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Feb 8, 2022

Belize Audubon Society Celebrates 53rd Anniversary

The Belize Audubon Society is the oldest conservation organization in the country.  Established in 1969, the N.G.O. has evolved to becoming one of the leading environmental groups advocating for sustainable management of Belize’s natural resources.  On Sunday, the Audubon celebrated its fifty-third anniversary.  While there is much to be proud of, the organization has also been dealt a serious blow by the pandemic and is only just getting back on its feet. Earlier today, we spoke with Executive Director Amanda Acosta.


Amanda Acosta

Amanda Acosta, Executive Director, Belize Audubon Society

“February sixth, was the birthday of the institution, so Belize Audubon Society turned fifty-three last Sunday, February sixth.  So we are actually the oldest environmental N.G.O. in country. We started as a nature loving, nature-based kind of bird watching group and then it evolved into an advocacy group. We were among those who lobbied for natural resources management and that’s kind of been our tagline as we’ve moved through the decades, really trying to balance people and the environment and keeping people oriented towards conservation, oriented towards, really, wise development in the country. We manage some of the more iconic destinations. You have your Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary, St. Herman’s Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye and what that translated to is that we were very tourism oriented and tourism dependent to a degree, and so we were hit hard by the pandemic. We actually had to slim down in that we did lose some, we had to shrink our staff sizing, we had to take salary cuts as many have heard throughout the entire society and we really just had to rethink our thought processes. We reached out to donors, we reached out to different grants to try to get new grants but also restructure existing projects and grants to see if they could help cover some of the overhead expenses that we ended up incurring because if you could recall, protected areas management is a day-to-day assignment so we have to make sure that we have staff out there in the protected areas… that the trails are being maintained, that everything is being kept, you know, up to par. So for us, it was a, we returned to our roots. We did get volunteers and we did get, we hadn’t had that many volunteers in a while so we did have a significant going back to the roots of the society, volunteers, grant writing and really just being as budget minded as we could at the time.”

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