http://www.coppolaresorts.com/ Coppola Resorts teams with 'Pack for a Purpose' about-us/news/2013/02/pack-for-a-purpose about-us/news/2013/02/pack-for-a-purpose Thu, 21 Feb 2013 10:19:00 GMT about-us/news/2013/02/pack-for-a-purpose Pack for a PurposeWe are proud members of Pack for a Purpose, an initiative that allows travelers like you to make a lasting impact in the community at your travel destination. If you save just a few kilos of space in your suitcase and bring supplies for area schools or medical clinics in need, you'll make a priceless impact in the lives of our local children and families. Please read below to see what supplies are needed for our current projects.

At Coppola Resorts we focus not only on giving our guests an unforgettable vacation, but also on making sure we are positively effect the community we live in.  Besides offering employment and training to Belizeans from the local area, we participate in regular community service projects.  You can help support these projects by bringing a few items with you when you come to Belize to be delivered to deserving schools or organizations.

Below is an outline of two ongoing projects you can assist with:


SCHOOL SUPPLIES FOR LOCAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Providing school supplies for Seine Bight Elementary School and St. John's Memorial Preschool in Placencia, both less than- 10 minutes away from Turtle Inn Resort.

Needs:

Pens, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, chalk, hand held pencil sharpeners, rulers, erasers, protractors, compasses, solar calculators, exercise books, math flash cards, English word flash cards, alphabet flash cards, science educational wall charts, math educational wall charts, English language educational wall charts, human body educational wall charts, English dictionaries and encyclopedias, working laptops, age appropriate story books in English, colored construction paper, glue sticks, watercolor paints, craft scissors, soccer balls, netballs/basketballs, jump ropes, Frisbees, new or gently used children's clothing, new or gently used children's shoes, stuffed animals/soft toys and educational toys.

PLACENCIA HUMANE SOCIETY
Furnish basic pet care items that all Humane Societies need on a regular basis. The mission statement of the Placencia Humane Society is Helping People Help Animals. In support of our mission, we hold the following as the core values of the Placencia Humane Society. 

  • Together we hold central the welfare and care of animals.
  • Together we are compassionate and empathetic in every decision and interaction.
  • Together we are fiscally responsible and accountable.
  • Together we commit to honesty and integrity.
  • Together we stand behind our work.
  • Together we embrace constructive change.
  • Together we lead by example and with excellence

Needs:
Dog and cat food, pet snacks, chew toys, kitty litter, pet bedding, blankets or rugs. They are also always in need of pet carriers, pet crates, doggie gates, leashes, collars, harnesses, small plastic swimming pools, pet bowls, feeding trays and water bottles. Don't forget to donate pet shampoo, conditioners, brushes, combs and any other grooming items that might be needed.

We look forward to working with you on supporting these worthy projects.

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Francis Ford Coppola Resorts to Partner with Alexandra Cousteau and Blue Legacy on “Expedition Blue Planet: Belize” about-us/news/2011/10/francis-ford-coppola-resorts-to-partner-with-alexandra-cousteau-and-blue-legacy-on-expedition-blue-planet-belize about-us/news/2011/10/francis-ford-coppola-resorts-to-partner-with-alexandra-cousteau-and-blue-legacy-on-expedition-blue-planet-belize Thu, 13 Oct 2011 15:57:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/10/francis-ford-coppola-resorts-to-partner-with-alexandra-cousteau-and-blue-legacy-on-expedition-blue-planet-belize Francis Ford Coppola’s famed resorts in Belize, Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn, announced today that they have formalized a partnership with Alexandra Cousteau’s Blue Legacy, an environmental foundation that works to engage mainstream audiences on global water issues. Cousteau, the granddaughter of renowned environmentalist Jacques Yves-Cousteau, will travel to Belize in spring 2012 in order to explore and film critical environmental issues for a worldwide audience.

Committed and dedicated to fostering best practices in ecotourism and sustainable travel, the Coppola Resorts will host the Blue Legacy group during their stay in Belize. By leveraging Coppola Resorts' valuable relationships with the area's conservation partners and key influencers, Blue Legacy will gain a special insight into the management of Belize’s protected areas and will seek out views from a wide range of community stakeholders.

The tentatively titled “Expedition Blue Planet: Belize” will explore three areas of the country in order to illustrate how ecosystems and communities depend on natural water systems and how changes in land use practices affect both freshwater and marine environments.

