More Field Work in the Monkey River Watershed

Latitude: 16°31'16.934"N; Longitude: 88°33'39.665"W

We started the morning out nice and early and headed to one of the reaches that feeds into the Monkey River, the Swasey River. Some groups did sand grabs to look at the sediment content of the material coming down to feed the beach of the Monkey River. We all did field observations to look for vegetation types and human activities along the banks of the river and each location we got GPS location. I downloaded those sites tonight and everything is looking good and working so far. Whew!

At the base of the Maya Mountains there is a huge area of banana plantations. It seems the workers working the plantations are Guatemalan immigrants or ingenious Mayan. Though there was a school in the village there were small children running around in the middle of the day, asking us questions. Other kids were helping to dig a ditch that will help irrigate the bananas. There was also a moderately-sized and newly constructed water tower paid for by the Belize government and European Commission.

In the afternoon our group surveyed the local health clinic to ask questions about any correlations with health and climate change. After that we visited the Banana Growers Association to talk about climate change effects on growing, harvesting, and selling bananas to a global market. Bananas are the poor man’s fruit so if costs go up to grow a banana, as a result of hurricane’s damaging the plants or rot of the plant because of too much rain at one time, will consumers pay? What will YOU pay for a banana.

After dinner we had another terrific group discussion about each others field experience It rounded out the two days of field work quite nicely. We are in the Monkey River area for just two days and had to make sense of a place quickly. I think this approach, with three group each doing something very different yet related field activities and techniques. These discussions were illuminating for all of us and helped to weave all of it together.

Tomorrow is a travel day. I hope we finally have internet access.

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