maya belize

Marco Gonzalez Maya Ruin Site on Ambergris Caye

It’s not easy organizing a major volunteer effort from another country but Heather is pulling it together and in spite of the enormous challenges ahead of her. She managed to round up 8 of us to go collect and bag mangroves that were brought back to Karina’s house in San Mateo for future transplanting to help detoxify the soil and preserve the environment. The mangrove collection at Marco Gonzalez Maya ruin site was a lot of fun and it was great to spend time with everyone that is getting involved in the San Mateo Sanitation and environmental education project. While in search of black mangrove seedlings, Jan Brown gave us a tour of Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Reserve and explained about it’s rich Maya history. We could see pottery shards everywhere,  mountains of conch shells and even some human remains. The ground is very high and I could just imagine how much has yet to be discovered under our feet. While we were doing our mangrove collecting, Valentine Rosado showed up to help us. I had met Valentine before on a trip to Bacalar Chico, so I knew how knowledgeable and environmentally friendly he is.  What I did not know was how involved he has been in mangrove transplanting projects and has been working in different areas on the island to help get new mangrove plants growing. He brought us some red mangrove propagules which are oblong and slightly curved, kind of lima bean shaped.  Propagules resemble seed pods but they are actually undeveloped root structures. Propagules become fully mature plants before dropping off the adult tree and are distributed  by water until eventually embedding in the shallows. On the way home Valentine suggested we stop off at Kakaw, Belize chocolate factory so he could take us on a mini field trip and show is some of his red mangrove replanting work. He explained how the mangroves grow inside the tubes and pointed out one that was just peeking out of the top. I will be doing a Maya site specific Marco Gonzalez post soon and highly recommend a tour with Jan if you are staying on the island. Do not forget your bug spray, pants and a light shirt helpful protection as well. This tour is not strenuous but I would still say it is geared more towards adventure seekers – about 1/4 mile walk to the site from the entrance. If you want to read more about the our adventures, Debra and Cherie from ACES both did write ups along with some great pictures on  Taking Belize blog.

Belize Rain report by Cowboy Doug via sms – 1.4 inches so far and looking like more on the way, stay dry.

Vacation On Ambergris Caye At A Tropical Beach Resort and Help Keep Belize Green. TOTTENHAM, ON, January 23, 2012 – “Exotic Caye Beach Resort, on the island of Ambergis Caye, Belize is contributing 50% of the resorts special offer room rate bookings January 22 through February 21, 2012 valid until May 2013 to support hands- on environmental education programs. Funds raised will go to Canadian Not For Profit Direct Abundance and US Charity Caribbean S.E.A. (Student Environmental Alliance) to empower and improve the community of San Mateo. Direct Abundance and Caribbean S.E.A. are partnering together to offer educational programs about coral reef and mangrove conservation, safe water and sewage discharge solutions. The need for these programs is essential for the San Mateo area as their homes are located in a swamp highly contaminated by human waste. It is over-whelming to watch this hard-working community grow as it begins to reach its full potential, says Heather Zwicker, the Co-founder of Direct Abundance. Exotic Caye Beach Resort has seen first hand the help this community needs and would like to generously give back. Travelers wishing to experience adventures in Belize need to look no further then the front desk. The knowledgeable staff at Exotic Caye Beach Resort will be able to assist with a multitude of activities including coral reef diving, exploring Maya ruins, or simply relaxing on the beaches. It’s a fabulous destination for couples searching for that perfect getaway or the family wanting to create memories to cherish. This is a unique 30 day offer. Enter the promotional code DA2012 on Exotic Caye website to receive a certificate that is valid from now until May 31, 2013, however 50% of your room rate goes immediately to Direct Abundance and Caribbean. S.E.A. Direct Abundance is a Canadian not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in struggling developing world communities through education and poverty reduction. Caribbean S.E.A. works with local partners to empower youth to take care of their water, from the Ridge to the Reef. For more information on the project go to Direct Abundance website and flickr Page. Become fully mature plants before dropping off the parent tree. These are dispersed by water until eventually embedding in the shallows.

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