“We are thrilled to welcome Alexandra Cousteau and Blue Legacy to Belize this spring and guide them on their journey,” said Neil Rogers, a leading sustainable tourism expert and Coppola Resorts’ Director of Marketing. Adding, “Coppola Resorts is dedicated to practicing sustainability in our resorts, and this partnership further accentuates our commitment.”

Alexandra Cousteau and Blue Legacy will travel to Belize in spring 2012 with a group of explorers, researchers and filmmakers to document their expeditions around the country. With interviews ranging from prominent experts and key scientists to local residents and community leaders, Blue Legacy will generate a variety of film and interactive features to engage global audiences on the topics explored during the expedition in Belize and their connections with similar challenges and opportunities throughout the world.

“Blue Legacy is looking forward to visiting Belize this coming Spring as we believe the country has a unique local color and demonstrates critical global themes,” says Alexandra Cousteau, founder of Blue Legacy. “In Belize, we will explore species that depend on the ridge [inland areas], coastal communities and the reef systems while also discussing how these three critical features are connected through natural water systems. We are thankful to have the opportunity to partner with Coppola Resorts as we explore the country their famed resorts reside in.”

The Coppola Resorts in Belize are currently undertaking an array of sustainability initiatives. In June, the two Coppola Resorts joined the Sustainable Tourism Program led by the Rainforest Alliance, the international nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to helping businesses develop and implement practices spanning sustainable forestry, agriculture, tourism, climate and education. They have also joined forces with one of the early leaders in the sustainable travel movement, Sustainable Travel International’s global Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP), which represents the gold standard for companies striving to be environmentally innovative and socially responsible.

Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge recently implemented a stainless steel bottle program aimed at reducing plastic water bottle consumption by guests. Additional environmental efforts include the hydroelectric plant that the Coppolas installed in 1993 which harnesses the energy of Privassion Creek that runs through Blancaneaux Lodge, supplying the property with some renewable power. Excess energy that is generated is used to heat the hot pool at the Waterfall Spa. New recycling procedures, ongoing wildlife research and improved environmental community outreach programs all contribute to the sustainability of the Coppola Resorts and the planet. Both properties feature expansive organic gardens that supply fresh produce used in the on-site restaurants, reducing their carbon footprint by using locally sourced ingredients.

About Blue Legacy
Blue Legacy was founded in 2008, by explorer and filmmaker Alexandra Cousteau and “dot-com” entrepreneur Jonathan Smith. The Washington, DC-based organization is a non-profit project of The Ocean Foundation and is dedicated to helping people understand and value their everyday relationship with water. Blue Legacy produces visual and interactive storytelling inspired by expeditions around the globe to engage people in critical conversations about the health, quality and quantity of our water resources with a focus on restoring natural water systems, preserving fragile water treasures and empowering everyday people to change our water future one community at a time.

About Francis Ford Coppola Resorts

The Coppola Resorts are a collection of unique award-winning properties where stylish and eco-friendly exploration and discovery meets serenity and delight. Drawing upon inspiration from his film career and travels to the far reaching corners of the world, each resort is an ideal destination known for the intuitive nature of the friendly staff to the allure of exploring the natural wonders of the area while relaxing in tranquil surroundings. Francis puts it best saying, “There are things to do – or just do nothing.” The Coppola Resorts offer a glimpse into the values that Francis holds dear – family, fun, adventure, and great food and wine. These elements can be seen throughout each property, weaved into the landscape, creating a personal Coppola connection for all to enjoy. The Coppola Resort properties at Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn have been listed as the “Best Resorts in Central + South America” by Travel + Leisure magazine, as well as many other travel authorities.

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Rare Solitary Eagle nest found in the Mountain Pine Ridge about-us/news/2011/07/blancaneaux-conservation-officer-finds-nest-of-the-rare-solitary-eagle-in-the-mountain-pine-ridge about-us/news/2011/07/blancaneaux-conservation-officer-finds-nest-of-the-rare-solitary-eagle-in-the-mountain-pine-ridge Thu, 28 Jul 2011 00:05:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/07/blancaneaux-conservation-officer-finds-nest-of-the-rare-solitary-eagle-in-the-mountain-pine-ridge After many years of searching for a nest of the elusive Solitary Eagle by the Belize Raptor Research Institute (BRRI) and Blancaneaux Lodge, a stunning discovery was made on June 30th, 2011. Roni Martinez, Conservation Officer at Blancaneaux Lodge and member of the Belize Raptor Research Institute, assisted by Matt Allshouse, Stacia Novy and Audrey Martin of The Peregrine Fund, found an active Solitary Eagle nest in some of the steepest terrain in the Mountain Pine Ridge. The nest contained a single chick, which was at least two months old and getting ready to fledge the nest.  Bird Life International estimates the entire wild population of Solitary Eagles at fewer than 1000 individuals and currently the IUCN lists the species as Near Threatened, but may be up-listed based on further evidence of decreasing population size and trends.

