At a glance
- Explore an underwater world and help us to protect the Belize Barrier Reef.
- Learn directly from conservationists, and once you’ve gotten your diving certification, you’ll help underwater.
- Help raise awareness about how important it is to protect the reef and share different ways local people can help with conservation efforts.
Fixed dates during school holidaysSee Dates
This project is only for 15-18 year olds
What will I do as a Conservation volunteer in Belize?
You’ll find there’s a lot of work to do to reduce the impact people have had on the Belize Barrier Reef. Here are some of your main tasks:
- Get your PADI Open Water Diver certification
- Survey dives to collect data and monitor marine life
- Beach clean-ups and salvage dives for a cleaner environment
- Community work like helping prevent beach erosion and planting seaweed
- Discover the cultural heritage of this tropical island during weekend trips
Your work will focus on the following areas:
PADI diving certification
Your first week in Belize is spent getting your PADI Open Water Diver certification. The skills you learn during this course will enable you to take part in survey dives. These dives are critical to our conservation efforts in Belize. With this certification, join the diving community and discover new diving spots around the world for years to come. There are no extra costs. This international certification is included in your project fee.
By collecting data during thrilling survey dives, you’ll be contributing to massive databases that inform the local government Fisheries Department how best to protect the reef. Monitor things like fish species, size, and water temperature to determine which conditions are best for which creatures.
To float in clear blue waters past shoals of tropical fish and colourful coral is a magnificent experience. It’s rewarding knowing that while you dive, the work you’re doing will help to protect the beauty around you.
Salvage dives and beach clean-ups
Have you ever seen a jellyfish bobbing around in the ocean? How about a plastic bag? They look pretty similar, don’t they? Litter and pollution have a devastating effect on marine life. Many creatures eat non-biodegradable plastics or get caught in discarded fishing nets. Thanks to David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II, the issue of plastics in the ocean has started to get global attention. You can be a part of this worldwide initiative.
Help by participating in salvage dives to collect litter from the reefs. During our beach clean-ups, you’ll pick up plastic and other rubbish before it washes into the ocean. You’ll also pick up litter on beaches where turtles lay their eggs. This clears the path for hatchlings to make it to the ocean.
You’ll also be helping the community as a whole. Help with building barriers to stop coastal erosion or clean up litter in communities. You can also plant seaweed with local fisherman. Seaweed gives them an alternative, sustainable income source.
Discover what Belize has to offer
Belize is rich in cultural heritage and stunning nature. During weekends, hike to sparkling waterfalls, where you can swim in the cool, refreshing water. Go diving in the famous Blue Hole or explore ancient Mayan ruins. And all of this with a group of volunteers your age from around the world.
Our project partners in Belize
This wouldn’t be a Marine Conservation Project without the chance to dive and work at the forefront of reef protection efforts. So we’ve partnered with PADI to make sure you’re fully qualified to dive safely and confidently.
We’ve also partnered with the government Fisheries Department in Belize. We provide them with data that directly influences policy-making. The department doesn’t have enough staff and finances to collect this data themselves, so as a volunteer, the role you play is very important.
Where in Belize will I work?
Placencia will be your main base. During dive trips, you will spend about two nights per week on more remote, unpopulated islands. Be prepared for more modest and basic facilities, but expect a unique opportunity for island living!
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.
We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have all the extra support you need as a young person travelling abroad. Our Projects Abroad staff are there for you 24 hours a day during the week and over weekends to provide constant support and guidance. Our staff also make sure you feel comfortable and safe at your placement and accommodation. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Belize
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