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Jan 27, 2004

Ford awards conservation grants

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Two environmental projects in Belize are tonight receiving grants from automobile giant, the Ford Motor Company. According to the company’s director of environmental outreach and strategy, Andy Acho, the grants are Ford’s way of helping the world’s environment.

Andy Acho, Dir., Environment Outreach, Ford Motor Co.

“We have two different programmes at Ford Motor Company. First, is the Jaguar Conservation Trust where we’re privileged to have Stefanie Powers be our grand jury member, deciding what projects that we can support. In addition to that, we have the Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants Programme where we have jury member from Belize decide what money we at Ford Motor Company need to be giving away to help environmental pursuits in Belize. Belize is one of forty-five countries that Ford Motor Company has this programme in and this is the first year for Belize.”

“In total the jaguar programme is going to be giving away fifty thousand dollars for the countries involved, and Belize is an important part of that. In addition to that, we have an additional ten thousand dollars that we are giving away in Belize for other environmental projects not related to the jaguar.”

Spokesperson for the Jaguar Conservation Trust, actress Stefanie Powers, told News 5 that it is important to protect the jaguar.

Stefanie Powers, Spokesperson, Jaguar Conservation Trust

“In our job this evening we will be awarding the Bocawina Park with a project which will help in education. Signage which is going to help all the visitors to the park understand more about jaguars, and therefore understand the greater concern. When people begin to understand that these animals are not to be taken for granted, that there is a world outside that’s concerned about them, it brings that animal more dramatically into focus for them.”

“You’ve dedicated enormous amount of the territory to environmentally friendly operations, as well as to park lands and set aside for habitat, so you’re on this wonderful road already. I think some wonderful precedence has been set in the region of Central America by Costa Rica, and it looks very much as if Belize is following that path, and they need all the support they can get from the outside world by virtue of eco-tourism cheerleaders, everybody spreading the good word about the about all the great work that’s being done in Belize.”

The awards will be presented during a reception tonight at the Radisson Hotel. The House of Culture is receiving a grant for five thousand U.S. dollars for the restoration of a 1906 sugar mill, while the Friends of Mayflower Bocawina National Park will receive five thousand for directional signs and exhibitions. After they leave Belize, Powers and Acho will travel to Guatemala on Wednesday for a similar presentation to the beneficiaries of the Jaguar Conservation Trust.

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