Kate visited Belize as part of her commitment to assist with promoting the work of Oceana globally. Her mission in Belize was to spread awareness about Belize’s marine biodiversity and its importance to the stability of the country and to bring focus to ecologically important places, such as Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Ms. Walsh arrived on the evening of June 8, World Oceans Day.
On Saturday June 9, Kate visited Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize’s oldest marine reserve and Shark Ray Alley, where she snorkeled and experienced firsthand, why they remain a major visitor’s attraction. At both sites she was photographed and filmed by renown Belizean photographer—Tony Rath. Through her visit, Ms. Walsh not only gained direct experience with Belize’s diverse reef environment, but she learned about how essential reserves are to the sustainability of Belize’s marine waters, food security and economy.
Her campaign continued into Sunday, June 10 when she was hosted at Half Moon Caye and the Great Blue Hole, two natural monuments of Belize that form part of Belize’s World Heritage Site. Also attending the trip were 21 media members representing media outlets from across the country; through them Ms. Walsh directly addressed her message the Belizean public. Mr. Shane Young, Marine Protected Areas Manager of the Belize Audubon Society (BAS), shared with Kate and the media, much on the cultural and environmental importance of these monuments and other Belizean marine sites.
Made possible by Oceana, Kate both flew over and snorkeled the Great Blue Hole. Afterwards she spoke with several media representatives, the majoring most of whom were visiting this historic site for the first time. Kate Walsh, upon learning the entire Lighthouse Reef Atoll is under an oil concession held by Princess Petroleum, expressed her strong opposition to offshore oil drilling not only in Belize, but in all places that are ecologically sensitive and important for the sustainability of marine life.