Mangrove restoration, can you dig it ?

Posted: August 30, 2014 by Central America Overland Expeditions in Expedition/Travel
Tags: , , , ,

by Bernard Barbour, photos by Tammy Barbour.

A canal in Seine Bight Village is now sporting a new look.

A Seine Bight Village mangrove planting project was carried out Saturday morning August 30. Over 20 kids from the village of Seine Bight participated in planting 121 mangrove seedlings in the canal. The kids worked very hard and took a great deal of pride and satisfaction in their work. “ I’ll be back tonight to check on my mangrove” said one of the kids. Another chimed in “Number fifty is mine” as he counted the freshly planted seedlings lining the canal. After their work was complete, they were all treated to a great lunch for their hard work. There was also a demonstration by Central America Overland Expeditions, who provided two volunteers, explaining the importance of ecological conservation and displaying their expedition vehicle. The roof top tent certainly proved to be the highlight of the day as many of the children clamored up and down the ladder to check it out, and hear stories about camping the jungles of Belize.

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The Southern Environmental Association (http://seabelize.org/who-we-are/)  SEA, in association with the Global Climate Change Alliance (http://www.gcca.eu/national-programmes/caribbean/gcca-belize) sponsored the event. Starting at 9:30 AM and lasting about 3 hours, it proved to be challenging and rewarding. Abigail Parham-Garbutt, Annelise Hagan and Arreini Palacio-Morgan from SEA were on hand to provide leadership and organizational support. Also Mr Ellis Guzman was present, providing support and encouragement, a community member of Seine Bight Village.

This project, “Enhancing Belize’s Resilience to Adapt to the Effects of Climate Change”, launched in September 2012 is being implemented by the United Nations Development Program in partnership with the Government of Belize and Southern Environmental Association. With funding from the European Union Global Climate Change Alliance, the GCCA  aims to enhance adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change in national policies and demonstrate action in support of effective governance of climate change and climate change related impacts in the water sector in Belize.

Like coral reefs, mangrove forests are extremely productive ecosystems that provide numerous goods and services both to the marine environment and people. “Mangroves provide vital nursery grounds for many fish species, as well as crabs, shrimp, mollusks and more” said Annelise Hagan. “The dense root systems of mangroves also trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land, thereby helping to stabilize the coastline and preventing erosion from waves and storms” she added.

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Prior to Saturday’s activities, SEA conducted educational training to the kids that were involved in the project. Abigail Parham-Garbutt tested the children’s knowledge prior to planting the seedling. “How deep do you have to dig the hole, how do you handle a mangrove?” were just a few of the many questions that the kids blurted out the correct answer to in unison before the first seedling was planted.

By the end of the morning, after inspecting and approving of the work performed,  Arreini gave the word it was time to eat. We didn’t waste anytime.  While you may not have mangroves where you live, there is plenty you can do. Think globally, and act locally.

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