Belize CabanasBelize: Marine Ecology and Rainforest Conservation

Are you interested in animals, conservation, and marine biology? Do you love traveling? Would you like to get some hands-on experience in ecology field research? Join a group of fellow high school students, a Zoo professional, and guides from Ecology Project International for an adventure in the coral reefs and rainforests of Belize. We’ll explore ecosystems from coral reefs to mangrove forests, sea grass beds to tropical rainforests. You’ll see animals in the wild, including bottlenose dolphins and hundreds of species of tropical fish, and meet researchers who track jaguars and other large mammals in the rainforest. And not only will you meet local researchers – you’ll be collecting real-world data yourselves for ongoing field research projects on dolphins and the invasive lionfish, as well as developing your own research questions. We’ll also meet local high school students – and even learn how to make chocolate!  Whether you’re a prospective marine biologist or just want an amazing summer adventure, this trip is for you.

Date: July 15-23, 2017
Age: Any registered high school student, including those graduating in 2017
Cost: $3,099 per student, plus airfare.
Deposit:  A $500 deposit is due at time of online registration

Register Online

Tentative Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Belize City

  • Meet your MN Zoo trip leader at the airport for travel to Belize!
  • Meet your EPI instructor team in Belize City
  • Head straight to your field station (either the atoll or the rainforest, depending on finalized itinerary)

Day 2-5: Marine Ecology on Turneffe Atoll

  • Spot resident dolphin pods en route to the research station
  • Dive into lessons on lionfish, reef ecology, and conservation issues in Belize
  • Explore mangroves and sandbars; snorkel in azure waters
  • Conduct in-the-water reef transects to collect data on invasive fish species and coral health

Day 6-7: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Head inland to a jaguar sanctuary deep in the rainforest
  • Collect mammal tracking and camera data for tapirs, peccary, jaguars, and other forest mammals
  • Gather bird sighting data and hike to a gorgeous waterfall
  • Go on a night hike to experience the abundance of nocturnal life in the rainforest

Day 8: Culture Exchange

  • Visit the Mayan Cultural Center and enjoy a Mayan meal
  • Learn how to make chocolate and tortillas (the traditional way)

Day 9: Depart from Belize City Airport

 

If you would like more information, or to be placed on the interested list for any future trips, please e-mail Liz Dengate at liz.e.dengate@state.mn.us.