A signature program at FernLeaf is FernLeaf Travel Experiences. These trips are an EXCELLENT way for students to build independence, develop strong interpersonal skills and discover their unique passions and aptitudes. FernLeaf staff coordinate multiple different optional travel opportunities, domestic and overseas, throughout the year for our students. From March 10 through March 17, 2023 three of our teachers and a small group of students went on a field course study throughout the country of Belize. These blog posts are written by the students and will document their adventures and learning! See DAY 1 here.
Today we started our day very early at 5:30AM. When we woke up we got ready and went outside for a Bird Banding. We teamed up with The Foundation for Wildlife Conservation. Bird Banding involves setting up nets near the forest floor. Every 30 minutes we checked the nets for birds that got caught in the net and then after releasing them, we went through the process of banding them. After the banding, our students were able to hold the birds and release them back into the wild!
For breakfast we had an amazing local delicacy called Fry-Jacks which are fried tortilla dough we also had eggs, ham, and some fruit.
After filling our bellies we had Ray, Gato, and Nico take us to a place called Runaway Creek Nature Preserve. Runaway Creek got its name because it was a trail used for slaves escaping their masters. During our hike we were able to see a family of spider monkeys - there was even a baby. Here's a picture of them taken by our tour guide, Zhawn Poot!
We hiked for about 30 minutes until we reached the first cave. This first cave was named "Guardians of the Cave". It got this name from the faces carved into the stone surrounding the cave opening.
As we explored the cave we saw bats, German cockroaches, kissing bugs, and scorpion spiders. We also saw pictographs, which is a drawing made around 300 AD by the Maya. We even had a quiet moment in the cave where we were all silent and we turned off all of our lights. This made some of our friends uncomfortable, but we all did it!
When we got back from the caves we had lunch, we had Salbutes with chicken, coleslaw and a homemade spicy salsa made with habaneros as well as watermelon on the side.
After lunch we went to the Belize zoo. It's pretty much the nature center but ten times better and more natural and it feels like we walked into a rainforest. We encountered a variety of animals including; Howler Monkeys, Jaguars, scarlet macaws, and Harpy Eagles. Did you know that Fawkes the Phoenix from the Harry Potter movies was based on a Harpy Eagle?!
After the zoo we ate dinner which consisted of tortillas, beef, refried beans, and pico de gallo with fresh pineapple juice. Overall rating of 8/10.
After we had dinner we then went back to the zoo for a night-time tour of all of the nocturnal animals. We saw two fer-de-lances which are one of eight venomous snakes in Belize. We also saw owls, jaguars and other large cats. We also all fed a tapir and then got to pet him on the head. He was so gentle. It was so cool.
Overall our second day in Belize was really good and we are excited for what is coming tomorrow! Stay tuned.
Written by FernLeaf students attending the Belize Field Course: Phillip, Sophia & David.