The "Places On The Edge" theme ideally describes the interface complexities of Laguna Bacalar Sustainability--Community Participation--Tourism Development. My idea is to have school children serve as an information highway to their parents with the goals of 1) teaching children about environmental/tourism sustainability and 2) to stimulating parental engagement in that participatory process at the community level. School children, as members of a community, can play an important role in changing a community by encouraging parental participation in important community dialogue that integrates both environmental sustainability and tourism. Hands-on, investigative science/tourism student activities will be geared for take home student-parent completion of the assignment activities.
For example, one practicum will build a model drinking water well adjacent to a sewage pit that when loaded with colored dye (the sewage) will infiltrate the well water. The follow-up is to place a small model lake next to the sewage pit to determine infiltration into the lake, which is unnoticeable at first but then slowly turns turns the lake brown. In which lake would you want to swim?... and the tourist? This example can be applied directly to trash refuse in the streets.
These are simple but powerful learning interactions for the children and parents because connections are made between sustaining both environment and tourism to the benefit of the parent's income source -- many sell weavings and goods directly to tourists.
Students may enter an independent Science/Tourism project for a monetary award. In the future, these awards will be provided contributions from local businesses and elsewhere.