Belize - A trio of Hollywood celebrities recently took their star power to Belize to help Oceana protect the largest reef in the Western hemisphere. Cobie Smulders, Rashida Jones and Angela Kinsey traveled to coastal Belize, where they raised awareness for this delicate ocean ecosystem and promoted Oceana’s ongoing work in the country.
Cobie Smulders of “How I Met Your Mother” fame filmed a new Oceana PSA in the stunning South Water Caye Marine Reserve where she visited a unique island made of mangrove trees. She swam through this critical habitat that is home to juvenile reef fish and provides shelter for them to grow before they settle on the nearby barrier reef. Once back on dry land at the Pelican Bay Resort, Smulders remarked on how amazing it was to see such a diverse and important habitat just beyond the surface of the water.
“Maybe because it’s underwater people don’t really think about it as much, but this reef is Belize and you just want it to always be there,” said Smulders. “It was really interesting to see how necessary these habitats are for the good of the reef. Oceana works really well with local governments and communities to empower them and educate them in how to preserve their local marine habitats” she added.
A short ride away to the north, friends and “The Office” co-stars Rashida Jones and Angela Kinsey traveled together to the island of Ambergris Caye, where they stayed at The Phoenix Resort, right next to the second-largest barrier reef in the world. Oceana took Angela and Rashida snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where they learned about the various pressures facing this reef ecosystem and marveled at the sharks, turtles, fish, and rays that flooded this protected area.
“You can tell this area is totally protected because every fish is like ‘I’m hanging out here!’” commented Kinsey after her first snorkel. “I felt like I was in a giant encyclopedia of fish. You really see how important protecting their habitat is.”
“Hol Chan [marine reserve] is like the 405!” added Jones. “There’s every type of creature imaginable. It’s amazing to see that type of diversity in one snorkel.”
Since opening its Belize office in 2009, Oceana has tallied a number of impressive victories that include securing a national ban on destructive bottom trawling in all Belizean waters, and advocating against offshore oil drilling in Belize’s incredible marine environment.