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Day 5: An Ode to Monkey River

July 30, 2012

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From Will, Karen, & Meg:

Today we woke up early to get the day started,

but some birds remained hidden and had us outsmarted.

We had a big breakfast of beans, coffee, and fruit,

then left to teach lessons to kids that were cute.

We taught and they learned,

They listened and played,

We clapped and cheered,

For all the friends that we made.

They sang us a song about butterflies,

Then we hugged and shook hands,

And said our goodbyes.

We boarded the bus and we home home for a dip,

So far this has been an incredible Belize trip.

And as a footnote let’s not forget,

Our trip to Maya Center was totally legit.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    July 30, 2012 1:49 pm

    The institute is providing such a wonderful opportunity for everyone! Kevin’s friends at Gorges State Park are definitely jealous! We are not surprised to see him sharing a snake with the youngsters 🙂 Take care and well wishes to Kevin and all at the institute. Safe travels and can’t wait to hear about it all when you get back.

    • July 30, 2012 5:59 pm

      Hello to you Mary, Gorges State Park, and North Carolina State Parks! The trip has been wonderful! Incredible people, culture, and wildlife in an absolutely beautiful country. We have been extremely fortunate in our experiences, and as you mentioned, to my excitement, we have seen snakes. 4 thus far. 2 Green headed Vine Snakes (one pictured), 1 Coffee Snake, and a Coral Snake. Opposite to many of my fellow travelers, I have been actively seeking these legless friends. Night walks through a 150 square mile Jaguar Preserve (on trails we found recant jaguar signs) seeking the Fer-de-lance with people I have grown to call friends has been an experience of a lifetime. This, only second to sharing this passion for snakes with school children many miles away from my typical venue. Thank you for posting!

  2. Tori Jones permalink
    July 30, 2012 4:09 pm

    What kind of things did you guys teach the children?

  3. Gavindra Bharrat permalink
    July 30, 2012 5:39 pm

    Aww cute kids 😛 Did you guys teach the children about the basics of living and functions through biology? Were there any indigenous people or organisms around the area that hinted to the lives/conditions that once existed around the Mayan Center?

    • August 4, 2012 9:23 am


      The kids were amazing – smart, full of energy & so excited about learning! We were split into 4 groups & the children rotated through each of the “teaching stations”. Two of the groups practiced predtor/prey & carrying capacity/habitat relationships but each with a different method & approach. Another group made origami with the children, & the 4th group had the children explore their own habitat using private eyes (magnifying lens you place on your eye) to explore the flora & fauna in their own backyard. A green tree snake was discovered on the second floor of the school house & brought down for the children to see up close & personal. What was interesting to witness was the Belizean teachers & parents back up in fear while the young ones clamored to get a closer look. It was turned into a great learning moment, if you can get people to overcome their fear of other creatures they will be more apt to appreciate thier wonder & place in the world & possibly help protect & preserve.

      Ms, Tracie Roseberry

  4. July 30, 2012 6:14 pm

    Visiting the school at Monkey River was one of my favorite parts of the Tropical Ecology Institute! They were in the middle of building a new school when I was there because the other one was destroyed by a hurricane. I imagine they are in the “new” building by now and hope that your visit was wonderful. Looks like you all have had some wonderful spottings on this trip – flora and fauna! I hope you get to see lots of coral, fishes, and sea turtles on your next leg of the trip! Belize is such a beautiful place!

    • lizbaird permalink
      August 3, 2012 9:17 am

      Hi Katie
      Yes, the two story cement school at Monkey River is finished and home to 4 sections of students. The activities with the kids were a big hit but my highlight was watching the kids interact with some of the wildlife we caught there. We found a Bufo marinus toad, a scorpion, and a green headed vine snake. The students got to look at (and in some cases touch) these animals thanks to the educators and Nathan. I think most adults at Monkey River are uncomfortable with these animals, so it was great to allow the kids a chance to see them.

  5. July 31, 2012 8:59 am

    Reblogged this on NC Museum of Natural Sciences Blogs.

  6. ecologito permalink
    July 31, 2012 7:34 pm

    It seems like by the way of life people from Belize have a very small carbon footprint compared to american way of life. What do you all think would be the one thing that locals could change to improve the quality of life that would have the least environmental impact and/or increase on their carbon footprint?

  7. Meg's Class permalink
    August 1, 2012 10:55 am

    Meg, we enjoyed reading your rhyme. What a beautiful place!
    Your class

    • Meg permalink
      August 3, 2012 11:02 am

      Glad you enjoyed it! The true poet in our group is/was Will. Maybe he will be famous one day and you can say you read his poetry when you were in second grade! See you soon! Meg

  8. Mattie Vorder Bruegge permalink
    August 5, 2012 5:57 pm

    whose idea was it to make the poem? It’s very cool! Also what exactly were you teaching the children?

  9. August 7, 2012 5:43 pm

    As for the poem, the participants of the Educators of Excellence adventure were broken down into four groups of three to four people. Each day we were given a task to collect information (interview, species spotted, climate/geography, journaling) & present to the group as a whole usually before dinner. It was a nice way to revisit all we had experienced and accomplished during the day. Will, Meg, & Karen decided to be creative with their journaling which we all appreciated! Will is quite good and came up with another poem he presented to us all the last day we were there. Go to “Meet the Team” to see who these talented people are.
    At the Monkey River school, my team decided to play a predator/prey game with the children to discuss/practice the concepts of carrying capacity & habitat loss & the need to preserve space for all creatures.

  10. Shawn witter permalink
    August 8, 2012 2:05 pm

    The poem is great. what were some of the greats parts when teaching the kids? p. s. i like teaching so the question sounds kinda peculier. hehe 🙂

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