Receive discounts on GVI programs for life!

We are very excited to announce the launch of the GVI Membership! It will give you unprecedented access to discounted spots on a range of GVI programs, updated every single month, at up to 40% off! Sign in and know more about here!

GVI Marine Training kit

Please click here to access the online GVI Marine training kit

If you are coming for four weeks click
here to find the training tool that will help you learning your juvenile fish!

Study on the go! Click here for a Caribbean fish id guide application for iphones, ipads and ipods!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dive Into Earth Day events in all Mexico Expeditions

Dive Into Earth Day, worldwide event organized by PADI Aware, was held the week of 22 April, and was biggest splash ever. Here's a summary of the events at each base

Pez Maya
Events organised for Earth Day, 22nd April 2008, were a fantastic successs, with all the expedition members and staff working extremely hard to make Pez Maya and the surrounding areas a cleaner and safer place to live for the local wildlife and ourselves. Expedition members and staff worked for several hours in the ever increasing heat of a typical Mexican spring morning, carrying out an extensive beach clean. Over 20 bags of rubbish were collected from a 2km stretch of beach, and as always a strange and varied assortment of trash was picked up, including several left flip flops (not sure where all the right ones go), tooth brushes, plastic toy soldiers, shampoo bottles and most worrying of all some hypodermic syringes and needles. Extreme care is taken when collecting rubbish, with protective gloves and foot wear worn at all times.

Meanwhile some expedition members constructed new rubbish bins (painted in the Mexican national flag colours) and “PLEASE KEEP MEXICO TIDY” signs for the large wooden bridge that spans the nearby river and is situated about 1km north of Pez Maya. The bridge is a favourite location for local fishermen and their families to spend the day fishing and relaxing. Until now, no rubbish bins have been provided for people at the bridge, and discarded rubbish has always caused a problem for local terrestrial and marine wildlife.

A group of staff and expedition members set off for the bridge, armed with gloves, black bags and bucket loads of determination to clean up this area. After several hours of gruelling work over 300 empty beer bottles and 25 bin bags of rubbish were collected in total, and the new bins and signs were put in place.

We have plans to make and set up several more rubbish bins over the coming weeks, using drift wood and other materials found on beach cleans – being a womble and making good use of the things that we find, is all part and parcel of Pez Mayan life!

As another event to mark Earth Day, we sent staff and EMs to Punta Allen, a small community in the reserve of Sian Ka'na, where we teach English on a weekly basis to both kindergarten and primary school children. There we carried out a beach clean, gave a PowerPoint presentation about Earth Day and how to take care of the planet and played games with the children to teach them how to separate rubbish. We also gave the children pictures and a mural related to Earth Day to paint. On Thursday we returned to give our usual English class and we are pleased to report that the children are in fact separating the rubbish, which we can then bring back to base then up to Tulum to be recycled. This is excellent news!


A series of activities were organized in the town of Tulum. From 8.30 to 10 a student group of the Telesecundaria and Julio Ruelas schools joined the Expedition Members and staff in a massive road clean up. The main areas targeted were streets surrounding their schools. This road clean up followed a series a environmental education and recycling workshops delivered over the past few months.
GVI also joined the Earth Day Festival organized by the local authorities. Our stand was, without a doubt, the busiest of the lots, with recycling workshop and environmental education games. The event was enjoyed by kids, adults and everyone who stop by!

Mahahual - Pta Gruesa
GVI Punta Gruesa, in conjunction with the Ecology committee of the Businessmen Association of Mahahual, organized the first Earth week. Having Earth day celebrated on April 22nd, this day was used as a good excuse to kick off a week full of activities, events and lectures for young and old to try and create awareness of what is happening to our surroundings and around the globe. Proceedings started on Earth day having staff and Expedition members practice a shore dive/reef clean while students of the primary school watched and listened to the explanation of scuba gear, why we need it and how it’s used. The dive went on while the children made sand sculptures on the beach of different sea creatures. The divers came back with many bags of trash they collected close to the boat pass on the fringing reef.
Wednesday was an artistic day, where all the students of all the grades used their creative talents to decorate, paint and make environmental motifs and souvenirs. Reef in a box, works in paper maché, mobiles with sea creatures and decorating big fishes were the organized activities. The finished products were exhibited on Children’s day (April 30th).

One of the highlights of the week happened on Thursday, when 21 children participated in the first ever bubble maker extravaganza. Willing to help out by lending us their pool, the owners of the newly inaugurated hotel Matan-Ka’an hosted this activity. Children ages 8 to 12 were able to feel what it’s like to be a scuba diver. Fellow dive shops assisted in conducting the program by lending us gear for juniors and helping out in the pool. But the fun didn’t stop there. In the afternoon we conducted a shore dive with the secondary school students, where they took advantage of the opportunity to collect some garbage they found in the lagoon, and to see different sea creatures up front and personal.

Apart from the bubble maker, we had a squid dissection. Lulis, an invaluable member of the ecology committee, was able to obtain 40 squid so the students could learn more or the sea creature, but also see how it functions from the inside. The children were in awe, and it showed that hands-on teaching is very effective. We hope to have more dissections in the future to teach and amaze.
Saturday of Earth week brought some of the school children into town to participate in 3 different activities: to start the day, they were put on a boat and taken near the reef in the lagoon to participate in a snorkelling tour. As this was taking place, a Caribbean reef squid showed itself to the kids, as if to reiterate the lesson they were given the day before. All the students agreed it was the best part of the week and they finally got to see what they have been hearing about so much: the coral reef. When we got back to shore, Lulis was waiting there to conduct a kayak race, and at the end there were prizes given out to the fastest team, but everyone got something: A fin, mask, snorkel and bag set was the first place prize; goggles for the second place team and t-shirts with environmental slogans for the rest of the participants. To close the week for the students, Saturday afternoon was dedicated to inform students of the threats to the reef through an information booth with pamphlets from Project AWARE regarding coral reefs, shark hunting and the need to protect them, and an environmental talk about the oceans and why it is so important to protect them, ending in a poster drawing session to advertise all these subjects.
Finally, Sunday was the closing day of Earth week, and to end it off with a bang, a reef clean was organized once again. Locals and foreigners were able to dive for free under the condition that they’d pick up debris and garbage found around the important reef areas. 6o divers participated in this event, picking up not only garbage that was still there since hurricane Dean’s passing, but also the usual rubbish that collects in these areas. While this activity was taking place, 2 tour busses came from Chetumal with 150 high school students to help clean the mangroves around Mahahual town. After all was said and done at the end of this very active week, we had one word to say: wow! It was a lot of effort and hard work, but we came through. Proud of our accomplishment, we started talking about plans for the next Earth week to happen next year. If it is as good as this one that just ended, it’s going to be very difficult to make it any better.