NEXT GEN CROC: FOSTERING THE NEXT GENERATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS
Originally founded in September 2016 on the island of Caye Caulker in collaboration with FAMRACC and Ocean Academy, Next Gen Croc is a student led crocodile monitoring program to assess the stability of crocodile populations via nocturnal eyeshine surveys, as well as conduct community outreach to further the young student’s role as conservation leaders and wildlife advocates in Belize. Through Next Gen Croc, we anticipate our student’s to build a strong foundation in leadership, communication, and scientific skills, while simultaneously providing the students’ mentorship in the field of science, wildlife research and management. Additionally, through external funding the CRC seeks to provide Next Gen Croc Students with opportunities to network and participate in national, regional and international scientific meetings.
Next Gen Croc Caye Caulker (est. 2016) conducted 3-day nocturnal eyeshine surveys, while also building their knowledge on the basic biology of American Crocodiles around their island, astronomy, and local Maya folklore. At the end of the school year, CRC sat down with students and analyzed data with Next Gen Croc students, and helped students write-up an annual report for the Belize Forest Department (absolutely impressive for 16 and 17 year-old students!). The information gathered during their monthly surveys will be kept in an ongoing database and used to monitor the stability of the population, and assist the CRC and the Belize Forest Department to manage the crocodiles and mitigate human-crocodile conflict, especially as Caye Caulker continues to rapidly develop.
Next Gen Croc Placencia (est. 2017) is in collaboration with Peninsula International Academy, and in partnership with the Green Team at Turtle Inn Resort. These students participate in a wide range of field research, including conducting biodiversity surveys and nocturnal eyeshine surveys under the mentorship of CRC, as well as participating and assisting CRC in community outreach events. Next Gen Croc Placencia is set up to provide one-on-one mentorship to participating students to assist them in obtaining the experience needed to give them a strong base for their future career scientific career. This group is now part of the principal team for the project surveying manatee and crocs of the Placencia Lagoon.
Next Gen Croc Seine Bight (est. 2019) is a monthly gathering in which special guests from various organizations or conservation backgrounds educate young enthusiastic environmental and wildlife lovers from the village about nature. Every session ends with a trash clean-up in village or along the beach. This group is sponsored by the Green Team from Turtle Inn Resort.
Interested in helping the CRC foster the next generation of wildlife and environmental leaders? Your financial contribution or time volunteering with these students will further the success of this wildlife youth program. Contact us for further information, and check out our social media pages for the latest update of what's crocin' with Next Gen Croc!
A huge thank you to The Phoenix Zoo for their financial support in the growth of Next Gen Croc.
Future Leaders Update:
Next Gen Croc Placencia, Feb 2020: Preston and Erica began researching manatee and croc facts to begin setting up their powerpoint presentation and poster for a community meeting in April, in addition to the IUCN/SSC-Crocodile Specialist Group meeting.