The Solitary Eagle is a rare and local resident with a small population size within its broad, but patchy distribution from Mexico to Argentina.  All aspects of its natural history, breeding biology, and population demographics are unknown. Before the discovery of this nest, only two others had ever been found. Both findings were in the 1940’s and 1950’s in Mexico and sadly the eggs and adults were collected for museum specimens from both nests, and no nesting data was collected. The discovery of this nest is a big step forward in the conservation of the Solitary Eagle as we can now begin to understand this unknown species and its requirements, so that management strategies can be implemented and its conservation status can be better understood. The Belize Raptor Research Institute currently studying the nest, is setting plans into motion to protect the area where the nest was found and establish it as a Nature Reserve with access only for research or educational purposes. Stay tuned for updates, as BRRI raptor biologists are in the field studying the chick before it fledges the nest!

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Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn Reinforce Their Commitment to Ecotourism and Sustainable Travel about-us/news/2011/07/blancaneaux-lodge-and-turtle-inn-reinforce-their-commitment-to-ecotourism-and-sustainable-travel about-us/news/2011/07/blancaneaux-lodge-and-turtle-inn-reinforce-their-commitment-to-ecotourism-and-sustainable-travel Mon, 11 Jul 2011 10:59:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/07/blancaneaux-lodge-and-turtle-inn-reinforce-their-commitment-to-ecotourism-and-sustainable-travel Francis Ford Coppola’s famed resorts in Belize, Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn, have formalized two strategic alliances that further the company’s commitment and dedication to fostering best practices in ecotourism and sustainable travel. Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn have joined the Sustainable Tourism Program led by the Rainforest Alliance, the international nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to helping businesses develop and implement practices spanning sustainable forestry, agriculture, tourism, climate and education. The two Coppola properties have also joined forces with one of the early leaders in the sustainable travel movement, Sustainable Travel International’s global Sustainable Tourism Eco-Certification Program (STEP), which represents the gold standard for companies striving to be environmentally innovative and socially responsible.

“The Coppolas see their role as that of a conservator,” said Serena Lightner, vice president of Coppola Resorts. Adding, “We’re grateful for the opportunities to work with the Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Travel International.  Each of these organizations is a world-renowned sustainable tourism specialist. We look forward to working with each organization to further our commitment to ecotourism and carry out the Coppolas’ dedication to Belize’s pristine environment.”  

The Coppola Resorts in Belize are currently undertaking an aggressive array of sustainability initiatives. Turtle Inn and Blancaneaux Lodge are currently implementing a stainless steel bottle program aimed at reducing plastic water bottle consumption by guests. Additionally, Blancaneaux Lodge has actively begun implementing eco-friendly systems and procedures for recycling as well as preserving water and power on the property. Both properties feature expansive organic gardens that supply fresh produce used in the on-site restaurants, reducing their carbon footprint by using locally sourced ingredients.  

Blancaneaux Lodge: Biodiversity Conservation & Research Projects; Workshops

Blancaneaux Lodge is surrounded by 300-square miles in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, the largest and oldest of Belize’s protected areas. Coppola Resorts’ Director of Marketing Neil Rogers, known as a leading sustainable tourism expert with 25 years of experience, and Blancaneaux Lodge Conservation Officer Roni Martinez work together to implement sustainable initiatives and offer guests an elevated travel experience.  Blancaneaux Lodge works closely with several organizations to preserve biodiversity and protect the environment. Its valued partnerships, such as the ones with Friends for Conservation and Development, Belize Raptor Research Institute, and the Ix Jaguar Research project coordinated by Dr. Marcella Kelly of the Department of Fisheries & Wildlife at Virginia Tech have provided guests with a unique opportunity to experience Belize from a different point of view. Guests are given an exclusive opportunity to be part of the ongoing research and development, a chance to benefit from the long-standing working relationships between Blancaneaux Lodge’s expert guides and their colleagues and scientists in the field through various projects and workshops. A portion of all the workshop fees are donated to the respective conservation or research groups involved.

