CAYE CAULKER, (October 2, 2006), The Caye Caulker branch of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (CBTIA) organized a field trip to the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve on September 5. The purpose of the visit was to do a site visit and a preliminary collection of species of plants growing in the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve. CCBTIA Board of Directors, members of the Forest and Marine Reserve Association of Caye Caulker (FAMRACC), co- managers of the Caye Caulker Forest Reserve; Caye Caulker Marine Reserve employees; and others interested in the CCBTIA Plant Inventory Project were invited. Transportation was provided by the Caye Caulker Water Taxi Association.
Through the Caye Caulker branch of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (CCBTIA) Plant Inventory Project, botanists have discovered two plants growing on Caye Caulker that until now have not been recorded for Belize. One was a native specie: poison cherry, Crossopetalum rhacoma, and the other an introduced specie: flamingo beak, Sesbiana grandeflora
CCBTIA has undertaken this plant project because it will help CCBTIA in managing and protecting the viable littoral and mangrove forests of the Mini-Reserve. This project can provide data to assist the community in planning for sustainable development in the future to insure economic benefits of tourism and fishing. The project is coordinated by Ms. Dorothy Beveridge, CCBTIA Board Member. Dr. Jacob Rietsema, retired biologist of Massachusetts, donating his time and skills to the project as well as financial assistance. The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) under Dr. Daniel Atha, Project Manager of Plant Collections, whom is lending its expertise to the project.
Other local volunteers include: Mrs. Lydia Vega, Mrs. Aurora Perez, Mrs. Petrona Joseph, Mrs. Glenda Blease, Mrs. Isela Marin, Mrs. Claudia Reyes, Ms. Allie Ifield, Mr. and Mrs. E. Miller. The volunteers have been collecting plant species and gathering information about local names and uses of the plants, thus preserving Caye Caulker culture and heritage. After the plants are pressed and dried, they are sent to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) where they are identified, labeled and mounted for the NYBG Herbarium and for the National Belize Herbarium in Belmopan.
A Scientific Collection/ Research Permit for the project was approved by the Forest Department. Mr. Hector Mai, Curator of the Belize Herbarium, has provided technical assistance. The herbarium specimens will be used for further research and scientific study. The information compiled in this project will be published in a field guide with coloured photos and a checklist if grant funds and or donations become available to pay for the printing. The CCBTIA Plant Inventory Project will take several years to complete. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Dorothy Beveridge at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be sent to the CCBTIA Atlantic Bank account # 100063619.
For the last 10 years, the Caye Caulker Branch of the Belize Tourism Industry Association (CCBTIA) has been managing the CCBTIA Mini-Reserve, located next to the Caye Caulker Airstrip. The two-acre Mini-Reserve preserves the natural flora and fauna of littoral and mangrove forest and is very popular with the villagers for its abundant cocoplums and seagrapes and with visitors for the nature trails. CCBTIA has published a trail guide to the Mini-Reserve and a checklist of the birds of Caye Caulker. CCBTIA has made many educational presentations to the Caye Caulker school students, as well as visiting students and other visitors.For images on new plant discovery please feel free to contact us.
The CCBTIA Mini-Reserve is open free of cost to the public during daylight hours and The Visitor Center is open by appointment.