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Redwood Bark

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Ecology teacher faciliates hands-on learning with a trip to Belize


Science teacher Joe Stewart is coordinating a trip to study dolphins, manatees, mangroves and more in Belize over Spring Break. The trip, which is coordinated by Ecology Project International and open to all Redwood students, aims to expose students to scientific research and cultural exchange over their nine-day stay on the Caribbean coast.

This is the first time Ecology Project International is coordinating a trip to Belize, and Stewart is excited to take part in the pilot program. “I’ve been on a few other trips with the program, which is why they chose me to lead this pilot trip.”

According to the Ecology Project itinerary, students will arrive in Belize City on April 6 and take a boat to Blackbird Caye, where they will spend five days actively studying dolphins from a boat and in the water. In addition, they will have the opportunity to scuba dive and observe coral reef and mangrove health.

The trip will be both educational and fun, according to Stewart. “It’s really about a lot of different things,” Stewart said as he explained his reasons for providing the trip. “Students get a chance to practice hands-on science, make friends within the group that goes, and learn about the culture.”

After having completed their field work, the group will lodge in a traditional resort located in the middle of the Belizean rainforest. Over their four-day stay, they will live with local guides and visit swimming holes, caves, and Mayan ruins.

According to Stewart, the $3,250 tuition, which covers food, lodging, materials, plane tickets, and tours, is subject to change depending on the number of students who attend.

“It’s not cheap, but the program is a non-profit, so all the money is really used towards the student,” Stewart said. “I’ve had kids do bake-sales or write letters to raise money, and we’re hoping to get some money and knock a couple hundred dollars off of the price.”

The minimum number of attendees is 10, while the upper limit is 14.

“Nine people have already signed up,” Stewart said, adding that he’s hoping to see more people commit soon.

Students interested in the Belize trip are encouraged to contact Stewart at his Redwood email, [email protected].


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