UB ERI Hosts First Partner Recognition Ceremony
In January 2012, the ERI hosted it first Partner Recognition Ceremony at the George Price Center. This ceremony was held to recognize partners that have shown tremendous support to and endorsement of the ERI since its official launch in 2009. Mistress of Ceremonies was Dr. Elma Kay, Administrative Director and Science Director (Terrestrial) and Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts, Science Director (Marine) assisted with presentations on ERI’s achievements. Guest speakers included the University Belize’s (UB’s) President, Dr. Cary Fraser, UB’s Chairperson, Mrs. Imani Fairweather – Morrison, and Dr. Ismael Hoare, Provost. The ERI expressed its appreciation for the support of each and every one of its partners. At the recognition ceremony a few select institutions were honored in particular Panthera, the Oak Foundation, the UK Darwin Initiative and the Fisheries Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and fisheries,. These partners were honored for their significant contribution to the ERI and support of its programs.The ERI has several projects in which these partners are involved:
The “Lowland Savanna Ecosystem Project”, a Darwin initiative funded project which “seeks to strengthen local capacity in taxonomy and vegetation survey and improve biodiversity data to enable Belizean institutions to meet obligations to the CBD via the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.” It is under this exact project that ERI botanist, German Lopez is involved in the re-curation of the Belize National Herbarium.
The “Large Mammal Corridor Project”, a project once again funded by the Darwin initiative in collaboration with Panthera is to develop “a workable natural corridor to connect protected areas in Belize; implement this into the framework of existing protected areas and zoning plans of Belize; and establish an in–country tradition of training skills for Belizeans to study their own wildlife.” Work is being carried out under this project by Panthera Fellow, Dr. Bart Harmsen, Dr. Rebecca Foster and Wildlife Biologist, Said Gutierrez.
The OAK Foundation funded project, “National Research & Monitoring Capacity project” to develop a research and capacity building mechanism within the national University that will enable a sustained program of scientific research and monitoring in Belize. This project has supported the establishment of research and monitoring programs at Turneffe, national databases supporting national monitoring networks and research, a national agenda to guide environmental and NRM research, the establishment of a Marine Research Fellow position and the training and building of UB students scientific capacity.
Moving into 2012 the ERI plans to keep these partnerships strong and move forward in realizing its mission of building national scientific capacity for the effective management, sustainable use and conservation of Belize’s natural resources.