CCFR would never have reached its current level without the dedicated participation of the children of the Caye Caulker Youth Environment Club of Caye Caulker RC School. From Fall 2007 to present day, these youth, whether current members or not, have taken tremendous interest in the activities associated with CCFR. Whether watering, planting, picking rubbish, reclaiming trail from the clutches of Hurricane Dean (Cat. 5, 22 Aug 2007) or preparing Littoral Forest Experimental Forests, these children maintained good humour and a sense of adventure as they braved mosquitos and sandflies to get the job done.
During our second PACT Foundation grant, we targeted school trips, combining education with conservation activities in the field. Activities were generally divided into two major elements, depending upon the season. For dry season activities, students generally watered littoral forest seedlings and shore-located mangroves; picked up rubbish; prepared littoral forest sites by burning debris, raking and piling rubbish; and, in the case of Ocean Academy High School, painted signs destined for deployment within CCFR. Ocean Academy student apprentices work alongside marine biologists to learn more about wetland and marine ecology issues and solutions. For wet season activities, students concentrate on planting littoral forest and mangrove seedlings and propagules, watering plants as required, and picking up garbage.
Students derive a better understanding and linkage with CCFR when they are providing life-giving water to thirsty-looking plants, and when they are planting something that will become a living tree or shrub into the soil. When they see the trail without rubbish, they become enthusiastic realizing that it was by their own efforts that the trail section or Experimental Forest area has so markedly improved in appearance. Refreshments are always served, and at the end of the work day, if weather and time permit, swimming activities follow.