Students did post to this blog site while we conducted our field study. We invite your comments and thoughts.

Our field deployment focused on three chief tasks; 1. Mapping the reef floor in 3D, 2. Shoreline Marine Debris investigation, and 3. Environmental characteristics sampling. All went exceedingly well.

This was the second trip in our long term plans. Our first trip and proof of concept was completed with great success in the Fall of 2009; our next proposed trip will be Fall 2010. Don't you want to join us?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Late News! Hurricane Richard hit the caye.

Hi folks. Although this blog has been largely dormant for a while I wanted to post some content from Ruth of Huracan Diving, she and Karel weathered the storm on the caye. Ruth has some images and video on her facebook.com page (http://www.facebook.com/ruth.devacht) and I linked my page to hers. I also have some of her images in a new gallery at sirespics.smugmug.com where you will find a gallery "Long Caye After Richard".

Everyone is okay as far as I hear. Damage was limited mostly to the flora, all buildings are standing.

We are headed back in the Spring with our travel being over the Spring Break week.

Thanks. Scott.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We are back!

These trips are like a formal family meal - something on which many long hours are spent planning, arranging, outfitting and for which every possible need is considered, only to have the meal consumed quickly, even finished before everyone has a chance to sit down and eat. After which we end up in the kitchen washing mountains of pots and pans and wondering if the meal was worth all the work? Then as we complete the cleanup and think about finally sitting down a dinner guest visits the kitchen to let it be known the main course was a bit dry this year and how much they are looking forward to the next family meal when there will be a chance to get it right.

We all relate to being the host of the feast - we all worked long hours planning, arranging, outfitting and considering our every possible need while on a small private island where every item needed must be carried in, used and then carried out. It was hot, hard, humid, tough work and yet oddly we are grateful to have had the opportunity. We look forward to our next trip and to the resulting rewards.

On a more serious note, we experienced great successes. We doubled the volume of samples and of analytical processes for our environmental characterizations and incorporated NOAA's GLOBE Program protocols for each sample type. We increased the rigor and accuracies of the sea floor collection, capturing twice the volume of data while adding geo-located pictures of the sea floor. And we deployed a student conceived methodology to better collect and categorize the shoreline and debris information while also adding tidal data collection and mapping as well as photographic documentation of the debris per collection cell.

Student blog posts and journal content again revealed this experience as life altering and attitude changing. Students credit the class with renewed appreciations and increased interest in the coral reefs and the issues that affect them.

This on-going project will be presented in July in San Diego at the ESRI Annual User Conference, in July/August in Calgary, Alberta, Canada at the GLOBE Annual Partner Meeting and in October in Orlando at the League for Innovation first Annual STEMtech conference.

For more information on our program check out dcccd.edu/gis.

Thanks for following us on the blog and for your interests and comments.
Best regards,

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Its our last day on the island. Today was our free day so a bunch of us swam out to the aquarium. The same person who spotted our last shark spotted one today, and just like last time I didn't get to see it. The aquarium was awesome. there were several different species of fish out there and it was just beautiful. When we got back to the island one of the locals spotted a two foot Nurse Shark that he pulled out of the water with his bare hands so that we could all pet it. It was a very fun day and now we are getting ready for another bonfire.

From Long Caye,
Martin Flores

Taylor Savant

So today has been one of the most interesting days so far. A group of about ten of us went out to the aquarium. It was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. We saw sharks tons of coral and several schools of fish. Belize is one of the most amazing places that you could ever see.

Good times in Belize

Today was the last day and it was awesome! We went to the aquarium (highly populated coral and fish area about a quarter mile from shore) and it was more spectacular than anything I expected to see here!  First off, I saw another shark...I promise I'm not trying to find them!  This one was smaller at least and didn't bother us.  Saw lots of beautiful fish and coral and dived down as far as my ears could stand it.  I found a really pretty shell on the way back but it turned out to have an inhabitant so I'm just going home with a photo :(
When we got out of the water, one of the local guys here found a sleeping baby nurse shark near the shore.  He grabbed it with his bare hands and let us touch it! He was about a foot long and had two long fangs and made an odd squeeking sound when we touched him.  Then he was tossed back into the water.  It was so cool! The guy said he had never tried to grab one before.  Upon arriving back at camp we all realized how sunburn we were! I knew I wouldn't get out of here without one. 
We're about to have one last small bonfire and that's it! I'm excited to get back home but thoroughly enjoyed my time here and would do it again without thinking twice.
See you soon!


