World Wetlands Day 2002: Belize

07/03/2002


The Belize Zoo &
Tropical Education Center
P.O. Box 1787 * Belize City, Belize * Central America
Tel: 501-081-3004 Fax: 501-081-3010
E-Mail: belizezoo@btl.net
http://www.belizezoo.org/

World Wetlands Day 2002 Event Held in Belize, Central America

Dear Mrs. Hails,

In an effort to promote wetlands education and preservation in accordance with the RAMSAR Convention, we wish to report to RAMSAR the activities that took place in Belize, Central America in commemoration of World Wetlands Day 2002. On Saturday, February 2, 2002 the First Annual World Wetlands Day Teachers Workshop was held. The workshop saw the participation of 16 teachers from all around the country with participants representing three of Belize's six districts. The all-day workshop included a presentation of RAMSAR work in Belize, from Belize's RAMSAR Coordinator, John Pinelo. This was followed by a presentation on the benefits of wetlands to the people of Belize. The teachers were introduced to variety of games and activities surrounding the theme of wetlands, which could be conducted in their classrooms. The teachers became students themselves and played Wetland Tag, Wetland BINGO, and participated in numerous other activities throughout the day. The day was capped off with a canoe ride through a beautiful wetland, where the teachers learned to identify wetland vegetation, including sundew, water lilies, water cabbage, water hyacinth and horsetail. This pristine wetland ends where a cave begins. The teachers skillfully canoed through the cave avoiding the hanging stalactites and swooping bats. Upon returning from this great wetland adventure, the teachers completed a posttest, workshop evaluation and received their World Wetlands Day 2002 Participation Certificates.

The workshop was deemed a success by all. The teachers left with not only a greater appreciation of the beauty of wetlands, but also a folder full of wetland information complete with numerous lesson plans involving wetland activities and World Wetland Day 2002 materials to post around their classrooms. The teachers' comments on the post evaluation best illustrates the impact the workshop had on its participants. "I would recommend this workshop to other teachers, because many times we teach about these areas (wetlands), but we have never stepped into one before." "This workshop was an eye opener. It allowed us to gather ideas and strategies for educating our children on how to take care of wetlands, which is an area often neglected in teaching about Belize's natural resources." "This workshop was both adventurous and educational. Before this workshop I thought of wetlands as a no-good wasteland, but definitely not now." "It is not often that teachers get first-hand experience of observing nature at its best. Today was truly an unforgettable experience."

The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, which facilitated the workshop, would like to thank RAMSAR for all of the World Wetlands Day 2002 materials, which were dutifully distributed among the workshop participants.

Yours in Conservation,

________________________
Stephanie Lipe
Environmental Educator
The Belize Zoo

Teachers create metaphors for wetlands using everyday objects

Teachers preparing to canoe through pristine wetlands.

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