WKU group makes progress on projects to assist remote village in Belize
|Date: Thursday, November 1st, 2012||Return to Archive|
A WKU group led by Dr. Bernie Strenecky, Scholar-in-Residence in the Honors College and founder of The $100 Solution™, traveled to Belize in September to work in the remote village of Gales Point, Manatee, located near the eastern coast.
The team also included Dr. Jason Polk, Associate Director of Science for the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute; Jonathan Oglesby, WKU Geography and Geology graduate student and Hoffman staff member; AJ Strenecky of the Merritt Island Florida Rotary Club; and Dr. Beth Quick, Dr. Terry Silver and Professor Ruby Black, faculty members from the University of Tennessee-Martin.
The group had several goals during the trip, with the overarching theme of working with the local community in Gales Point. These goals included helping to improve its water supply, discussing and evaluating the school’s curriculum, and evaluating the karst geology and groundwater resources in the area. In addition, Dr. Polk and Oglesby conducted fieldwork in western Belize for a project investigating past climate change impacts on the Maya using cave deposits.
“This trip was magic and is a testament to what can happen when a small number of people give of their hearts, minds and skills to improve the lives of a forgotten people,” Dr. Strenecky said.
Gales Point, Manatee, exists as an isolated community on a peninsula a few miles long and up to only a few hundred feet wide at some points. The peninsula is surrounded by a brackish lagoon just inland from the Caribbean Sea, yet offers little in the way of viable water resources due to its low elevation and karst geology. The primary means of reaching the community is by boat, and the secondary, less-reliable route is via a long, muddy gravel road that can be impassable at times, thus enhancing the difficulty of the community in accessing outside assistance and resources.
The population at Gales Point is made up of a unique people group that originated from runaway slaves and settlers from Nigeria who began inhabiting the peninsula in the early 1800s. Gales Point is one of the few, if not only, places in the world outside of Africa where this culture and its customs still exist and flourish. In addition to the unique population residing in Gales Point, the landscape that comprises the area is a national wildlife preserve, home to many diverse, and sometimes endangered, species of animals and plants, caves, and past Maya activity. The surrounding lagoon is home to multiple threatened or endangered species, including the hawksbill turtle, the goliath grouper, the West Indian manatee, and several exotic bird species.
The trip left little down time, with the group immediately starting on the night of arrival to work on the first major project of installing a UV water filtration and purification system for the local school and preschool. This system was provided by the generous donation of the Merritt Island Rotary Club and pioneered by AJ Strenecky, who spent more than two years in researching, developing and organizing the purchase and installation of the system.
The system incorporates two filters to remove particulates, and an ultraviolet light tube that kills any harmful pathogens, leaving the water purified as it exits the small and efficient system, which is capable of treating three gallons of water per minute. The system now provides clean water for the entire school and preschool on a continuous basis, requiring little energy and maintenance for its long-term operation.
The team worked with local Chairman of the Water Board, Kevin Andrewin, and community members to install the system and provide training on its operation and upkeep.
Community leader Nancy Bailey, who owns Manatee Lodge located at the end of the peninsula, is working to develop and implement best management practices with support from the WKU team to help Gales Point become sustainable with respect to water, energy and health. “I am really excited to see the things fall in place that I’ve been dreaming about for years,” she said. “I look forward to continue working with the WKU team and I know great things can and will come out of it.”
The WKU team met with Anthony Flowers from the Ministry of Health (Water Division) and Martin Lewis from the Ministry of Rural Development to discuss issues of water quality and sustainable development. Efforts are under way to develop training initiatives and programs to improve water quality testing procedures and local water infrastructure in rural communities. The Gales Point community serves as a pilot project in the joint efforts.
The WKU team also had a follow-up meeting with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) to continue discussions on how to address climate change issues in the region, including Gales Point. This meeting was part of an ongoing collaboration to build partnerships between WKU and the CCCCC for long-term climate change science and education initiatives in vulnerable Caribbean communities.
Dr. Polk and Oglesby also performed reconnaissance and collected preliminary data regarding the environmental conditions and resources in Gales Point. They visited Ben Loman’s cave across the lagoon and inventoried features within the cave, which included many flora and faun
- All Categories
- Academic Outreach
- Continuing & Professional Development
- Distance Learning
- Summer Sessions
- Winter Term
- Career & Workforce Development
- Lifelong Learning
- Society for Lifelong Learning
- WKU On Demand
- Study Away
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Center for Faculty Development
- Cohort Programs
- Dual Credit
- Event & Training Services
- All Categories
- March 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- April 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- JUNE 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2015 E-Newsletter
- December 2015 ICYMI
- January 2016 ICYMI
- MAY 2016 ICYMI
- February 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS July 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2017 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
"Into the Shadow of the Disappearing Sun," the first of two shows about eclipses, will be presented May 2-July 2 at WKU’s Hardin Planetarium.
Madeline Marita, a student from Western Kentucky University, has received a place on a Fulbright Summer Institute to study at the Globe Theatre (London, England) on one of the most prestigious and selective summer scholarship programmes operating world-w
The decision to further your education is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life. Often the hardest part of the journey is to get started.
WKU’s Board of Regents approved tuition and mandatory student fees for 2018 fiscal year and approved consolidating Engineering, Architectural and Manufacturing Sciences and Computer Science into the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
WKU’s Board of Regents approved renaming Mass Media and Technology Hall to honor long-time WKU supporter and state representative Jody Richards of Bowling Green.
WKU students will bike across the country this summer to raise money for Alzheimer’s research.
Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,