Cheryl's Journal

Today was a free day.  Spent the morning with several of my peers
kayaking and snorkeling the aquarium beyond the reef.
A mild sunburn was a given.  Collected some shell and took
photos of my last sunset on Long Caye.  This has been
a wonderful learning experience. 


Jesse Jackson

Its been another great day on the island. It was our free day and we were able to do anything. I have been wanting to get out in the clear blue waters and explore coral and all the fish. I saw so many types flourescent colored fish and corals. I got some great photos. Its fun meeting people from different cultures and learning how they live, what they do for fun, and what they eat. Its been quite an experience. They say don't worry, no problem. Its an extremely relaxed lifestyle. They work really hard to make to create this type of atmosphere. I would definatley come back to the islands in Belize.

Marci - Farewell to Long Caye

Last night in Belize... Sad to leave such an amazing place, but so ready to be back home. We got so much done here, yet there's so much left to do! Really looking forward to seeing all of our data mapped out; I am sure it will look great. We are blessed on our final night here with a beautifully clear, starry sky and a lovely cooling breeze. I can't think of a better way to wrap up our time here. Dallas, here we come!

-Marci Fermier

Richard Neveau June 5, 2010

Today is my last full day here at Long Caye, Belize.  This morning I was grating coconuts for Seleny.  In turn, gave me cononut juice out of a cononut.  Also, I went snorkeling by the dock with two of my classmates.   At the bonfire, in case you did not know, I was a guest member of a local Belizean drum band.  I will  see you tomorrow in Dallas.

Richard Neveau

Peggy - last night here

I wandered the interior of Long Caye today. I got photos of tree roots, leaves, and new shoots. I wound up back at the shoreline and saw the Osprey flying beside a brown pelican and frigate bird. All three are huge birds but with distinctive shapes. The most common animal here are the iguana and hermit crabs. See you all soon.


Well what excitement we have had. I swam with the sharks (babies) a couple of days ago. That was unquestionably the most amazing experience I have ever had. Everyone went snorkeling today, a few of us (the certified divers) held back and took the zodiac out. We went as far as the wall was that associated with the aquarium that was beautiful. I have some still shots and some video, getting ready to go check it out. I think everyone has had a wonderful experience one to never forget. Well, I've been in the water more this trip than the last one. I didn't get to dive :( but, still an unreal experience. I can't wait to get back in the AC... So, tomorrow, bus, here I come, hotel, and airport, just as soon as I get off the top of the boat. If you know me.... You know I'm on top with the captain. Love everyone. See ya as soon as I get home.

The Last Few Days....

Hi Everyone! I have had a blast here at Long Caye! I feel that we all have accomplished so much!!!! We have collected so much data! Every person here has worked so very hard, and I am so very proud of everyone that has participated on this trip. I think that what we are doing here is great! I think so many people will learn so much from all of the data that we have collected here at Long Caye! This has definitely been an eye opening experience for me. I am looking forward to viewing all of our data in some mapping projects, and slide show presentations. I am looking forward to coming back in the future, and to see how much more data and information we can bring back and show the world!

Love you all,
Valerie Brenner

Last Day (For Now!)

Hey everyone.  We will all be home tomorrow.  I had a great time, again, here in Long Caye.  I hope I will have the opportunity to come back and continue our studies, many more times.  I also hope to share my experiences that I have been afforded with everyone.  I hope to see you all soon.


Goodbye to Long Caye

Well, time to say goodbye.  The boat comes in the morning to take us back to Belize City and begin our journey home.  This time has been a great adventure and certainly builds on our work last time.  We continued to learn about the Caye and the reef environment. 

