Under the Shade I Flourish /Sub Limbra Floreo— the Belize national motto—refers to the country’s native mahogany tree, which was harvested to extinction by corporations under colonial rule in the 19th century. Belize—formerly British Honduras— gained its full independence on September 21st, 1981. This liberation brought with it a collective desire to reshape, rethink, and reclaim natural and cultural heritage through conservation and education.
My fieldwork comprised an exploration of five conservation educational sites: The Belize Raptor Center, Guanacaste National Park, The Belize Zoo, Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve, and St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. At each site I took photographs, recorded environmental sounds, interviewed educators and rangers, and analyzed language and educational strategies of public-facing interpretive centers on site.
This project explores and documents the crucial conservation practices developed over the past 40 years, while sharing these educational models and innovative strategies with a wider audience through organizational partnerships and programming. This travel and research was generously funded by The Center for Global Studies, The Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, and The Frison Institute. Many thanks to Audubon Belize, and all of the rangers who graciously shared their knowledge and birdwatched with me at dusk.