Community involvement is a vital part of fulfilling our mission. It is not enough to understand the needs of wildlife; you must also know about the concerns of Belizeans who share the land with wildlife. As resource-dependent people we all have an interest in our environment. Community-based development encourages people to work cooperatively and collaboratively and to optimize the benefits of the environment to society while preserving the integrity of natural and cultural resources. We provide opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the management of our environment, adopt sustainable practices that are compatible with existing values, and create alternative livelihoods.

By adopting a participatory, multi-disciplinary and scientific approach in promoting and integrating conservation and protected areas awareness with sustainable alternative livelihoods, BAS continues to empower buffer communities through capacity building in organizational development, business management skills, advocacy, human resources management and sustainable alternative livelihoods options. These are major components to fostering and building relationships with buffer communities of protected areas and a crucial foundation to promote environmental stewardship while garnering collaborative support for the conservation of natural resources.

The Environmental Education program complements the community outreach and development activities.

Community Outreach Projects Implemented 2007-2013

Name of ProjectCommunities ImpactedYear
Crooked Tree Wetlands CampaignBuffer communities of CTWS- the communities of Crooked Tree, Lemonal, and Biscayne increased awareness on the importance of wetlands both locally and nationally. Throughout the campaign cattle farmers from CTWS implemented cattle farming best practices which reduced the process of euthrophication in the Wetlands, and improved quality of product.2007-2009
Green Wave Campaign 519 Upper Division from six buffer communities Primary schools surrounding Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, Guanacaste National Park and Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and one Belize City Primary school participated in the Green Wave Campaign that included school presentations, poster competitions, tree planting and a major ceremony that highlighted the importance of biodiversity and the need to reduce its loss. 2009
Friends of World Heritage (FOWH) Support for Community Empowerment through Alternative Livelihoods for Conservation of the Belize World Heritage SiteThe villages of Copper Bank, Chunox and Sarteneja were empowered with skills for social transformation and conservation through this project. This project took a three-pronged approach which included awareness to promote the importance of protecting the natural resources of HMCNM/BHNM, BAS conservation role; and capacity building resulting in the establishment of three community credit enterprises to promote alternative livelihoods that are environmentally friendly in the three communities. 2009-2010
Strengthening Community Relations/Safeguarding BAS Protected Areas261 community residents and 452 students /16 teachers were sensitized with the importance of protecting the natural resources of CBWS, protected areas laws, and BAS’ and FD’s role in conservation. This was done through community chats, video presentations and school presentations. The other component of this project was a joint enforcement effort by BAS, The Belize Police Force and the Forest Department in different “hotspots” of the protected area to curb illegal activities hence reducing the pressures in the PA.2011-2012
Empowerment of Northern
Communities through the Sustainable Livelihoods for
the conservation of Belize Barrier Reef World Heritage Site.
1,042 residents from three Northern communities raised awareness about the importance of protecting the natural resources of HMCNM/BHNM, protected areas laws and BAS’ conservation role through community video nights, fisher folks meetings and school competitions. In addition, the two community credit enterprises in Copper Bank and Sarteneja strengthened their capacities, were registered and increased their seed capitals to promote alternative livelihoods in their communities. 2012-2013