Thursday, June 20, 2024

San Pedro Sun receives journalism award from World Wildlife Fund

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Senior Reporter with The San Pedro Sun Dion Vansen and Editor Tamara Sniffin recently received a “Smart Coasts” journalism award from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF Mesoamerica) for highlighting the need to enforce environmental laws in Belize. Their collaboration on an article published in 2021 titled “Stakeholders attending virtual Smart Coast Project workshop say enforcement is critical for any environmental plan to succeed” led to the recognition of first prize in Belize.
The San Pedro Sun along with regional media houses/reporters participated in the competition that included top winners from Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras. Winners received a framed certificate and an aquatic sports camera.
The journalism contest was announced following a workshop on the adaptation to climate change in the Mesoamerican Reef System in October 2022. The Smart Coasts initiative sought to incorporate climate change principles into the management of marine protected areas and coastal development policies along the countries bordering the Mesoamerican Reef (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras). Besides raising conservation awareness of national resources, the aim was also to improve the capacities of coastal communities to adapt to climate change.
The San Pedro Sun article, “Stakeholders attending virtual Smart Coast Project workshop say enforcement is critical for any environmental plan to succeed,” written by Vansen and edited by Sniffin, reports how stakeholders and environmentalists share their disappointment in the lack of enforcement to protect Belize’s natural resources. The story also touched on the urgency for mangrove restoration in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker and featured illustrations that suggest that reef restoration is also needed near these Cayes.
The WWF awarded one journalist from each country sharing the Mesoamerican Reef. In Belize, Sniffin and Vansen were the national winners. Other winners included Sarai Rangel of Muy Interesante in Mexico, Pia Flores and Simone Dalmasso with Plaza Publica in Guatemala, and Valeri Garcia Burgos with El Tiempo in Honduras.

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