Belize Center for Environmental Studies
The "silent conservationist" is a name that is often
applied to those international agencies that work in
the shadows, providing technical assistance and
support and action through the local organizations.
The term could equally be applied to BCES. We
have been silent, but we have been working.
1995 was a year of excitement and positive action
for BCES. It is hoped that these clips of activities
from the past year will open the doors again for
communication, collaboration and dialogue.
Much credit must be given to our donors and
members, to whom we extend a big thank you!
The M~aya Mountain Marine
Since 1992 Proyecto Ambiental para Centro
America (PACA) funded by USAID, TNC and
CARE has been working closely with BCES to
promote the sustainable use of resources in the
Toledo District. This has been carried out through
strategic planning; environmental education;
wildlands management; and environmental moni-
toring, research and conservation information
management. 1995 saw the close of PACA and
BCES will continue to build upon the foundations
laid by the PACA project.
The ultimate goal of the Maya Mountain-Marine
Area Transect (MMMAT), funded by TNC, is to
provide opportunities for the people of Toledo to
improve their quality of life, expand sustainable
employment opportunities, and maintain steward-
Newsheet Update: BCES Revisited!!
ship of the biodiversity and ecosystems. To this
aim biological and socio-economic data is being
collected to be used in planning for a corridor of
protected areas called the Maya Mountain-Marine
area transect. In the transect are the Bladen
Nature Reserve,-ieep River Forest Reserve,
Paynes Creek National Park, Port Honduras and
the Snake Cayes, encompassing both marine and
terrestrial components of over 1 11, 000 hectares.
"In the case of environmental problems,
it is obvious that the problems cannot
be solved by one group,
one group working in separation"
As stated above at a World Commission on Envi-
ronment and Development hearing in 1985 Re-
source Management is no longer a question of
local or national concern it is a question of re-
gional and international collaboration. Recently
the importance of regional policies that reflect
the influence of the impacts on the resource base
in Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras upon
Belize's environment, and vice versa have been
The Gulf of Honduras for example is a body of
water shared by Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
The area is an extremely valuable mix of diverse
habitats including sea grass and coral reefs,
coastal and intertidal wetlands, broadleaf forest
and pine savannah. Commercially important for
the harvesting of marine species such as the spiny
lobster, shrimp, turtle, and fin fish, it is also a
refuge for endangered species such as the manatee
and the Morelets crocodile. Recogmised as a
critical habitat in 1990 (BCES), detrimental
imnpjct on this area is increasingly evident as a result of activities of all three nations. Although each of
the three countries have adopted national coastal zone management efforts, they were developed inde-
pendently with little regional communication to address environmental and ecological issues.
B~CES takes credit f~or spearheading the necessary interegional co-operation and was honoured to accept
nomination to serve as the secretariat of a Tri-National Commission. The commission, The Regional
Alliance of NGOs for the Protection of Gulf of Hionduras made up of representatives from Belize, Guate-
mala and Honduras, and is expected to serve as a technical body that will provide scientific and techno-
logical advice to the larger grouping of national government and non-government agencies. in turn
these organizations will be responsible for implementing the recommendations of the Commission.
BCES Branches Out
B3CES/PG has moved into a new office on the first floor at 45 Front Street, opposite Vance Vernon's
Store. You can't miss the open doors and office hours are from 8:00 a.m. 5:00pm Monday to Friday.
Visitors are welcomed.
Tlhe P.G. office will be the center of operations for BCES' Toledo Progranr in the form of a conservation
strategyr for the district. The overall goals of this strategy are:
* the conservation of genetic material, key species ecosystems; the protection of cultural and non-living
* the provision of technologies to enable the local population to adjust to demographic transitions and
benefit from economic growth without environmental deterioration.
B3CES has recently installed a Geographic Infor-
mation System and related technologies through
the TNC institutional support of the PACA
project. Two staff members, Delia Tillett and
Sharon Franklin man the GIS laboratory. Already
familiar with this technology in their academic
studies, they have undergone further training, and
in addition to familiarising other staff members
with the basics they are also learning all the time.
Thanks are extended to TNC, the Conservation
~Technology Support Program of ESRI, and
NARMAP's Institutional Strengthening grant for
the training opportunities provided.
BCES in collaboration with the University College of Belize
has for the past two years conducted an environmental
impact assessment training programme. On August 9, 1995
thirteen participants who successfully completed this chal-
lenging part time one year course graduated in a ceremony at
the Chateau Caribbean. The graduating class marked the
termination of coordination of the programme by BCES,
and the handing over of responsibility to UCB.
Berize Center for EnvironmentalP Studies
Join the Carnival!!!
This year has been all play and much work in Toledo
for BCES environmental educator Ben Piper. January
saw the commencement: of thle "Toledo Environmental
Conservation Carnival '95" in the south of the country.
Environmental Educators from the Behize Center for
Environmental Studies (BCES), the Behize Audubon
Society Coastal Zone Management Unit (BAS/CZMU)
and the Belize Zoo (TBZ) with support from the Forest
Planning and Management Project (FPMP), PACA/
Costa Rica, and a flock of other sponsor agencies
"celebrated conservation" with children from each
school in the district through shared learning, activi-
ties, shows and games. In this unique education
campaign the educators travelled in a colourful array,
by foot, by boat, by horseback, and by truck: any wray
possible to deliver conservation messages to every
school. A total of 49 schools of 242 teachers and
5,598 children joined mn the experience.
True to style the travelling Carnival has moved from
the south to the north and will be visiting schools mn
Corozal through the support of the British High
Cormmision, Natural Resource Management and
Protection Project, Coastal Zone Management Unit
and Coral Caye Conservation. ,~
mapping the Iluture