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The Gap Year Blog

My First Week In Belize - Into The Wild Blog - Frontier

17 May 2018 15:55 PM

After 6 months of working in Frontier’s London Headquarters as a research intern, the natural and exciting next step for me was to join one of the organisation’s conservation projects as an Assistant Research Officer. 

A part of being a research intern involved reading into each and every one of Frontier’s conservation projects and within my first week I had already fallen in love with Belize and the incredible research that is taking place here. And so, 6 months later I left London to experience it for myself. 

As anyone can imagine, being a member of staff in the field is worlds apart from being a member of staff in London. Working from a desk was quickly changed to working on a beach; being constantly connected to the world was changed to having little to no outside communication. These changes have, however, allowed me to become so much more connected to nature than to my phone. 

Camp Life

What is life like on camp, you ask? Basic. And I don’t mean this in a negative way. Cooking on a gas fire and spending the nights out on the dock, getting to know my new family while appreciating the beauty of the sea and mangrove surrounding us, listening to all the incredible marine creatures jumping in and out of the water has become far more appealing than having any sort of modern amenities. Needless to say, I am rapidly calling this piece of paradise my home. 

The surveys done by Frontier in Belize focus on corals, fish, lobsters and mangroves - making a huge contribution to the controlled management of the marine reserve within Caye Caulker. The importance of this research is becoming clearer and clearer with every day that I am here. With resorts beginning to replace the beautiful and important mangrove forests, and consistent damage being done to the coral reefs and therefore the creatures that dwell within, we are beginning to see the negative effects of such activities on important species within our own lifetimes - something that has shocked me immensely, especially when witnessing it first-hand. 

Corals and marine life are under threat

Such things have made my drive to contribute greatly to this incredible research so much stronger, and I cannot wait to see what will come over the next few months. 

‘And as I watched the sun set over the expanse of mangrove forest, I knew I was home.’

By Claudia Afeltra – Assistant Research Officer | Frontier Belize Marine Conservation

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!