Additional environmental efforts include the hydroelectric plant that the Coppolas installed in 1993. It harnesses the energy of Privassion Creek that runs through Blancaneaux Lodge, supplying the property with some renewable power.  Excess energy that is generated is used to heat the hot pool at the Waterfall Spa. 

Turtle Inn Conservation Efforts

Turtle Inn is Coppola’s Belizean seafront hideaway that he opened to the public in 2003. Originally acquired in 2001, it was swept out to sea by the forces of Hurricane Iris. Turning disaster into triumph, the Coppola’s led a two-year reclamation project with the vision of creating an intimate beachside resort perfect for those seeking privacy and a stress-relieving escape. The entire property at Turtle Inn, which features 25 individual cottages and villas just steps from the Caribbean Sea is created using low profile, environmentally sound designs, thatch, hardwoods, pine and bamboo. Screened windows and doors, ceiling fans and high, thatched ceilings allow for sufficient air circulation to enable hot air to escape – designed to keep cool without air conditioning. The flow control showerheads are used in the indoor bathrooms at all properties. Turtle Inn also uses local and regional plants that do not rely on intensive irrigation for landscaping. Additionally, Turtle Inn is committed to supporting the community’s environmental efforts and joins forces with many different marine conservation groups such as SEABelize.

About Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Alliance works with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance’s efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. For more information, visit www.rainforest-alliance.org.

About Sustainable Travel International
Sustainable Travel International (STI) is a global non-profit organization that works with travelers, businesses and destinations to protect the environment, preserve cultural heritage and promote economic development.  By specializing in market-driven programs that generate tangible results and affect systemic change, STI has become a global leader in sustainable tourism development collaborating with industry leaders worldwide from Fortune 500 companies and micro-sized enterprises to developed nations and emerging destinations.  For more information, visit www.sustainabletravel.com.  

About Francis Ford Coppola Resorts
The Coppola Resorts are a collection of unique award-winning properties where stylish and eco-friendly exploration and discovery meets serenity and delight. Drawing upon inspiration from his film career and travels to the far reaching corners of the world, each resort is an ideal destination known for the intuitive nature of the friendly staff to the allure of exploring the natural wonders of the area while relaxing in tranquil surroundings. Francis puts it best saying, “There are things to do – or just do nothing.” The Coppola Resorts offer a glimpse into the values that Francis holds dear – family, fun, adventure, and great food and wine. These elements can be seen throughout each property, weaved into the landscape, creating a personal Coppola connection for all to enjoy. The Coppola Resort properties at Blancaneaux Lodge and Turtle Inn have been listed as the “Best Resorts in Central + South America” by Travel + Leisure magazine, as well as many other travel authorities.

 

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Turtle Inn debuts exclusive scuba diving packages about-us/news/2011/06/turtle-inn-debuts-exclusive-scuba-diving-packages about-us/news/2011/06/turtle-inn-debuts-exclusive-scuba-diving-packages Thu, 16 Jun 2011 12:25:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/06/turtle-inn-debuts-exclusive-scuba-diving-packages Turtle Inn is now offering two exclusive scuba diving packages throughout 2011 and 2012 giving adventurers the opportunity to explore a magnificent variety of coral and marine life along the Belize Barrier Reef. Choose from either a 4-night or 7-night vacation package. All excursions will take place from Turtle Inn’s brand new dive boat, Miss Ellie.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn is located in Belize's coastal village of Placencia. One of the world’s greatest scuba destinations, Belize is one of the few dive spots on the planet that can boast the return of the largest fish in the ocean year after year. During the full moon weeks of May and June, the Whale Shark will glide through our waters giving divers and snorkelers the unmatched opportunity to share the ocean with them in close quarters.
 
To book packages please call toll-free
(800) 746-3743, of email info@coppolaresorts.com

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Turtle Inn welcomes Miss Ellie! about-us/news/2011/06/turtle-inn-welcomes-miss-ellie about-us/news/2011/06/turtle-inn-welcomes-miss-ellie Wed, 08 Jun 2011 00:00:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/06/turtle-inn-welcomes-miss-ellie Turtle Inn’s brand new dive boat, Miss Ellie, successfully took its maiden voyage last weekend and is now transporting resort guests along the Caribbean’s largest barrier reef for scuba and snorkeling adventures.

