Thursday, April 19

Earth Day!

The Belize Audubon Society participated in the 2007 Earth Day Fair, (as pronounced in Kriol- Ert Day Faya) held at the University of Belize campus in Belmopan. Events included games, tree planting, music, and information booths. Elementary school classes and University students attended this all-day event.

Meanwhile, other staff members from BAS visited St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park, just south of Belmopan. One of the park wardens had seen some suspicious activity in the area and soon bags of xate leaves were discovered in the Park waiting to be picked up. A total of forty-one bundles, each with approximately thirty-six xate leaves, were collected and turned over to the Forest Department. Illegal xate harvest is a management frustration throughout Belize's protected areas.

This Sunday (April 22) you can tune in to Oapn Paki Show, were host Rosalie Stains will discuss issues with Belize Audubon Society's protected areas managers. The show airs live from 10:15am to 12:15pm on Love FM (you can listen to a live stream if you have Real Player).

Belize Audubon Society will continue to celebrate Earth Day throughout next week. Activities include classroom presentations and encouraging Belizeans to bike to work, school, or wherever they may go.

Often times I'm behind the lens of my camera, so family and friends at home haven't seen much of me since I left Minnesota. I'm alive and well, also wanted to show-off a project I have been working on lately. I took up oil-painting last week and completed ten signs that will make up an interpretive trail at Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. The Jabiru Stork (locally called Turk or Fillymingo) is a flagship species for wetlands in Belize. Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary is recognized as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

Wednesday, April 11

Easter in Belize

The wind was howling and rain pounded on the zinc-top roof of my house Saturday morning. I had my alarm set early so that I could catch the first water taxi to Caye Caulker, but with the weather sounding like a hurricane I decided stayed in the soft comfort of my bed. Crowds of Belizeans travel offshore to the cayes to relax on the beach for the long Easter weekend. The weather man on the radio cautioned travel by small boats so I stayed in the city.

Instead I witnessed Belize's premier cycling event, the Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Classic, a 140 mile bike race starting in Belize City, traveling west to San Ignacio where the cyclists turn around and ride back to Belize City for the finish. When I turned my radio on the race had just made the turn-around.
I rode my bike to the market to buy some fresh fruits and vegetables and also stopped to see if there was any activity at the fish market. I like seeing all the different kinds of fish that are brought in and the hungry bunch of Brown Pelicans in the canal waiting for scraps to be thrown to them. Fish prices go up in Belize like gas prices during Easter, the fishermen had already sold out. Normally $4-6 per pound, fish prices jump to $7-10 per pound at Easter.

As I listened in on my little radio, the leading pack had just left Hattieville and was about 12 miles outside of Belize City. Crowds of spectators slowly assembled along the race route as the cyclist came nearer. A group of men gathered under a shade tree next to me so they could hear the radio announcer while they enjoyed their One Barrel Rum and Sprite. Then came a motorcade of support vehicles, the media, and a police car, the cyclists were trailing right behind. The crowd cheered as the bikes went by in a flash and on to Marion Jones stadium for two laps around the track to the finish. In the final sprint it was American Boyd Johnson who came in first and in record time. The crowd was greatly disappointed that a Belizean did not win the race as predicted in the news. The top Belizean finish was fifth and for that he received a Brahma calf (not sure what the story is behind that). Boyd Johnson's victory was much like the surprise victory of Zach Johnson in the Masters at Augusta. I wonder if they are related?

Easter morning on my way to church I heard the excitement of children coming from one of homes in my neighborhood as they hunted for Easter eggs. I guess the Easter Bunny comes to Belize too. It was a beautiful morning, the lilacs are blossoming now. Afterwards, I visited a Peace Corps couple in the city to talk over coffee and a light brunch.

You may have noticed I made a few layout changes to my blog, I upgraded to the new Blogger. Not everything is displaying correctly, such as the weather, its been very hot in Belize this week, highs in the 90s and it broke 100 one day. I'm missing the cool breezes at night and had to turn on the fan instead. Also I would like to point out my YouTube link; I added a new video this week, this time I used video editing. You can watch it below.