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Belize Botanic Gardens

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Belize - Cayo district - San Ignacio

Institution Code: CAYO

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: No

About the Belize Botanic Gardens

Belize Botanic Gardens is 45 acres of native and exotic plants growing in the Cayo district of western Belize. The garden is in a valley on the banks of the Macal River, surrounded by the Maya Mountain foothills.

Modestly speaking we offer you beautiful plants in a beautiful place, but we're oh! so much more. Our main work is encouraging sustainable agriculture, maintaining conservation collections and engaging in conservation education. What that boils down to is that we aim to inspire our community and visitors (this could be you!) to protect our leafy friends and their habitats by learning more about the wonderful world of plants. (www.belizebotanic.org)

Main Address:
Belize Botanic Gardens
Big Eddy, Chial Road
Mailing: P.O. Box 180
San Ignacio
Cayo district Belize

Telephone: 501 824 3101
Fax: 501 824 3301
URL: belizebotanic.org
Primary Email: info@belizebotanic.org

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Judith duPlooy
    Curator's Name: Heather duPlooy
    Plant Records Officer's Name: Brett Adams
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 8
    Educational Staff Number: 1
    Research Staff Number:
    Administration Staff Number: 2

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: Private: Yes
    Status: Educational: Yes
  • Date founded: 1997
  • Physical Data
  • Natural Vegetation Area: Yes
  • Landscaped Area: Yes
  • Total Area: 18 Hectares
    Latitude: 17.1600
    Longitude: -89.0600
    Annual Rainfall: 2235 mm
    Altitude: 129.00 Metres
  • Locality: Information
  • Locality: Garden Name: Belize Botanic Gardens
  • Local Address: Official Language English, Spanish widely spoken
  • Locality: City: San Ignacio
  • Locality: State: PO Box 180, Cayo

Features and Facilities

  • Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: Yes
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 5000
    Number of Volunteers: 1

Plant Collections

  • Special Collections:Native Orchids
    Native Heliconia
    Native Palms
    Native Cycads
    Exotic and Native Tropical Fruit
    Plants of the Maya
    Habitats of Belize: Savanna, Hardwood Wet, Littoral Forest, Pine Ridge, Inland LagoonNative Orchids of Belize
    Xate - Chamaedorea spp
    Bay leaf - Sabal maritiiformis
    Basket tie tie - Desmoncus orthacanthos
    Cycad Collection

Conservation Programmes

  • Medicinal Plant Programme: Yes
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: Yes

Research Programmes

  • Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: Yes
    Exploration: Yes
    Floristics: Yes

Education Programmes

  • Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Education Booklets/Leaflets: Yes
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for School Children: Yes

Professional Gardeners Training Programme

 

Introduction

Since 2012, Belize Botanic Gardens has been offering local people classes in horticulture as part of its Professional Gardeners Training Programme (PGTP). 

The programme was set up in recognition of Belize’s growing tourism industry and need for gardeners in the private sector. The classes have provided new opportunities for the unemployed and also those members of the community who have had little or no formal education.

 
Students taking part in the a class within the garden. © BBG

 

Project start date: April 2012

Project end date: Ongoing

About

The PGTP’s main aim is to train unemployed and underemployed men and women, of all ages, to provide them with landscape gardening skills. The programme has been delivering this through free, 10-week, horticulture courses that combine classroom theory and practical gardening.

Courses were first advertised by flyers, newspaper advertisements and on local television and radio. Students came from all over the region, including individuals from women’s groups, youth groups and local villages.

Since February 2015, the programme has been providing shorter courses, offered at a cost, for those who cannot make the 10-week commitment. The programme now also delivers training in plant and bird identification, as well as workshops on Maya healing, flower arrangement, soap-making and nutrition. 

Once students have completed a training course, they are awarded with a certificate and a job recommendation letter that commemorates their dedication and interest in the programme.

Impact

75% of the 112 students that have attended the training courses are now employed or self-employed. The programme has also helped address social issues by improving the quality of life of rural, poor communities, as well as older, previously unskilled and marginalised individuals.

The programme has improved Belize Botanic Gardens’ reputation and helped increase its visitor numbers. Overall, there has been a greater appreciation for conservation and nature, and gardening is now perceived as a meaningful occupation.

What’s Next? 

A mid-term evaluation has been completed and the Garden hopes to make the programme fully self-sustaining within the two years. Interest has come in from employers and potential students to offer the course to international participants, particularly those from other Caribbean gardens. Belize Botanic Gardens hopes to this in the near future.

Practitioner’s and sponsors