Named after owner Francis Coppola’s wife, Eleanor, the boat is 46 feet long, which is almost 50% larger than the resort’s previous dive boat, yet is far more fuel efficient thanks to a fiberglass hull. She also has two 350 HP, V8- 4 stroke outboards, making her one of the fastest boat in the area, cutting travel time to and from the reef significantly. Other new features include GPS, a “fish finder,” a fly bridge with shaded area, rod holders for deep see trolling, a rinse tank for camera equipment, full head (bathroom) with a fresh water shower and capacity for up to 25 guests.

Miss Ellie is also equipped with the latest safety features, including VHF marine communication, first aid kits, life support oxygen, life vests, diver down flags, and of course, a captain that knows and respects the sea.  Additionally, all dive trips are led by a licensed Tour Guide who is also a PADI Divemaster or a certified PADI Instructor.

We invite you to come aboard the Miss Ellie soon and explore the magnificent variety of coral and marine life in one of the world’s greatest scuba destinations.

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Blancaneaux Lodge Guides & Conservation Officer help with ongoing Scarlet Macaw research about-us/news/2011/06/blancaneaux-lodge-guides-conservation-officer-help-with-ongoing-scarlet-macaw-research about-us/news/2011/06/blancaneaux-lodge-guides-conservation-officer-help-with-ongoing-scarlet-macaw-research Thu, 02 Jun 2011 12:10:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/06/blancaneaux-lodge-guides-conservation-officer-help-with-ongoing-scarlet-macaw-research Eddie Tzib and Roni Martinez from Blancaneaux Lodge have been helping researcher Charles Britt and Marcial Cordova of Wildlife Conservation Society of Guatemala with the ongoing research of the Belize population of Scarlet Macaws. 

This year’s project included trapping individual Scarlet Macaws and placing Telonics satellite telemetry collars on them. Although this is a slow process covering a large area, the goal was accomplished over a two week period, and now three adult Macaws have been fitted with the satellite transmitters. These collars are already sending in data on the daily movements of the birds and will be key in finally deciphering the exact migration route of the Macaws over the Maya Mountains. Over the next two months, monitoring expeditions will continue as the breeding season draws to an end.

During the expedition, illegal poachers were documented climbing some nests, which prompted intervention by FCD (Friends for Conservation and Development) National Park Rangers. The threat to the survival of this isolated and declining species remains, and Blancaneaux Lodge is committed to helping the respective authorities and researchers in their constant battle to save it from extinction.

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Turtle Inn supports Turtle Watch Program about-us/news/2011/04/turtle-inn-supports-turtle-watch-program about-us/news/2011/04/turtle-inn-supports-turtle-watch-program Tue, 19 Apr 2011 10:28:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/04/turtle-inn-supports-turtle-watch-program Khristina Bonham, a Conservation and Biodiversity Masters student at the University of Exeter, has been working with ECOMAR Belize on the newly formed Turtle Watch Program. Last month she visited Turtle Inn, and for six days gave informative presentations to the guests, conducted water surveys for sea turtles and trained at our dive shop on how to report sightings in the future. Below are the journal entries from her stay.

Sea Turtle Research in Belize
Belize is a beautiful country with a wealth of biodiversity. From its turquoise waters to its wild jungles, Belize is teaming with natural wonders. It also is the host of the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, and the second largest in the world. Every year thousands of tourists flock to enjoy this lovely place. Belize is also home to a number of sea turtle species. Most common are the hawksbill sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, and green sea turtles. Rare visitors include the leatherback sea turtle and olive ridley sea turtle. All of these turtles are categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered, meaning they are in desperate need of conservation.

Sea turtles nest on over thirty cayes and mainland areas throughout the country. The largest density of sea turtle nesting occurs on Manatee Bar Beach with approximately 100-150 nests a year. In addition to this, sea turtles use Belize’s coastal waters for feeding and breeding. The Belize Fisheries Department as well as some NGOs have conducted a few in water surveys a year, but in-water monitoring of sea turtles can be costly and difficult.

