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

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cashew time!

It is now cashew season in Belize and at TREES. I thought that this fruit is so interesting that I wanted to write a blog post in honour of my favourite nut. The cashew nut is the seed of the cashew fruit from the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale), a great yellow juicy fruit. One may now understand why these nuts are so expensive as each of this large fruit bare only one cashew nut each. While the fruit smells really good and appears to be quite tasty, it is quite bitter and unpalatable. I have seen some locals eat the fruit but it is not a common thing to see. I have not done intensive research or observation on this topic as of yet but it does appear that the fruits are sought after by numerous insects, birds and bats. When the fruits are ripe the cashew trees are filled like a morning Irwin one stop truck stop.

As I just mentioned, the fruits are not quite edible, the fruits are commonly used to produce cashew wine. The cashew produces a wine that is very tasty but really sweet, more of a fortified wine resembling Sherry. I don't recommend anybody drink too much of this stuff! I think it would resemble the time I drank a little too much port, and let me tell you, I remember it to this day.

Ok, back to the nut, the cashew nut is very important in Belize. A few communities in Belize base a large part of the there economy of the cashew. Every April, at the peak of production there is the Annual Cashew Festival in Crooked Tree (see We missed it this year but we are not going to miss it next year!

At TREES we have at least 3-4 large cashew tree on the property and we are getting ready for the harvest. Our trees are really big and probably produce a couple hundred cashew fruits each, this will make a medium size bag of cashews. Once we have collected the fruit, we will need to roast the nuts out of their toxic casing (containing urushiol), which can be fatal if eaten raw. The roasting process generally takes some serious precautions such as wearing gloves, a mask and a long sleeve shirt or severe burns can results. Once they are roasted they can be removed from their casing and finally enjoyed. I now understand why this nut is so expensive and sought after, respect to the cashew nut! We should be roasting the nuts next week, we will keep you posted on this next step.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the Cashew, its economic importance and many natural remedy uses I suggest you visit this site

Next time you enjoy this delicious nut you will be able to appreciate it even more, hmmm! Enjoy!


  1. Ooh lala! I'm looking forward to the follow up. I was interested immediately when reading the genus name: Anacardium. I recently learned about sumac, a vigorous and wide-spread shrub in eastern Canada. They are in the same family Anacardiaceae, and the poison sumac and poison ivy too! I can see why gloves and masks are necessary.

  2. Man oh man. I just wrote a long comment and it erased! Anyway, like the new pictures...especially the hummingbirds and the story about the cashews! I can't believe how many trees it takes to make one bag. I feel like a pig now. I was wondering, do you have pictures of your construction to put up? I'd love to see how the property is coming along!

    Your loving sister,