S: NCLC 398: Rainforest Conservation in Belize
FC: NCLC 398: Rainforest Conservation in Belize | By Michelle Pineiro
1: A group of 10 George Mason University students and their professor went to Belize from Wednesday, May 23rd to Wednesday, May 30th, 2012. This scrapbook includes pictures, rhymes, and overall good times. Enjoy!
2: We went to Belize, for about 8 days. We experienced learning, in a variety of ways. A basic schedule, is on the right. Things moved around, including our flight. But I'll get to that, later in this book. Have fun reading, and taking a look!
3: Agenda Wednesday 5/23 (Day 1) – fly to Belize, Belize Zoo Thursday 5/24 (Day 2) – drive to Hickatee, birding Friday 5/25 (Day 3) – market, chocolate tour, MayaBags Saturday 5/26 (Day 4) – TIDE, snorkeling Sunday 5/27 (Day 5) – Citizens Science Project, cattle ranches, and Garifuna drumming Monday 5/28 (Day 6) – Nim Li Punit, butterfly farm Tuesday 5/29 (Day 7) – Ya’axche, cacao farm Wednesday 5/30 (Day 8) – drive to airport, fly home
4: Our flight was canceled, on the 23rd of May. "We couldn't find a crew," is all American Airlines had to say. They moved us, onto a later flight. Plans had to change, but it all turned out alright. We went on a night tour, of the Belize Zoo. We saw lots of animals, and learned a thing or two. | Wednesday 5/23 (Day 1)
6: Thursday 5/24 (Day 2) | The next day we got on our van, rather than the James Bus. Hickatee Cottages, was ready and waiting for us. We met our lovely hosts, known as Ian and Kate. I'm sure we can all agree, they were pretty great. We then met Wilfred, who took us to see birds. Their colors and sounds, are hard to put into words.
7: I wonder if these work underwater...
8: Friday 5/25 (Day 3) | We went to Punta Gorda, and got to see the town. From the market to MayaBags, we definitely got around. We also got some chocolate, to sample and taste. This trip was about conservation, and why it's not good to waste. We also used the GPS units, after we got back. When there's cloud cover or canopy, satellites tend to lack.
10: Saturday 5/26 (Day 4) | Perhaps my favorite day, if I had to choose, was spent on the water, with blue and green hues. We saw some ranger stations, and learned about TIDE. We saw lots of things, during our boat ride. Snorkeling was fun, as were the beach and sand. I drove the boat, almost directly into land.
12: Sunday 5/27 (Day 5)
13: This day was really boring, not special in any way. Just kidding, that's a lie! It was Kristen's birthday! Besides celebrating her birth, we also observed Orchid Bees. Here's a picture of Ghadah and me, taking a break to cheese. We also saw cattle farms, which was pretty sad. But we did some drumming, which was reason to be glad.
14: Monday 5/28 (Day 6) | This day we learned a lot, in lots of different places. We saw an archaeological dig, and met many new faces. Geoff had a lot of knowledge, he was willing to share. But he didn't have a shirt, he was willing to wear. The butterfly farm, was quite a hike. But the day overall, was something to like.
16: Tuesday 5/29 (Day 7) | This day was quite a challenge, physically, I mean. We hiked for 2 hours, and saw the Golden Stream. We were rangers for a day, with Ya'axche Conservation Trust. We got locked out of our van, but the day wasn't a bust. We got to see a cacao farm, as well as nursery. Then our van was delivered, by the nice ranger Lee.
18: Wednesday 5/30 (Day 8) | Our last day, in the country of Belize, was basically a day, to do what we please. We got souvenirs, and things to bring home. We had some free time, where we could roam. So Karin and I, got our nails done. It supported the locals, and was really fun.
20: Major concepts from the course that I learned about tropical ecology (the way living things interact with each other in a tropical environment) 1. Leafcutter ants, trees, and fungus 2. Pacas (gibnut) and cohune palm 3. Howler monkeys and edge effect 4. Orchid Bees - attractants and collection 5. Mangroves and flotsam, natural or human-created 6. Coral reefs and tourists and the effects they have 7. Golden Stream and other major rivers that feed into the reserve and how what humans do one place affects other places 8. Mayan ruins - past, present, and future conservation 9. Cacao farms and climate change 10. General tropical ecology - everything affects something else, whether right away or in the long run, directly or indirectly
21: Take leaves to feed fungus, is the role of the leafcutter ant. Protect self by poisoning said fungus, is the defense of a certain plant. This special relationship, is a tropical ecology wonder. As is the way ants, carry huge leaves from under. In the tropics, Coevolution is seen all around. Like the paca aka gibnut, and cohune palm seeds on the ground. The palm needs the paca, to break and scatter its seed. The paca does so, while getting to feed. Howler monkeys, need lots of space to thrive. If forest is cleared, they can barely survive. Edge effect and fragmentation, are caused by cutting trees. It affects the monkeys, And even Orchid Bees. Speaking of the bees, They can't cross 100 open yards of space. And they probably get confused, with attractants put in their face. So don't collect them, And kill them by pinning them down. If they went extinct, 10% of orchids would have a frown. Because they'd have no way to pollinate, which just goes to show, Things affect other things in nature, more than we know. | Mangroves come in all types, Like red, white, or black. They absorb flotsam, natural or created by humans like Jack. No offense to anyone named Jack, It just happened to rhyme. Mangroves are great regrowers, If given a lot of time. At first glance, snorkeling isn't so bad. But sunscreen and flipping sand, can make coral reefs mad. So be informed, And always aware. Because coral reefs and other ecosystems, suffer if you don't care. Riverine and floodplains, are an ecosystem we learned about. Putting trash in either, Is reason to shout. Because what one does upriver, affects things down the stream. 5 rivers flow into the marine reserve, that we've all seen. Mayan ruins are fascinating, and something to behold. What they did in the past should be too, despite seeming old. What they did then, affects us now. Just like we affect people in our future, which is reason to say wow. Climate change is making a difference, especially to people on a cacao farm. Unpredictable weather ruins their crops, which does them harm. So be environmentally friendly, is something we should remember. And how wet season, was always from June to November. | Tropical ecology, is how living things interact. Everything affects something, is less opinion than it is fact. It might be too much science, for some to understand. But basically do your part, and help lend a hand. Reduce, reuse, recycle, are words tried and true. Helping save the environment, can start with you. As a wise sign once said, don't litter, because you can help, make places glitter. From monkeys and pacas, to the ants and Orchid Bees. Almost everything, depends on the trees. So don't go cutting and clearing, wherever you feel. If anything realize, deforestation is real. Conservation and its importance, are things I learned on this trip. As well as tropical ecology, can be really hip. So those are some concepts, I learned from this class. Hopefully I said the right things, in order to pass.
22: I had lots of fun, experiencing new stuff. Even with the humidity, making it kind of rough. But we survived, despite what the Appendix said. I was terrified, and thought I'd be dead. That's clearly not what happened, as you can tell. I hope you enjoyed this scrapbook, created by Michelle.
23: Special Thanks to our hosts at Hickatee Cottages, Ian and Kate, everyone that taught us something and/or showed us around during the trip, and most of all to our lovely professor and my fellow classmates. Thank you!