Ecorana Environmental ltd., Blog at it's partner field staiton at the T.R.E.E.S

We are Ecorana Environmental, an eco-travel and environmental education company that specializes in creating and planning applied learning holidays for students, researchers, and ecotourists alike. Our team consists of travel and outreach specialists as well as research biologists and teachers who specialize in environmental education and conservation. We are well-versed in providing comfortable, safe, and exciting learning and travel opportunities to a range of clientele interested in environmentally and culturally conscious travel.Ecorana is poised to offer travel and education abroad opportunities in the diverse tropical country of Belize. Ecorana employs biologists who are well-trained in tropical ecology, herpetology, and ornithology, and as such, studies in tropical biology are the primary focus of our educational holidays. However, our team’s diverse interests and expertise allow us to plan all types of holidays ranging from wildlife ecotours to yoga retreats to West African drumming courses to ecological field technique courses. Wherever your interests lie, you can be guaranteed that Ecorana will be right there with you.Ecorana maintains values of environmental and cultural conservation and stewardship, hands-on education, and inclusive learning, and seeks to instill those values in all visitors to Belize. We work with many field stations and educational centers, scientists, educators, tour companies, tour guides, eco-lodges, and parks, both on the mainland and on the islands of Belize, to make sure you go exactly where you want to go and see exactly what you want to see and more!

One of our main partners is the Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society (T.R.E.E.S) and their field station in Belize. The objectives of this environmental education center are to host various cultural and environmental based student courses, workshops and event hosting in the heart of the beautiful Maya Mountains of Belize. We plan on providing our services to international students as well as providing opportunities for Belizean students.

For more information see our website at, or send us and email at or to go directly to the T.R.E.E.S website

Thursday, November 29, 2012

before and after - dining hall

Second part of the great reveal, today we are showing you the dining hall! Months and months of work...but the results were worth it!

First week in the Hall, a little discouraged, I still had no idea what was coming up.

This room is where the tables are now in the next picture, this makeshift room was torn down for an open feel! is the new dining hall

Another picture of the dining hall

We still have to add 3-4 tables but it is almost complete

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Before and After...this is it!

Allright, I hope you are ready faithful readers, after months and months of working on the buildings etc, we are getting really close to the big reveal. In the next couple of weeks we will start showing you the before and after of the different rooms.

The first one today is quite the shocker! The student lounge component of the main building. Remember the real fixer upper from House Hunters, we'll check it out now.

The student Lounge, opening to lab and the rotten stairway fell off the wall

TaDah! The new student lounge, tiled, new partitions, new paint job and new staircase
We really want to thank all of those who helped us with this great looking work, Brendan, Chris, Jerm, The ramirez crew and the great neighbours! Thank you! Oh and Diesel of course! Keep posted, there will be lot's more of these kind of posts!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Stairway to compound

The morning before Chris's flight home we started working at 6h00 am with the guys to get the base of the stairway from the cabins area to the main building. We managed to get the stair trusses in for the top stairway and the foundations of the decks built. Then we jumped in the truck and drove like mad to Belize City, so they could catch their plane.

Big O testing out the foundations to the deck and stairs
The week after Vanessa and I and the guys finished up the 2 stairways, the multiple decks and gate to the lower part of the center. The stairs look awesome and the decks allow visitors to stop at a couple of areas to look at the mountains, do some bird watching and just enjoying the view! The top deck gives us another location to hang out at the end of a hard day!

The three tiered stairway

Eva enjoying the new viewing spot

Looking down to gate from deck 2

Top deck 1, excellent for birdwatching and just plain out relaxing

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Yoga Retreat Workshops

Ecorana is proud to announce that it will be offering Yoga Retreat in the Spring 2013! If you are interested please visit us at

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Getting Closer

Hello everyone, we are very sorry for the delay in postings! We have now been here about a year and we are getting very close to being able to open the station for business! So we have rolled up our sleeves and are working even harder than before to have the station fully operational for January 2012!

Our biggest hurddle right now is to have all of the facilities ready for January! Vanessa's family came down to help out and with the great leadership of Chris we now have a beautiful shower building! We still have some plumbing and minor construction to do but it looks great! I am very proud to introduce out new solar shower facilities at T.R.E.E.S
Phase 1 - Posts into the ground!

Phase 2- Base platform set-up!

Phase 3 - Making sure everything is leveled up! Ready for the building!

Phase 4 - The building itself! It is Eva approved! Thanks Chris!!!

I will add a couple picture one we have doors and a everything is hooked up!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The work shed

It took about 6 months and three different contractors as well as work from us and the neighbours but we have finally built the work shed. This outdoor building has 5 ports in total, 2 car ports, 2 work area ports and a beautiful workshop. It is a large covered area with electricity so can work at night and when it is raining, nothing can stop us now!

