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Honduras

Roatán Marine Park

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Conservation benefit: “Junior Park Rangers of Roatán” program to foster youth involvement in conservation programs at Roatán Marine Park

Date Approved: 06.2014

Ecotourism

This project supports a local conservation-based tourism initiative.

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

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.

Project Updates

May 2016

This project is now complete. For the older teens, especially, it was valuable. Our project partner reports that most of the participants who were 16 or older progressed to PADI Rescue Diver certification.

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December 2015

Another larger group of teenagers began the diving certification program in November. In addition to diving instruction, the kids have participated in beach clean-ups and have identified fish and coral while snorkeling.

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May 2015

The start date has been moved to June 8, 2015, when the youth who would participate in it would be out of school on break.

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January 2015

The program is scheduled to begin around the end of January 2015.

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