Bob Winstead

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wrapping up

It has been great to be back in Long Caye!  This week the weather has somewhat cooperated by giving us lots of sunshine.  However, it has come with a price of bugs, heat and the ever present humidity.  This is quite a contrast to the rain in November.

Today we worked to scrub data and were able to bring over our gis data which showed our progress in mapping the sea, cleaning the shoreline, and cataloging our observations and understanding of the environment.  I feel I am getting to know the Caye and the reef surrounding it much better after two visits.

One of the things that has been more pronounced this time is the impact of the weather on equipment.  Even equipment supposedly able to be used outside has been impacted by the heat.  Computers, and other electronics have acted whacky.  Battery operated fans (a necessity this time) have started going down one at a time.  The batteries have heated up enough to melt wires.

I am looking forward to a shower, steak and lots of ice water when I get home. 

Bob Winstead

The end is near!

It's been a great week.  I've seen and done so many new things and I'm kind of sad to leave so soon.  But I'm also ready for a real shower and air conditioning and to not be getting my blood sucked by bugs at ever moment!
Today's exciting moment involved snorkeling off the dock and nearly running into a good size shark! I didn't panic as bad as you would think but I was still at a loss for what the best thing to do in that situation is! I decided a calm b-line back to the dock was probably best and it worked.  I'm glad I got to see one but I never expected it would be that close!

Time for a shower! Can't wait to see/talk to friends and family again! See you soon!


Christy W- Farewell Long Caye

We've been very busy consolidating data and scrubbing data. Also been making preparations for transport of equipment home. Though its been fun; working hard and collecting data, I think its sinking in that we will be leaving for home soon. First thing to do when I get home...drink an iced tea, eat a steak, sit in A/C, lay in bed, watch TV and take a hot bubble bath. I haven't missed any of those conveniences and items until today.



I went snorkeling again today. It was pretty exciting this time. We were out in the water for about 30 minutes and it seemed that the longer we were in the water, the further away we got from the dock. A couple of my class mates were about 20 feet away from me and I was swimming towards them when they started yelling that there was a shark in the water. We all swam back to the dock while frantically looking over our shoulders. Needless to say, our teachers decided we were done snorkeling for the day. Fortunately nothing happened and even though I never saw the 6 foot shark, which I'm told is just a baby, it was pretty exciting experience.

From Long Caye,
Martin Flores


We didn't find near the amout of shore debris as we had last time. I don't have everyone's total, but from what I've heard around camp, it is less than 50 lbs. Miss you and Lamar and all my family, there may be a Gulf between us but no gulf could sever our connection. Love Jody/Mom

Jesse Jackson

I've enjoyed the last several days in beautiful Belize. We've been working hard collecting water samples and shoreline debris the last couple days. I have a thousand bug bites and a sunburn, but its been an incredible journal. Today I went snorkling and found a school of jack fish. I decided to tag along to capture some photos. It ended in a feeding frenzy involving sharks. I saw a cloud of dirt and two 6 ft sharks throwing around the Jacks. I tryed to take a picture and I turned around but I was already half way back to the dock! We are going snorkling in the Aquarium so hopefully I'll get some more great photos.

al Jerry

Belize 2 has been exciting.
We have been using new Global sampling protocol for the environmental sampling. Island and marine samples have been analyzed to dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, .and salinity. the teams have taken one vertical marine sample. It consisted of a surface sample and samples at 22 meters and 44 meters.
The water was so clear that the Secchi disk could be seen at the 44 meter level.
The weather has been a bit warm but perfect for collecting samples.
Dips into the ocean help keep us cool.

Cheryl Journal

Yesterday was shoreline trash pick up.  We gridded the shoreline for trash collection
There was not as much trash as was collected in November 2009.  We found
shoes that didn't match, bottle caps, tooth brush and a variety of plastics.
Last night at the bond fire we watched a conch shell make its
was from the shoreline to the water. I have enjoyed watching the best
of what nature has to offer in the fresh air and working with my
team collecting data.  The lodge staff have been great too.
And, Joe,  Thanks for the maps from everyone and the hard hat
for Scott.


