Belize’s Best Kept Secret
Having been to Coleen and Ricks house a few times and seeing the the beauty of Bacalar Chico marine protected area that surrounds them – I decided to ask her to do a guest post on the blog. I have always known Coleen as Eco friendly and this last visit to see them it was nice to hear about how she was paying attention to what is going on in her area and doing her part to help our precious plant and marine lifeÂ flourish.
I feel very fortunate to be living in Belize’s Best Kept Secret, The Bacalar Chico National Park & Marine Reserve.Â In 1996 the park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its “on-going ecological and biological processes, … superlative natural phenomena and areas of exceptional beauty and aesthetic importance, and …important and significant natural habitats for threatened species.”
On a daily basis I get to see and appreciate the beauty of this area and it’s unique biodiversity.Â While walking on the beach I will have any number of National Geographic moments.Â Conch feeding on the turtle grass in low tides, beached Portuguese Man-of-War to butterflies feeding on native Fisherman’s Tobacco or Wild Sage.
With a background in garden design and native gardening for wildlife habitats, I have been trying to re-establish native and beach plants where there was construction damage.Â The plants we have let re-establish themselves are Bay Cedar (/Suriana maritima/), Wild Sage (/Lantana involucrata/), Sea Daisy (/Borrichia arborescens/), Fisherman Tobacco (/Tournefortia gnaphalodes/), Corkystem Passionflower (/Passiflora suberosa)/, and American Searocket (/Cakile lanceolata/) to name a few.Â The effort has paid off, I am seeing an increase in butterflies and moths in just one years time.Â I choose to focus on these species of plants and animals, as they are indicators of the greater biodiversity of the area.
As time goes on I hope to be able to teach and show people how they too can have wildlife habitats in their own yards and neighborhoods.