Destination BelizeWe at Belize Botanic Gardens are excited about hosting CBGC’s 2nd conference.
Having this conference in a venue of such incredible biodiversity, with a combination of both Caribbean and Latin American flavor, should help make it both productive and fun. If you haven’t been to Belize, this is your chance.
History of Belize Botanic Gardens
In 1993 Ken and Judy duPlooy purchased land in the Cayo District of Western Belize that had been bulldozed into a barren field by previous owners. Ken duPlooy had spent the last few years discovering the diversity of the plants of Belize and the rewards of gardening in the tropics. He wanted to use the opportunity to pursue areas of botanic interest and attract wildlife back to the area.
duPlooy developed an organic orchard filled with tropical fruits he thought could be economically and environmentally important for Belize, exotics such as mangosteen and lychee and natives such as black sapote and avocado. A plot of a variety of hardwoods was established as a long term sustainable timber experiment. In addition to these plantings duPlooy enjoyed the diversity of tropical plants and would ask other enthusiasts for cuttings and seeds from home gardens around Belize to add to the collection.
As the diversity and size of the collection grew so did curiosity and the garden became a point of interest to other plant lovers, visiting botanists and the like. Such associations and encouragement spurred the garden evolution from a private eclectic collection to a publicly accessible botanic garden. To this effect in 1997 a board of trustees was formed, a mission statement developed and Belize Botanic Gardens was officially registered with the Government of Belize.
The 45 acres that are now Belize Botanic Gardens are the product of Ken duPlooy’s passion for plants and a love of love of his garden. Though an amateur plant enthusiast he had great vision, determination and charisma that pushed the garden ahead despite the lack of money and enough time. His death in 2001 was a great loss for the garden but it continues to grow thanks to Judy duPlooy’s ability to manage meager resources. She has brought the garden where it is today in keeping with the original focus on sustainable agriculture, conservation, education and the display of interesting flora.