Taylor Savant

Everyday here in Belize is another great day. We have collected all of our data and have explored most of the island. All of our samples have gone to plan and everthing is workin out the way we wanted. Our teams have collected more samples then expected. I only wish we werent leaving to return home after seeing this amazing place.


It's been party time since Scott left -- of course with this group a party is a crowd hanging 'round a laptop talking about data! I don't know what's with these GIS students time but they sure ooh and ahh over each other's maps.

I spent some time today talking about the local animals with a resident, Linda, who has  been observing and taking notes for several years. She said she had a crocodile nest in her yard and occasionally sees a younger female croc from her veranda. She shared some of what she knows about the lizard populations on the island. Anywhere you go there is a lizard of some sort in your field of view.

Marci update

Wow, is it hot. And beautiful. And hot. We've had very little breeze and very calm waters for most of our stay so far. A mixed blessing: the still waters are great for the boat deployments, but the lack of breeze is a beatdown. Yesterday morning, we boated around to the lagoon for our environmental deployment - I kayaked while we were waiting on samples! Okay, so the water was only a foot deep, and I only got about 10 feet out... But still. Kayaked, yay! This afternoon is our last day of data work. And just in the nick of time. We are all starting to show heavy signs of wear & tear. But tomorrow is a free day, and I already have a spot on the dock earmarked for a lazy day. Can't wait! And then we're home again on Sunday. Really really really looking forward to an ice cold beverage and a hot shower...

Richard Neveau

I am doing okay now.  However, yesterday morning was not the case.  I was under observation by the nurse for dehydration.  I recovered at noon that day.   I returned later that day okay.  I was collectin samples that day and the day before.  See you in Dallas on Sunday.

WaterBear fights the Mosquitoes

Hello all
We've been making good progress on our bathymetry and shore debris data. The weather has been beautiful and hot. " Skeeters are relentless though. I've seen lots of iguana. I went to snorkle today and got there just in time to hear that there were sharks in the water. I passed on it. Food has been great, lots of pinapple and watermelon and papaya. See you soon. Jody


Hey!  Well we have been here for 7 days now and it is so amazing.  We went in to a freshwater lagoon and did some water sampeling.  At the mouth of the lagoon where the ocean water enters, we saw some baby sharks swimming in and out of the lagoon mouth.  We had a bonfire last night and had a great time listening to the locals play music.  Tomorow is our free day and we are planing to go out and do some snorkeling.  Thanks to everyone for following the blog!!!


Long Caye at Lighthouse Reef...

Hello everyone! I am doing great and having so much fun!!! I miss everyone! We have accomplished so much here in Long Caye! We have collected a great deal of data. We are now scrubbing and quality checking our data. My team, which is Pam's Team has successfully entered all of our data into an awesome ArcMap project. It is awesome to see just how much data we have collected and with our map to see exactly where we have collected all of our data. I have enjoyed every minute of our data collection and this trip.

Love you all,

Valerie Brenner

The new sauna

Hi everyone. I wanted you to know that everything is going just great here. I'm on this new weight loss program, sauna 24/7. Yes, it is hot. I'm missing ya'll and I'm really missing that most famous item Air conditioner. Yeap, did I tell you it's HOT! LOL Jackson III son Jackson IV join us this trip, he's going to follow in his dad's foot steps, (good for him). I have a lot of pics, both in the water and out. Day and Night. You know me. I'll have plenty of stories and pics for each one. Can't wait to see ya all. Love ya, Miss ya.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

From Cheryl's journal,

   To all my family and Range friends,
We arrived safely.  The boat ride over was on a sea of glass for the most part.
The water became choppy shortly before we arrived at the Long Caye boat dock.
Sunday, before we went out on my groups environmental study, I located the blue and
white crabs, Iguanas, and hermit crabs near the lodge.  The air is very clean and the
ocean is very clear.  We got the rains from Agatha with no problems.  I have managed
to ocean kayak between data collections.  More later.


Long Caye Day Four

The day after we arrived I was placed on the Marine Team. We all went out as a team and in two days gathered all of our bathymetry data that was needed to fulfill our assigned block. I very much enjoyed gathering our water samples, and learning to use all of the sensors. We have sucessfully completed our Marine Team days, and are now under way into collecting our shoreline Team data.

