- Press Release, Caye Caulker Ocean Academy, Monday, January 24, 2011- The prestigious Ashoka Changemakers Geotourism Challenge 2010 is themed “Places on the Edge: Saving Coastal and Freshwater Destinations”. There were 250 entries from 54 countries; Caye Caulker Ocean Academy’s project was chosen as one of the twelve finalists. Expert judges selected the most innovative solutions for coastal, waterway and island destinations that protect the environment and strengthen the heritage and livelihoods of local residents.
The three finalists who get the most online votes by February 2nd will each earn USD $5000 for their project. Log on with your vote today at www.changemakers.com/coasts.
Ocean Academy was founded in 2008 as the first non-profit community high school on Caye Caulker (www.cayecaulkerschool.com). In addition to the Form I-IV standard curriculum, Ocean Academy offers many specialized and site-based programs. Aquatic Careers in Tourism (ACT P.E.) classes include scuba certification, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and swimming. In the World of Work (WOW) Apprenticeship Program students can shadow a variety of career options, such as assisting marine biologists with a mangrove restoration project, coral reef surveys and beach cleanups. Other popular elective choices include Tour Guide Training, and Graphic Design. Science students research practical solutions to waste management on a small island. Instruction is hands-on, interactive, and relevant to real-life issues.
Ocean Academy’s school motto is “Protecting our Heritage, Creating our Future”. Environmental education and sustainable tourism are important studies to fulfilling that vision. Nationally, a Caye Caulker Ocean Academy student was honoured in 2009 with Youth for the Future’s Environmental Award. Locally, the Caye Caulker Village Council granted funds in 2010 for the school’s composting project and small business venture of culinary herb sales. The international panel of judges for Geotourism 2010 is very impressed with Ocean Academy’s innovative approach to education and commitment to youth engagement in Belize. They also like the school’s inclusion of the skill sets offered by voluntourists (tourists who travel to a destination specifically to volunteer).
Vote for Caye Caulker Ocean Academy at www.changemakers.com/coasts and show your support for innovative education projects in Belize. Be a Changemaker!