Most of our conservation research trip in Belize was spent on the water near marine reserves. However, we were able to spend a few days on the mainland during our second week abroad. On this particular day, we traveled to the village of San Pedro Columbia and worked with other volunteers to plant trees on the Columbia River. We had a wide variety of saplings–mango, fig, and palm to name a few–that would help to hold the riverbed in place as rainfall had begun to diminish it. I was on the team that was in charge of loading the back of a pickup truck with the saplings and driving them to the base of the river. It took us several trips, but with the help of some local high school boys, we were able to unload three truckloads. Next came time to roll up our pants, kick off our boots, and start carrying the young trees across the river. In the river were several mothers from the village who had brought their wash stones to do laundry. They scrubbed clothes while their toddlers splashed around in the river water and observed our interesting tree-planting processes. We crossed the river and delivered the trees to our teams that were digging holes and planting them. It took several hours, but at the end of our venture, we planted around 350 trees! It was a sweaty and labor-intensive morning, but well worth getting to help out this sweet community in preserving their important water source. A big lunch was waiting for us at this lovely restaurant called Pearleen’s. Here they served Indian and Ancient Mayan cuisine buffet-style. We ate until we couldn’t anymore and finished off our day with an afternoon swim which was such a treat from our hard day’s work.