Ed-ventures in Belize

14 Jun

As the Smith College Coral Reef Ed-Ventures Program enters its 13th year, students participate in another fun and educational summer running youth camps in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Below is a recent email update we received from the Smith women spending their summer teaching and learning abroad in Belize. 

A view from the Mayan Princess, where students stay before relocating to their apartment:

Dear Coral Ed Alums, family and friends,

Greetings from La Isla Bonita!

We arrived in San Pedro Monday mid-morning to a bit of a overcast and gloomy day. After checking in at the Mayan Princess we said hi to all of our many friends and colleagues on the island. After moving into Mellie’s apartment, we started visiting schools and making appointments to advertise for camp. When we stopped in at Hol Chan to talk to Miguel and Mariela, we met Kirah, a biologist, who suggested the students in advanced camp could participate in a long-term sea grass density project. This project will involve students working along shallow transects and collecting core samples and data on sea grass density, salinity, and water temperature. We’re really excited about this new opportunity for our advanced campers! And also for providing helpful hands for Hol Chan’s research!  Our students may also have a chance to compare their data to data from other sites where information has already been collected.

The three returners are happy to be back!  The three new team members are excited and getting acclimated to the heat! Megan has started SCUBA with Eddie and the rest of the team is looking forward to doing a refresher dive with Eddie later this week to prepare for research. We just confirmed our first movie night will happen this Saturday. We’re planning on showing Rio and will busy making posters tonight after dinner.

Hope everyone is doing well. We would love to hear from you.

Sending you sun and love from San Pedro!



Kaylyn, Angela, Alyssa, Megan, Laura, & Kayla