Mission Infiltration

23 06 2010

Seeing as I have no friends or social life to speak of in Belize City, I decided that I should put some of my multitudes of spare time to good use and be a better global citizen by volunteering.  I contacted pretty much every marine conservation NGO working in Belize, enthusiastically offering my services.  Surprise surprise, after 2 weeks, the grand tally of my responses was ZERO.  Being deterred simply was not an option, considering the alternative – more time to myself locked away in Casa Gnoma.  Although I suppose I could always join a street gang…

Hence, “mission infiltration” was born.  Goal: to weasel the Winterbottom into the heart of Belize’s marine NGO community.

I attended a forum against offshore drilling in Belize (don’t even get me started…GAH) and there I met my target: an unsuspecting scientist by the name of Melanie McField, who heads up an initiative called “Healthy Reefs for Healthy People”.  Well, that sounds nice to me, I like health. After the presentations, I stalked her like a cheetah would a springbok in the African savannah, except without the whole chase and blood n guts thing.  [Can you tell I am on Planet Earth overload?].  The point is I emerged victorious, with business card in hand and shit eating grin on my face.  Step one…completed!

After momentarily struggling with how long I should wait before I make contact, I decided the answer was immediately.  You can’t afford to play it cool when you’re desperate.  So contact I made and a meeting was granted.  High fiiiiiives people.  And yada yada yada…you are now reading the blog of Healthy Reefs for Healthy People’s newest volunteer!

The initiative is actually super cool.  It is a collaborative effort between the likes of World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society & Conservation International, among others, to measure the health of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef ecosystem using a series of indicators they developed.  I will be helping out with their “Report Card”, which seeks to provide and disseminate information on the condition of the reef resources and the degree of success in managing them.  There were also allusions to fieldwork, helping start up a coral nursery on one of the local cayes.

Woo hoo – lobsters AND reef health – who needs friends???

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