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, May 20, 2012


A lot of things are changing for us right now. Firstly, we have our friend Brendan Doyle here acting as our Field Manager. Brendan has come to help whip us into shape:) We thought we were working hard before!! Seriously though, so far he has been a huge help, and we expect to be closer to business much much faster with Brendan's help. Brendan is in charge of getting our communal buildings finished and he is also helping us with our media pieces (we will be posting a real Facebook page soon!) and also just general business consulting which he is a pro at. Thank-you Brendan!

In other news........Diesel has been lobotomized! By this I mean he has been neutered, but really his only thinking organ up to now was his testicles and he was going to get himself killed by the neighbour's dogs or the big trucks due to his propensity for impregnating the poor neighbour female on Tuesday Brendan and I took a road trip to Belize City with all of the animals in tow! They all got their shots, deworming meds, and Diesel lost his tomcathood. He is already a different kitty. Sleepy, hungry, and purry, just the way we like him.

Cool Critters!

Every day we are finding interesting new critters! As the seasons change, the animals change too. This guy to the right is some kind of Praying Mantis, which we hope you guys can help us identify! So far we have only seen one individual, but it was probably the coolest insect either of us have ever seen. Like many of the insects we are finding, this guy had a leaf body! Good for blending in to his leafy environment.
This lizard to the left is my personal favourite. It's a Yucatan Banded Gecko! This is a terrestrial gecko, much like the leopard geckos you can find in pet stores at home. Over the Easter weekend I took the neighbour kids down to the stream for a herp walk, one of their cousins was visiting and he was really into snakes and wanted to find a snake. We didn't have any luck in the snake department, but we did find this gecko running across the orchard at the bottom of the hill. I kept him overnight for a good daytime photo shoot, and then let him go the following evening.

The Hercules beetle!! Mat was out bbq'ing one night when this giant heavy beetle flew into the garage area and crashed onto the table. In this picture you can't tell how big he is, but believe me he is huge! About the length of my hand, and really heavy. Amazing!

We are always finding spectacular moths here, but can rarely identify any of them. We are in desperate need of an entomologist at our place! This is one of the more beautiful ones we have found to date. The colours in this photo don't do him justice though - the wing bars are a deep vivid green and he has bright pink edging on the inside of his wings.

We had one of our workers build us a cement wall to help us prevent erosion on one corner of our house. The water cistern is there so it tends to fill up quickly in heavy rains and spill down the bank, creating a lot of erosion. The cement wall and drainage canal Erwin built works perfectly, but one thing we did not imagine was the build up of frogs in this new location!! One night during heavy rains a chorus of about 6 Baudin's Treefrogs started up, waking us from a dead sleep. The cistern is right at the back of the house beside the porch, which is right beside our bedroom window. They make these really loud honking sounds, both of us had dreams of traffic jams before waking up and realizing it was just the frog chorus. Good luck trying to sleep through it though. Mat and I ran outside in the middle of the night in pouring rain trying to catch these guys, put them in a big garbage pail, and move them down to a lower drainage area.......but to no available. But they kept disappearing under the porch! I still don't know where they went. Somehow even the one guy I did manage to catch and put in the pail busted out of the pail despite having a sealed lid on it. Like magic. We were no match for these frogs. Eventually it stopped raining and the frog raucous subsided and we drifted back to sleep.........

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bat fish

After many weeks, we finally have a winner for the unidentified weird fish we found on Caye Caulker! We thank Terry for finally identifying our strange little fellow!

It turns out that our fish was a Shortnose Batfish (Ogcocephalis nasutus). There is not much online for this genus or species. If you want to read more on this topic you can start with! Have fun!

Thank you Terry, awesome!!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Beautiful waterfall

We are starting to take a little more time and explore our surroundings. TREES is situated in the middle of a series of beautiful National Parks and Forest Reserves. These parks and reserves are perfect for our guests to explore the natural wonders of Belize and great places to see and research the amazing fauna and flora biodiversity found here.
Last week we went to Billy Barquedier National park. This 1500 acre park of pristine jungle terrain is about a 15-20 minute drive from our house. This beautiful quaint and little used park was established in 2001 in order to protect the Barquedier watershed which provides two local communities with water. 

This park has nice trails set in a jungle setting, following a river for about 20 minutes until they meet with a beautiful waterfall. A perfect place to go for a swim on those really hot Belizean days. Vanessa, me and the dog all really enjoyed this new coolspot. While maybe not as Blue Lagoonish as the Blue Hole National Park, this watering hole and waterfalls and free of the bustle and hustle of the other park is a great little place.                                                                 

                                                                               It is a beautiful little hike to the waterfall!            


The trail ends up on a beautiful waterfall, great place to freshen up!  

 Here Vanessa is enjoying the beautiful view of the waterfall, minutes before she plunged in!

Eva found herself a little hiding spot to escape the heat of the sun behind a Cahoon Palm leaf.

We highly recommend this beautiful little NP only a short drive from TREES.