Roatán is the largest of the three Bay Islands of Honduras and has over 95 square kilometers (23,475 acres) of coral reefs around it. Tourism is one of the island’s economic mainstays. Roatán Marine Park is a grassroots, community-based, nonprofit organization that runs a broad range of activities — including patrols and infrastructure, education, conservation and public awareness — to protect Roatán’s natural resources.
A program called Protect Our Pride (POP) trains adult islanders to be reef stewards as well as professional scuba instructors. However, there are no comparable programs for youth and teenagers.
The new Seacology-funded Junior Park Rangers of Roatán project, run by Roatán Marine Park, will offer a complete immersion in environmental education about the island’s marine and coastal resources. The program will give students hands-on training in activities such as turtle and coral reef monitoring, recreational scuba-diving, and snorkeling. It will connect them with their island’s natural heritage, increasing awareness and knowledge about acting as stewards of their natural resources. The training will also build skills that will let them find good jobs in the tourism sector.