Belize, Rio Bravo CMA, Orange Walk District, 2011-2012


Mary Ann Studer, Faculty, Physical Science - This project will continue to develop the partnerships with Programme for Belize and indigenous and Mennonite agricultural communities on the periphery of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management area. The focus will be on assessing soil nutrient levels, compaction, and sustainable agriculture for subsistence farmers. The project will also continue compaction studies on selectively logged sites within the RBCMA to develop and assess the validity of correlations between rainforest regeneration and soil compaction. The project also plans to conduct a follow-up utilization of power study at San Carlos School related to the solar power project carried out in previous years.

Ken Adair, Faculty, Chemistry - This project seeks to investigate potential methods for long term nitrate remediation in the village of San Carlos, and if appropriate methods can be found develop and test a model system for nitrate remediation within the village. If successful this project will not only improve the quality of drinking water for our community partners but can also serve as a platform for future fellows and scholars projects that seek to address biological and geological water quality issues and/or determine the long term effectiveness of the methods developed here.


Dennis Clemens, Junior, Integrated Social Studies - This project proposes to create a manual or small book that contains information, training techniques, and ideas for integrating essential pedagogy into the classroom using different teaching strategies that require little to no resources. With the use of prior knowledge, experience and the manual created, the scholar will work with teachers at the San Carlos and St. Paul's Bank schools to integrate and implement these new strategies into the curriculum.

Brittany Coats, Senior, Biology - This project will focus on the re-testing (last done in 2007) of school and village wells and cisterns in the RBCMA periphery in order to determine the current status of intestinal parasites among the drinking water in these areas, including San Carlos village, New Hope village, Irish Creek, Saint Paul's Bank, and Isabella Bank. The results will be returned to the respective locations, and if parasites are found, the people in the community will be provided with information pertaining to what they need to know in order to prevent illness, disease, and possibly death.

Joshua Hegemier, Senior, Molecular Biology - The purpose of this project is to continue teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, and water safety in the local Belizean schools. The scholar will work within the San Carlos and St. Paul's Bank schools to improve their knowledge on emergency medical care. The focus of the project will be on the rapid treatment of snake bites and the treatment for poisoning from various household products. In addition to teaching members of these schools, the scholar will provide information to the director of Programme for Belize about what is the most effective treatment for snakebite victims since two rangers have been bitten there recently. The scholar will also instruct the foresters and rangers at Hillbank about important first aid techniques including snake bite treatment since they are working in and around the jungle.

Bryant Green, Senior, Criminal Justice/Psychology - The proposed project will first and foremost benefit the community of San Carlos, Belize by providing a direction for sustainable community development, and educate the community about an effective way to address community issues. This project will also provide the McMaster School with further guidance as to what avenues to pursue research that will best represent the entire community of San Carlos, Belize. The scholar also intends to conduct a quality of life/wellbeing assessment coupled with a community SWOT analysis via the use of interview and observational research. Based off the data collected the scholar will then conduct a strategic planning workshop with the community that will develop goals and means to achieve these goals for the community.

Kirsten Frissora, Sophomore, Wellness and Corporate Fitness - This project will include the scholar going into the schools and teaching the students and partners about the significance of good nutrition. Building a playground for St. Paul's Bank School is also a portion of the project; to provide a safe environment for play. Better nutrition can act as preventative measures that reduce the community’s need for medical attention.

Jordan Heiliger, Sophomore, AYA Language Arts - This project focuses on teaching English literacy in the schools of San Carlos and St. Paul's Bank and also providing English as a Second Language (ESL) materials to the community of San Carlos. It will also include teacher training in literacy and ESL so that they can help the community utilize these resources. This project is a follow up to the school library that was previously installed to give the students and the community the chance to improve the functional literacy rate in Belize.

Alec Pribulsky, Junior, Athletic Training - The purpose of this project is to teach CPR, Frist-aid, and water safety. The issue being addressed is there is a lack of resources and knowledge in life-threatening situations. What the scholar wants to accomplish is to successfully teach the people of Belize the correct way to use CPR, First-aid, and water safety skills. The scholar also wants to provide the proper warm-up for the local soccer team to encourage injury prevention. The Defiance community partner that will be involved is the local Red Cross and the scholar expects the outcome of this project to be a great success. On the ground the scholar would work with the community of San Carlos and St. Paul's Bank.

Catie Savage, Sophomore, Integrated Mathematics - The scholar will work with the community members and the San Carlos school, teaching them how to run simple test for nitrates, temperature, water level, and amount of precipitation. Logs will be created for them to keep track of the information they are collecting daily. By having the village members do this for an entire year, we will be getting information that would otherwise be unavailable to us because we cannot be there year around. This information can be used to determine times it would be safe for them to use the wells and maybe eventually into causes and corrections. Also, the scholar will be working with villages to help them better their own community. This will relate into the Belize curriculum and even help with hand-on activities the teachers can continuously use for learning.

Cord Speelman, Sophomore, Business Administration/Marketing - On this trip to Belize the scholar will make several connections with artists that are in need because they have no access to markets. We plan on going to several different locations and each location has different types of art work or products. Our goal is to purchase the art work or products at a fair wage so the artists can make money to support their families. The art work that we buy will be intended to go into a fair trade store here on campus through Project 701.

Thomas Studer, Senior, Biology - The purpose of this project will be to carry out biological and chemical water testing in the New River Lagoon and surrounding tributaries as well as local wells and cisterns as requested by community partners as part of a continuation of the water project that has been ongoing for the past seven years. The scholar will be performing tests to gain baseline information for pH, nitrates, ammonia, free chlorine, phosphates, and dissolved oxygen. In addition the scholar will be performing testing for total coliform/ Escherichia coli in from potable water sources previously tested during the 2010-2011 Belize initiative as well as any additional sites per request by community partners. The scholar will also be working in tandem with Dr. Ken Adair in an effort to develop a nitrate remediation plan for the water in San Carlos. The data gathered from this testing done in the field will then be distributed to Programme for Belize and community partners through the local contact and guide Ivan Gillett.