On Friday, May 24, 2019, Ya’axche Conservation Trust hosted its 4th annual Bioblitz. A bioblitz is a global event where scientists and citizens join up to seek to identify as many species within an area as possible within a given time period. These events have been replicated across the world and serve as an avenue to encourage public engagement and participation in biodiversity conservation. Ya’axche has modified this event to make it accessible to upper primary school level children. This year, Ya’axche hosted over 120 children from schools of the Maya Golden Landscape at their Golden Stream Corridor Preserve Field Station. Throughout the day children learned about Ya’axche’s ongoing biodiversity monitoring and research efforts, and students were given the opportunity to gain hands on lessons in navigation and orienteering, bird monitoring point counts, mammal camera trapping, freshwater invertebrate monitoring and identification and tree identification. Students from the villages of Big Falls, Silver Creek, San Miguel and Bladen spent the entire day with Ya’axche staff and rangers to learn about the organizations ongoing work in protected areas management and biodiversity conservation. In addition to learning about monitoring and research skills and wildlife identification, students received educational tools to encourage them to continue their citizen science within their homes. Each student received a notebook, pen, pencil, ruler and wildlife identification pamphlet to assist them in recording species in their backyards and schools. Students who correctly answered questions in a special quiz event held at the end of the day also received reusable waterbottles as an added bonus. Ya’axche’s event was featured on local and national news media outlets and students relayed positive feedback about the day’s events. Most students enjoyed learning new skills and spending the day outdoors in the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve. Parents and teachers appreciated the educational value of the event in promoting citizen conservation and science education at the primary school level. Ya’axche thanks all its donors and sponsors for making this year’s Bioblitz a success, and the staff appreciates the opportunity to engage with the most impressionable cohort of local communities to become involved in conservation efforts and protect their natural resources.
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