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Oct 28, 2003

Audubon exhibit brings wilderness to city

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It is Belize’s oldest environmental group, but unless we visit our national parks and other protected areas, we don’t get to see what the Belize Audubon Society actually does. That will all change tonight as a photographic exhibition hosted by Audubon opens on the Barracks.

Dirk Francisco, Photographer, B.A.S.

“People use the images for presentations, preparations in Power Point, for magazine covers, and all different types of publications, so Belize Audubon Society right now is becoming a good source of images.”

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

In 2002, the Belize Audubon Society received its first digital camera. The equipment was used to capture on film scenes from its protected areas across the country. Three years after the first set of pictures were snapped the organization decided it was time to share their photo collection with the public. B.A.S. public participation officer and photographer, Dirk Francisco, hopes the display will encourage Belizeans to take better care of the country’s natural resources.

Dirk Francisco

“In the exhibit it shows some of the work that Belize Audubon Society has been doing. As you know, a part of our mission statement is trying to create a balance between people and the environment, so in the images it clearly shows people, and the environment in some cases. With most of the work that we do, we go around talking with the communities, hosting workshops, doing environmental education. And with our biggest programme being protected areas management, we have to interact a lot with the people and the environment.”

Jacqueline Woods

“What are you hoping to achieve here?”

Dirk Francisco

“We are just bringing about awareness. One of our programmes at Belize Audubon Society is actually environmental education, so through our environmental education programme we just develop this photo exhibition so that people could see some of what we see everyday.”

Undoubtedly, the pictures are beautiful, but have you ever stopped to think about what would happen to these resources if we continue to abuse the environment? A walk across to the other side of the art gallery shows how resources like the forest, soil, and water are mismanaged. The photos were taken by B.A.S. member and former president Jose Pepe Garcia.

Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, B.A.S.

“Mr. Garcia, as you know, works as a consultant in the environmental field, preparing environmental impact assessments, doing assessments for different businesses or developments. So basically what he is trying to highlight is that there needs to be a balance between people and the environment. So while we need to develop to make money to put food on the table, at the same time we have to be conscious of what mitigation measures we have to put in place when we are developing. So he is basically highlighting that we can have the environment and also develop at the same time, but that developers and people in power have to be conscious that we do have to take those necessary steps to protect the environment at the same time or safeguard it while we develop.”

The Belize Audubon Society plans to make the exhibition an annual event.

The show titled “Natural Heritage” will officially be opened at seven tonight at the Mexican Institute art gallery. The general public is invited to attend.

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