Phase 1 - this phase lasted about 6 months, I had pretty much given up on the project!

Phase 2 - The roof, a good start that took lots of effort to get there! The tractor was happy at least!

 Phase 3 - Finally the completed shed, includes electricity, rain water collection cistern, and tool shop. A great spot to work in the rain, a place to put all of the lumber and the vehicles! Awesome!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Comments and emails

Hello dear readers, a few of you have sent us some great comments and some of you have written with some questions about the station, positions available etc. Unfortuneatly, Blogger are not providing us with the email of these comments.

Again, we kindly request that for specific questions about the station you visit our website at or send us an email at ! Your questions are valuable to us!


The Ecorana Team!


Our friend Peter Diamond has created our new T.R.E.E.S logo! We are very proud of his work and especially of the new logo that will represent the N.G.O and Station!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

King Vulture at TREES

As you know I have done some research in the past on the King Vulture in Mexico. So, I have a bit of a weak spot for the beautiful new world vulture. Last week after butchering a pig that the neighbour provided, we took the remains that were unusable such as skin, fat, some bones etc., and set-up one of our remote field cameras. We placed the remains and the cameras on one of the trails, right in the jungle and then came the hard part, waiting 5 days before we could see what visited our site.

After 5 days we picked up the cameras and rushed to the computers to see what we got. There it was, on the first day we had the elusive King Vulture, right on the TREES site. We were all very excited by this visit, and now we are planning experimental designs to start studying this bird, part of our long-term research protocols. Anyhow, very exciting!

In addition to the King Vulture, we had a couple of Turkey Vultures and a Common Possum. Not bad for a first try!

Officially our first King Vulture observed at TREES (on the ground that is!!!)

Turkey Vultures scoping out the food situtation

Common Possum

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Help us get Emmeth to Africa for a djembe workshop!

Last weekend Mat and I went to Punta Gorda to visit and play drums with our friend Emmeth Young, an amazing Belizean African djembe player. I met and bought a drum from him when I was in Belize in 2005. At that time Emmeth had been based out of Gale's Point Manatee, Belize, a small traditional Kriol village on the southern Lagoon, south of Belize City.

Here is a picture of my drum (headless), which Emmeth made me in 2005! I have always loved this drum very much, but early on after our move to Belize in 2011, the skin split open! I contacted Emmeth right away to see if he could fix it for me, but apparently goat skins are a rare commodity in Belize! You can skin a djembe with cow skin, but it just doesn't make the right sound. So, after months of waiting, Mat was able to find me a goat skin on his last trip back to Montreal. We brought it back to Belize and took it down to Emmeth, to have him re-skin the drum and to give us a little drumming workshop.

It was very interesting for him to see this drum again, as he is still making drums but they look quite different now! His previous drums (like this one) were always a little crooked, as he just worked with what the tree gave him rather than trying to find the straightest tree he could find. But, that just gave the drums a very characteristic sound, allowing you to get slightly different tones from the instrument depending on what side of the head you were hitting. After 7 years, he was surprised that he had made a drum that sounded so good!

A couple of years ago Emmeth (below, seen skinning my drum) and his lovely family relocated to Punta Gorda from Gale's Point, the very southernmost town in Belize, right on the ocean. There he is building a drum school, the Maroon Creole Drum School, where he will soon be able to teach and lodge students that come from all over the world to learn the djembe from him.

Emmeth has never been to Africa but has been drumming African rhythms since he was a child! Fortunately some of the traditional West African drumming was carried to Belize with the slave trade, and although when the British first brought the slaves to Belize they were forbidden to drum, members of his family still secretly kept the tradition alive, instilling this love of African rhythms in Emmeth when he was a young child. In the beginning though in Belize, drummers were not able to make the appropriate drums as they could not find the correct wood, so they made a drum out of pine, which they called a sambai. From this drum evolved some unique rhythms that are used today only in Belize by the Kriol people, and only in some villages. Although Emmeth still plays this instrument, his djembes are modelled after the traditional West African djembe.

Emmeth is desperately trying to go to Africa to take lessons from an African Djembe master. It has always been his dream to visit West Africa, and we are hoping to help him get there this coming winter! I had a prepaid course in Guinea with some friends from Vancouver, and I am hoping to donate this course to Emmeth (running in December 2012) as he really deserves to go and learn from the best players in the world. Plus, he will bring those rhythms back to Belize, keeping the djembe tradition alive! Emmeth has worked with many youth in Belize, helping to keep them out of gangs and all of the terrible social problems that go with these gangs. He has inspired many youth to "Try Drums Not Guns" and he is an inspiration to us as well! If you are interested in trying to help Emmeth get to Africa to take this course, any little donation will help, and you can be assured that it will be going to a good cause!

Contact us at if you want to help out!