Valerie Brenner


Its my first time in Belize and it has been incredible. Since I've been here I've snorkeled for the first time, I kayaked for the first time. This morning I even held a sharks head in my hands (again for the first time). Long Caye is truly a beautiful place and the food is amazing here.

From Long Caye,
Martin Flores
Hello from Belize, this is Taylor. This is my first time in Belize and its amazing. The weather is great, and the wildlife is unbelievable. The first day of my field work was the shoreline. There wasn't as much trash on the shoreline as i thought there would be. Then I did the environmental work and took samples all along the lagon. So far everything here is terrific.

My name is Richard Neveau.  This is my first post ever on any blog.  This is also the first time I went to Belize.  I am impressed with Belize thus far, in spite of being bitten by mosquitoes.  We were starting on the ecological aspect of our responsibility as citizens of the world, including picking up trash after creating grid and measuring water samples.  There is more we have to do, however.  Well,  goodbye for now.

Richard Neveau

Long Caye, Belize once in a lifetime

Hey everyone. Thanks for the post and following our blog!  We have been super busy.  It was overcast and raining the first two days, but the last two days were absolutely perfect!  My science team has been on shoreline debris collection and we have collected trash that has washed up from all over the world.  So, remember to recycle and help our cause.  Last night we had freshly caught barracuda, saw tons of lemon sharks (they were very small, so don't worry) and so much more.  We all have had a great time and have collected tons of good accurate data.  Talk to you later.  Love you all.


No Hurries No Worries

Hello All... WaterBear here! Its been a wonderful journey so far. Today I saw two dolphins playing around our boat. They were very curious. We went snorkeling yesterday and saw coral, sponges, and even a sea star. We had rain the first couple of days and that kept us cooler, but the sun was out full force today. Our data collection is going great! We've collected many samples that are georeferenced and performed water analysis such as pH, DO,salinity, conductivity, and temperature. Wish you were here!

Sun and sand and...

Marci here! As I write this, I am covered head to toe in hives. For future reference, please remind me to not eat conch again. That said... Belize is AMAZING. From the dolphins on the boat ride out, to the armed coast guard "greeting" our boat (yes, armed), to crystal blue waters and beautiful landscape... it's just breathtaking. Hard work, very hard. And mosquitoes like you can't imagine. But I wouldn't trade a bit. Okay, maybe I'd trade the bugs...

-Marci Fermier

Work Under Way

The first day we were greeted by a pair of dolphins and made it just in time to mark high tide. First day was slow like usual; malfunctioning equipment and writing new procedures to adapt. Hey, that's life in the field. Today we rotated and learned the new adapted procedure from the previous group, which went by pretty fast. Everyone seems to be doing well.


Hey Man!

I made it to the Caribbean!  No worries, No problem. I've had several new experiences on this trip. I've never flown, been on a long boat ride, or even this far out of the country. I tell you its better than you ever seen on any post card. The water is the clearest I've ever seen, there are more mosquitoes than you ever imagined. We spent a long day in the boat collecting water samples. We took bathymetric data, tested the water for dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, and salinity. It was great learning how to use the Venier Labquest units. The views were absolutely amazing. We observed Sting Rays, Lemon Sharks, and Blue Crabs. We ate Barracuda steaks as well. This whole experience is priceless and words can't describe.

Jesse Jackson

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Checking in!

Hello World. We are well in Belize and enjoying island life. We hear there is some weather about but we haven't seen any of it  -  well perhaps a little sprinkle now and again. We are doing well, collecting and analyzing quite a bit of data. The students will be starting to blog today so stay tuned. Please follow our map (on the right - and use your curso to pan around to Belize) to watch where we are and see some of what we might be doing.

Good bye for now.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Please sign in and post a new message

Hello Folks. If you would like to post a message please sign in and post! Look in the upper right hand corner of this web page (scroll all the way to the top) and you will see "Sign In"; click that link and use your Google login and password (free). It is that simple. In a short 36 hours we will be in Belize!