Fly Fish Guanaja Student Program Overview
Purpose: To help protect a remote Caribbean island, while experiencing its unique culture and environment.
Description: A week long immersion trip for high school and college students. Guanaja is one of the Bay Islands of Honduras and is part of the second largest reef in the world. Guanaja has 15,000 residents in three different villages. Even though Guanaja hosts some of the best snorkeling, diving, fishing, kite-surfing, and sea- kayaking in the world, there are very few jobs.
Fly Fish Guanaja started 7 years ago and consequently provides the best jobs on the island for up to thirty people at a time that feed hundreds more.
Fly Fish Guanaja is fortunate to have Jones Key, a small private key off the coast of Guanaja surrounded by flats full of fish. The property was a vacation home that has been dramatically upgraded by Fly Fish Guanaja. The island sleeps 12 comfortably.
Fly Fish Guanaja works with a local a non-profit Mangrove Restoration Project. Hurricane Mitch in 1998 destroyed many of Guanaja’s mangrove forests. The symbiotic relationship between the mangroves and the reef make it paramount to helping this forest grow back. With students, volunteers, and fishing clients, Fly Fish Guanaja has planted over 300,000 mangrove soots in the past 7 years and is already seeing the re-growth. The mangrove forests of Guanaja are critical to the region’s environmental health. They are the foundation of a food chain and habitat that support great numbers of fishes and wildlife species. They also protect the coral reef from siltation, and they are excellent at carbon sequestration. Our goal now is to hand plant 100 hectares (247 acres) with approximately 400,000 mangrove propagules. Students develop or hone fly fishing skills in some of the most beautiful waters in the Caribbean.
Students work with local government (The mayor, head of tourism, and “fish warden”) to understand current issues and discuss solutions. They will sit down with these officials at the local municipal for a question and answer session about protecting the environment, bringing tourism, and education.
Students develop appreciation for the environment through experiencing the fishery and exploring the ocean. They will even spend an afternoon with local fishermen, hunting and gathering from the ocean as the people of the islands have done as long as they have been there.
Students will also work with Shark savers to help catch and tag sharks, aiding in the recent effort to establish Honduras as a shark Sanctuary.
Students will be assigned various readings both before and during the trip and will complete a journal reflecting on their experiences. Students write in journals daily. Every day a different student posts his pictures and story in the blog for family and friends to read from a distance. Students write final projects on the experience aimed for college entry essays.
The Guanaja Sustainable Development Project is an opportunity for students to become immersed in foreign culture and environment while helping protect them. Students plant mangroves, clean up trash, hunt invasive toxic fish species, and aid local schools. In between service projects students experience the pristine environment in Guanaja through fishing, snorkeling, diving, and paddle boarding.
|DATE||MORNING (6:00am-9:00am)||MID-DAY (10:00am-2:00pm)||AFTERNOON (3:00pm-6:00pm)||EVENING (7:00pm-9:pm)|
|Day 1||Arrive at Roatan airport||Arrive in Guanaja||Introduction to course and lodge|
|Day 2||Mangrove Education||Invasive Species Education: Lion Fish||Intro to Fly Fishing||Journal Writing Blog Post|
|Day 3||1⁄2 Group Lion Fishing/ 1⁄2 Group Fly Fishing||1⁄2 Group Lion Fishing/ 1⁄2 Group Fly Fishing||Lion Fish Cooking class and dinner||Journal Writing Blog Post|
|Day 4||Mangrove Education and Planting||Mangrove Education and Planting||Fishing/ Snorkelling||Journal Writing Blog Post|
|Day 5||Education on Trash Epidemic||Trash Clean up on the West End||Fishing/paddle boarding||Journal Writing Blog Post|
|Day 6||Briefing on Education Dilemma||North East Bight School Integration, Sustenance Living Exercise||Hunting and Gathering Meal at North East Bight with Edwin’s family||Journal Writing Blog Post|
|Day 7||Final Project Discussion||Writing Seminar||Prepare and eat last meal with local staff||Graduation Ceremony|
|Day 8||Flight to Roatan||Flight to USA|
Steven owns and operates Fly Fish Guanaja in Honduras and Emerald Water Anglers Colorado. He graduated from Colorado College and earned a Masters in English at Colorado State University. Steven developed and taught “Reading and Writing the River through Fly-fishing, Boating and Back-packing” in the Colorado College summer program. Fly Fish Guanaja has been hosting student programs in the Caribbean for the last 6 years. Steve has been teaching, guiding, and writing for over 15 years and brings deep experience to the Sustainable Development Project & Fly-fishing School.
After starting Virginia Fishing Adventures summer camp in 2005, Tee Clarkson has spent the last nine summers guiding youngsters into countless fish, and more importantly many enjoyable days outside. Virginia Outside seemed a natural progression based on his love of the James River Park and desire for children to have the opportunity to spend quality time outdoors. Tee currently writes the Outdoors Column for the Richmond Times. Tee is a integral part of Sustainable Development Project & Fly- fishing School.
Beckie owns and operates Fernie Fly Fishing located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies in British Columbia. Her commitment to conservation and education is unmatched and fly fishing is Beckie’s passion, hobby and her work; and the ability to share the sport of fly fishing is what fuels her soul. Beckie attended the College of the Rockies and Northwest Community College taking Adventure Tourism Business Operations Wilderness Guiding Skills. She has managed fly shops, backcountry lodges, guided for 13 years, and teaches fly fishing and fly tying classes. We couldn’t be more excited to have Beckie join our Sustainable Development Project & Fly-fishing School.