Thursday August 11, Guiones beach was awarded its ninth consecutive Bandera Azul Ecológica (Ecological Blue Flag). Beachgoers and school children looked on as the flag was proudly raised beneath a clear sky, nearly as blue. The flag symbolizes the continued effort of the community to maintain a clean and ecologically friendly beach area. Neighboring beach Pelada was also awarded the same environmental recognition.
Thirty-five students from two local public schools, Portal de Garza (Los Angeles) and Santa Marta attended the flag raising ceremony. Dr. Laura Brenes of the Refugio Ostional, gave a speech to the children in attendance before the flag was hoisted. She emphasized the importance of respecting the environment and what it means to be awarded a blue flag. Dr. Brenes explained several steps being taken towards creating a more ecofriendly community including the planting of trees in Guiones.
Local private school, Del Mar Academy, is the first school in the area to be awarded a Bandera Azul. Following in Del Mar Academy’s pioneering footsteps, Portal de Garza and Santa Marta are in the process of applying for their first flags.
Jessica Sheffield, who is responsible for the environmental initiatives at Del Mar Academy, is helping the two public schools attain the same recognition. Following the ceremony she made a presentation at Hotel Casa Tucan, informing the students about the basics of recycling and composting. If the two schools are awarded the blue flags they will be the first public schools in the district of Nosara to receive the honor.
Bobby Johnson as a member of the Bandera Azul Ecológica comité, stressed the importance of environmental education in the area. “We have to make people aware of the importance of protecting and preserving our beaches. Once they are gone, they are gone.”