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Two Years Empowering PAM

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In 2012, the UB ERI began to fulfil its vision of a National Training Program for Protected Areas Management (NTPPAM). The PACT funded pilot project set out to deliver a set of 8 courses under several areas of interest such as Institutional Strengthening, Sustainable Conservation Financing for PAs, and Specialized Ranger Training among others.

In its first year of implementation, the NTPPAM delivered PA Management Planning, PA Management Effectives, Conservation Finance Level 1 and Financial Management Level 1. In all, 37 persons from 17 different organizations including government departments successfully completed at least one of these courses. From late 2012 to August 2013, it was wonderful to experience the dedication and interest that the participants invested into learning more!

There was much eagerness to get things rolling with the second year of implementation. In April 2014, the first of the four remaining courses was begun. A total of 15 rangers from 7 organizations from across the country were part of the Research and Monitoring Level 1 course. They met Dr. Elma Kay and Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts in Belmopan for the workshop sessions. The terrestrial group then headed south to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary for the field practice session while the marine group headed out to Calabash Caye Field Station for the same. The Advanced Conservation Finance Course was delivered by Dr. James Barborak of Colorado State University. For this course we had 9 participants completing the course in early July 2014.

The National Ranger Training component of the NTPPAM was implemented with its first cadre of rangers. Our partners at Ya’axche Conservation Trust were the lead course instructors and course coordinators for this 3-module training.

Things kept moving along and the third course under Year 2 of NTPPAM was delivered by Mrs. Melissa Almendarez. In late September there was representation of 9 organizations at the course in the person of 11 course participants.

And finally in November 2014, a total of 9 biologists from different organizations working in at least 10 different protected areas were part of the Research and Monitoring Level 2 course. This course was again facilitated by Dr. Elma Kay and Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts of the UB ERI. For the field practice sessions, the group worked at Payne’s Creek National Park in Southern Belize.

As we look back at the delivery of these courses, we must say that the experience has been encouraging! We have been able to share knowledge, information and enhance skills of PA professionals from all across the nation. We are encouraged to know that they are not the only ones in the sector who are thirsting for knowledge and professional development. We look forward to the path ahead as we work with our partners to design a formal certification program geared towards the professionals in the protected area sector of Belize.

For further information on the National Training Program for Protected Area Management, feel free to contact Kathya Castañeda our Training Officer at

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