The 2010 Hurricane season is upon us, and with weather forecasters predicating this year to be an active season, some residents of Corozal have undertaken a long term project that will assist them in times of storms. Since November last year, the Corozal Town Council has taken the initiative of developing an acre of land for the purpose of protecting mangroves. Oscar Garcia works is the Mayor’s assistant and is one of the individuals who has been working on the project since it started.

Oscar Garcia – Mayor’s Assistant, Corozal

“Everything started when a resident of Corozal, Mae Kelly who lives at the Finca Solana area and came with this concern about there was a tour that came and cut down mangroves. So she reported it to us and we went and see what happened and then we decided to create part there to preserve the mangroves and name the park Mangrove Park and that way we can educate people that they should not cut down mangroves because this helps to prevent erosion.”

And that is how the Mangrove Park initiative started in the Finca Solana Area on Consejo Road. Since November, Garcia says that a lot of work has gone into the park in making it as friendly as possible for the Corozalenos.

Oscar Garcia – Mayor’s Assistant, Corozal

“When we saw the park it was completely abandoned, it was high bush , people just used it to do other things. We decided to clean it, to take out all the garbage and name it and we decided to call it Mangrove Park.”

Because of the Corozal Town Council’s dedicated work in the park, it was awarded second place in a competition sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund.

Oscar Garcia – Mayor’s Assistant, Corozal

“Actually last year we entered a competition from the Worldwide Federation, there was a competition that they had in Placencia about preserving mangroves. The Corozal Town Council participated in this challenge, it was in the mangrove coastline shoreline challenge for Belize. We participated and we were awarded second prize.”

Garcia says that since November much work has also been done in educating the residents of Corozal of how and why protect mangroves.

Oscar Garcia – Mayor’s Assistant, Corozal

“In educating Corozal, we have gone to the local radio and talked about the park, we have post it in the website where people can see all the work that is being done. If we do a clean u campaign we post a report there and in the report we educate people about the need to preserve the mangrove and tell them how mangroves are helpful to the environment. We had a workshop at the Town Council, this guy from the Worldwide Federation he came and did an educational report to us on how to preserve mangroves."

Willie Cruz, Corozal Councillor in charge of Health and Sanitation is responsible for the park and told us what is the council’s future plans for Mangrove Park.

Willie Cruz - Councillor in charge of Health and Sanitation

“We will continue investing in that area, to maintain it clean, put garbage bins. We are planning to build some palapas so that the area could attract tourism. I would like to tell Belizeans mangrove that mangroves are important to the environment. This usually protects the area when we have hurricanes. These areas help to protect from erosion. We would like people who destroy the mangroves to protect it because it helps in many areas.”