"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what weunderstand; and we will understand only what we are taught." - Baba Dioum, 1968
Fostering a love for nature means experiencing it first-hand. For over 8 years, I have worked as a leader and naturalist for ecotourism and scientific research expeditions. These expeditions are a way to conduct important scientific research while teaching and learning with others about the value of our natural world. I have been lucky enough to work with hundreds of participants on trips to learn about and help study bottlenose dolphin and other marine species in Belize and Mexico.
In some places I lead groups at my own research sites, and in others I join participants to improve their experiences in nature by interpreting the science and trying to tell a story about it.
I've worked with hundred of volunteers and students with organizations including: Road Scholar, Ecology Project International, National Geographic Student Expeditions, Walking Tree Travel, and Broadreach.
You walk upon cool sand in the early morning to watch the sunrise brilliant and beaming. It’s time to see some life at sea.
You board a small boat, making sure to splash yourself ankle deep before casting off into blue. The birds that eye you depart with suspicions of fish thieving are feeding in this hopping frenzied way you only try if yours legs are little stalks.
The morning sun abates and the sea begins a slow and steady churning. At sea, resting mother/calf whales and begin their daylit day, mama breathing immense and slow. Whooooosh. Her rambunctious baby takes this chance to leap high into a blue and white sky only only to crash unceremoniously near her head.
Piping hoards of dolphins begin to pursue their prey in partnership with seabirds, one spewing waves of underwater clicks in hot pursuit of fish and the other spying by eye from above. We spy on the lot of them ourselves with a little aerial drone and listen to their chatter and intrepid whale song through hydrophones and glorious little speakers connecting us to a world unseen, only heard. Tired and cooked, we return to la Barra for afternoon beers and fried fish.
Sound like a trip for you?
Student learning should involve real world experiences. Can we bring students to the field as young scientists tackling an issue? You sure can! We coordinated a trip to Sarteneja, Belize with a high school group from Beaver Country Day School. Chestnut Hill, MA. Networked with local connections on the ground in Belize to create novel research-based experiences for high school students.
Read about our Beaver Trip's to Belize in 2017 and 2018 here!