TIDE’s newest cohort of Advanced Open Water PADI-certified SCUBA divers just completed their Level 2 Community Researcher training, thanks to funding from the Disney Conservation Fund! The Community Researcher Training Program trains young people from local communities in research techniques and employs them to work alongside TIDE’s Marine Biologist conducting monitoring work in TIDE’s protected areas. Now in its sixth year, the program continues to grow and this is the second group of Community Researchers to advance on to the second level of training and become Advanced Community Researchers.
Advanced Open Water Diver Trainees with TIDE Science Director and PADI Instructor James Foley and his assistant Dive Master Frank Hachmann
On top of the foundational ecological knowledge, field research methods and Open Water Diver training received in Level 1 training, Advanced Community Researchers receive more specialized research and diving training, including Advanced Open Water Diver certification, that allows them to take on more leadership roles in the field and in the lab. Under TIDE Science Director and PADI Instructor James Foley’s instruction, the trainees received focused dive training in deep diving, underwater navigation, search and recovery, peak performance buoyancy and night diving.
Advanced Community Researcher Trainees practicing underwater skills with Mr. Foley
These advanced skills will enable the Advanced Community Researchers to assist in more of TIDE’s research and monitoring work, in addition to becoming leaders and mentors to their fellow Community Researchers. The valuable skills they have acquired in the program will stay with them through their future career endeavors, helping to advance their careers as future conservationists in Belize. The Community Researcher Training Program is just one example of how TIDE is empowering local communities and providing the necessary tools for community-based resource management. We are very proud of our Community Researchers and look forward to welcoming more individuals into the program and watching it continue to grow!
During the deep dive training component of the course, trainees explored the Lime Caye sea wall at the Sapodilla Cayes in Southern Belize
Interested in becoming a Community Researcher? Follow TIDE's Facebook page and check back next year to see when the next training will be held!