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UB ERI Hosts Open Day & Partner Recognition Ceremony

The University of Belize Environmental Research Institute (UB ERI) hosted its Open Day and Partner Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development, Belmopan.

A total of 51 individuals from the public, private and NGO community attended the event which marked the Institute’s first open day and its second partner recognition ceremony. Special invited guests included Dr. Percival Cho, the Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Immigration and Chair of the UB Board of Trustees, Mr. Harrison Pilgrim.

The welcome remarks were delivered by UB President, Professor Clement Sankat, who applauded the UB ERI for hosting this event, stressed the need for financial sustainability and partnerships for the continuity of Institute’s work and encouraged the Institute to make it's work more visible to the general public.

The event also featured video presentations highlighting UB ERI’s work. This included the sea cucumber mariculture research by UB ERI’s Marine Research Fellow, Dr. Arlenie Rogers, the Sustainable Forestry Project in partnership with Oxford University and the Belize Forest Department with support from the Darwin Initiative, the wildlife monitoring program in partnership with Panthera, the bird banding project in partnership with Black Rock Lodge, the Belize Audubon Society, the Corozal Sustainability Future Initiative and Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, and the marine research and monitoring work at the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve in collaboration with the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA).

Dr. Elma Kay, Science Director (Terrestrial), with the assistance of Professor Sankat and Mr. Pilgrim, presented awards to UB ERI donors and partners. Dr. Kay expressed gratitude to the Oak Foundation whose contribution has not only benefited the Institute but other local organizations and partners through the Institute’s training program. Dr. Kay also emphasized the UB ERI’s 4-year partnership with Syracuse University, which has supported the training of over 100 UB personnel and environmental stakeholders in conflict resolution and negotiation. Several local partners were also recognized during the event including the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Immigration. The UB ERI’s Administrative Director and Science Director (Marine), Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts, with assistance from UB’s Vice President, Dr. Mariot Simon, presented awards to UB heads of departments whose support has made the Institute’s work a success.

During the event, Dr. Ricketts, delivered a presentation on UB ERI’s strategic direction over the next 5 years. This strategic direction is focused on achieving financial sustainability with the continued support of partners, developing and delivering graduate programs to increase research output, and fostering public-private partnerships for research in the agriculture and tourism sectors.

The event culminated with a word of thanks from Dr. Simon and the open day featuring exhibits of the Institute’s work. A display of over 20 UB ERI past volunteers, interns and student assistants and the impact the institute has had on them both personally and professionally also formed part of the exhibits.

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