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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Caretaker house

This is the last post for now about the new building additions. We are working feverishly to complete the main student building which will include the lab, library, kitchen, eating area and lounge area. We have a new addition to the team, Brendan, one of Vanessa's childhood friends has arrived on Thursday and has come to help us out with the beast!

So that building, right! The caretaker house was the first house we brought on the property. It is called the caretaker house because we brought it in quickly thinking that the old caretaker that was already on the property would be staying here. We felt bad for kicking and old man out of this property were he had been for 7 years, so we brought it the house. We soon discovered that he actually had land in the country and lots of friends and contact and wanted to start his own thing again. Something is weird in this story and we think we are missing a couple pieces of the puzzle but many neighbours have told us that they highly suspected him of being a con artist and he was somehow trying to acquire our piece of land or that of the neighbours. Anyhow, all ended well and this is how we ended up with the cabin!

The cabin as many cabins do came on flatbed on the highway followed by some heavy machinery to put the cabin in place. They arrived at dusk and somehow managed to place the cabin in its spot in the complete dark, without any lights, flashlights, trucks lights! I am starting to believe that many Belizeans have mustered the ability to see in the darkness. After about 1.5 to 2 hour ordeal in total we had our new cabin. Over the next couple of weeks a crew came around and add the electricity, septic system and plumbing and the house was fully operational.

The cabin coming in on the flat bed

Vanessa discussing with the neighbour about the new house! Will they will be able to do it he asks?

The contractors placing the house in the complete dark!!!

While, we did not suspected its use at first, this house has been extremely useful to us. It has allowed us to receive friends, families, workers easily to TREES without having to constantly share a little house. This allows for helpers to come for longer periods of time and has been great. The house is now fully furnished with a bathroom, kitchenette, bedroom and living room. There is a great view of the mountains from the deck where  Toucans and Trogons can be regularly spotted.

For the next little while it is now Brendan's cabin, but when we start operating in September we make this house availble to interns.

 Inside the cabin

There it is the little cabin in the jungle!

So this is it for now, I will keep you posted on the restaurant makeover!

Friday, April 20, 2012

This Week's Animal of the Week!

Hi everyone! We have a new animal of the week for you, a baby White-lipped Peccary, brought to us by Israel (right). He was walking with his friends in the jungle and came upon a large herd of peccaries (these guys can live in groups of up to 400 animals!!); the animals were startled and fled, leaving this little tyke behind. Israel named him Bobby and nursed him until he was 4 months old. At that time Bobby got a little too mobile, chasing Israel everywhere, including onto the highway where he was likely to get squashed. Israel heard it through the grapevine that we had a female peccary (have no idea where that came from) and he thought we would probably take a male! So along comes Bobby in a little sack on a motorcycle, straight to our fenced-in yard.

In Belize there is a big problem of people keeping wild animals as pets; it is illegal, but that doesn't stop people. What's worse is that it is very common that someone tries to sell you an animal that they have caught, which perpetuates this illegal wildlife trade. It is very sad as most of these animals are either endangered, or are very important prey for other endangered animals (like the jaguar). In fact, Israel was prompted to bring this little guy our way because his "friend" found Bobby running along the road when Israel had gone to town, and charged Israel $50 to get him back!

I was surprised and a little scared when Israel brought this peccary to us, as I assumed he was trying to sell it to us as well and I do not yet know what to do in that situation. Luckily, all he wanted to do was give it a good home. I told him that we would not keep him but instead would take him to the zoo, where he can live out the rest of his days with peccary friends. Israel was happy about that, as it was the right thing to do, and I think he understood that it is not right to keep wild animals as pets.

Bobby came to us on Easter Sunday! He was scared at first, but quickly took to his new temporary family. He loves being scratched under the chin! After a few chin tickles he flips right over to enjoy some belly rubs.

This little piggy went to Easter dinner! I was lucky enough to have my parents visit me for 10 days over Easter, when Mat went home to visit friends and family in Montreal. We bought my Dad a Rasta Man hat in Placencia, which he sported for the Easter Holidays!

Here Bobby is enjoying laying between our feet UNDER rather than ON the table, NOT being the Easter Ham!

It was reciprocated love at first site when Mathieu got home, Mat picks him up and puts him on his lap, and Bobby is the happiest little piggy in the world (and Mat is pretty happy too!)

As you can see, this little guy really loves to be comfortable. We didn't even put him there, but rather found him all cuddled up in this blanket on the floor in the laundry room, using a stuffed animal as a pillow :)

Tomorrow we are taking our little peccary friend to the zoo. He will be happier there, as although he loves his human and animal companions, he needs to be with his own kind! The Belize Zoo is a great little zoo, the Best Little Zoo in the World! Their animals are very happy, and all have similar stories like Bobby's: they are all orphaned or injured animals, all native to Belize.

So it is sad for us to say good-bye, because we have become very attached to this little stinky critter. However, there is someone here who will likely not be sad about Bobby's departure: poor Eva! Bobby decided on the third day with us that Eva was likely his Mom, and he has been suckling her ever since! Eva has been a good sport, but she has barely had a moment to herself since little piggly has taken to her. Poor girl! She looks confused. She has no recollection of having this baby. How did this happen??

Good-bye Bobby! We love you and we will miss you! Thanks for giving us these wonderful memories.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New cabins!

Here is Part 2 of the new cabins built on the property. These two cabins are Tobar cabins, these guys were excellent! The cabins are beautiful, really well made, they do not curb corners to save a buck and they were installed properly and swiftly. We are very pleased with Erix's work on these ones.

The cabins have two rooms each and a large 6 foot wide deck with a great view of the jungle. They are excellent to hang out on at the end of the day and have a nice cold beer while looking into the thick jungle.

Mat being silly on the deck!

We will use these cabins mainly as dorms for students, but thy will be used as individual rooms for profs and researchers as well as ecotourists that want to experience an ecology field station. We are now in the process of debating what final cabins will be built on the project grounds for now. Either 2 small individual cabins or another one of the large two-room cabins!

The new Cahune jungle compostable toilets!

Anyhow, part 3, the caretaker and intern house will be the next building posting!

You will have to come and see these cabins for yourselves!!!