People from around the world come to Belize to experience nature as they never have before. My visit was no different!

The government of Belize takes environmental protection seriously. About 40% of the country’s national space is protected. This protected space includes the 185-foot long barrier reef. A barrier reef is an underwater formation that is made of coral. Coral reefs block large water movements that could lead to erosion, which could destroy other habitats on land. The coral reef is also a habitat, giving a home to all kinds of sea life.

I put on flippers, goggles, and snorkel, and jumped into the Caribbean Sea. The first thing I saw was an endangered sea turtle slowly swimming by! Then, I saw dozens of large grouper fish floating below me. Belize’s Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most popular scuba and snorkeling spots, because of the clear blue waters. I can sure see why!

During this adventure I’ve explored rainforest canopies, vast caves, and towering pyramids. But, for me, some of Belize’s greatest surprises came in the small packages.

Belize’s tiniest wonder may be Blue Morpho butterfly. Even though they’re small and light, the Blue Morpho plays an important role in Belize’s ecosystem. Like bees, they carry pollen between plants helping them reproduce.

Blue Morphos are masters of disguise, too! When the Blue Morpho’s wings fold shut they are grey and brown. This allows them to blend in with tree bark in the jungle and hide from predators. When they open their wings they reveal a brilliant electric blue. This color is caused by tiny scales in their wings.

When you start to understand how nature is connected from ocean to land, you realize just how important conservation is.