The Belize Turtle Watch Program
The Belize Turtle Watch Program aims to use recreational diver data to get a clearer idea of marine turtle abundance throughout the country and establish baseline population levels which can then be monitored for change. While conducting research for my thesis I am helping Ecomar to launch this program throughout the country. The first step involves me training Belize’s participating dive organizations on how to collect data. Then dive organizations will continue to report data throughout the year. From this information, we can soon determine sea turtle abundance and locations.

Turtle Inn
Turtle Inn is a great supporter of scientific research and has offered to help me conduct research in the southern part of the country. Turtle Inn conducts approximately eight dives a week. Every dive, clients and dive masters will report whether they saw a turtle at a site or not. This leads to approximately thirty-two data points a month and over 380 data points a year!! With this information we can determine where sea turtles are in Belize, what species are present, and what ages are common. With this information, conservation efforts can be more effective and populations can be monitored to see if new laws and regulations are necessary.

Day 1 (March 19th):
Today I arrived at the Tides Dive Shop at Turtle Inn and was introduced to dive shop manager Arthur Westby. Arthur is a Placencia local and seems to know everyone in town. Just as well as he knows the people of his home town, he also knows the local waters. Arthur has worked as a naturalist and has helped with whale shark research. He has been on more than 7000 dives and is the perfect guide for me during my stay in Placencia!

Today there are two groups leaving Turtle Inn to explore the waters. One is a snorkeling group heading out to Laughing Bird Caye National Park and the second is a dive group going to “Dog Snapper” and “Spotted Drum.” The weather is a bit rough today but the guests are still eager to get out. Before the boat leaves the dock, I give a bit of an introduction to my project and explain how to identify the different species of turtles. The guests are eager to help and be part of conservation research.

The tours head out, battling winds and waves to arrive at their dive and snorkel sites. I am unable to go out today but meet up with the group upon their arrival. Unfortunately, today they did not see any turtles. I let them know that is ok, actually recording non-sightings is just as important as recording sightings. This is because without the non-sightings I cannot determine the proportion of turtle sightings per outing. Allie Tillinghast, a 10 year old guest at Turtle Inn and one of the snorkelers of the day, asks if she can have a turtle reporting form to show her science teacher and class when she returns to school. I think it is great that someone so young can begin to participate in conservation!


Day 2 and 3 (March 20th and 21st):
I am thwarted by the weather! It’s very windy and rainy at night here at Turtle Inn and too rough to go out on the boats. Crossing my fingers that tomorrow will be clear!

I was able to make use of my time on dry land and on Monday night gave a presentation to the guests of the hotel. I gave them a summary of my project and why it is so important to conserve sea turtles. It was wonderful to see people who were very interested in learning about how to help! I hope these guests will get to go out on the water soon and report some turtle sightings!


Day 4 (March 22nd):
Today the weather has improved and I start the day by explaining the Turtle Watch Program to two snorkelers and two divers that are heading out to Laughing Bird Caye. Laughing Bird Caye is a National Park here in Belize. This means that it is a protected area with the rule “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.” When we arrive on the small island we are briefed by a SEA (Southern Environmental Association) representative who gives us instructions on how to protect the environment while at Laughing Bird. SEA also monitored sea turtle nests in the area.

The divers leave on the boat to dive an area called “Tug Wreck” and I go with the snorkelers to the snorkeling entry. There is only two snorkel entry points on the island. This is to protect the reef that can easily be damaged, even by people walking out into the water to go for a snorkel. I use a GPS to mark the latitude and longitude of the island. Once we collect some data on turtle sightings, I will be able to use a program called GIS to make a visual representation of the turtle sightings. We didn’t see any turtles on the first snorkel. After lunch, I head out with the divers to “Coral Garden.” Again no turtles, but I hope I have better luck tomorrow.


Day 5 (March 23rd):
The weather is calm today and we were able to head out to the Silk Cayes. The Silk Cayes are located approximately 21 miles from Turtle Inn, but we have a nice smooth ride today. Turtle Inn’s dive guides tell me they often see turtles at the Silk Cayes and I’m excited to see what I find. Two dives and a couple of snorkels finally lead us to our first turtle sightings at the aptly named “Turtle Reef.” We get to see two loggerhead sea turtles. Loggerheads are easily recognized by their disproportionably large head. The first turtle we see is possibly a juvenile, with a shell approximately 30 inches long. A second larger loggerhead is also seen. This one is probably a female at approximately 3 feet, or one meter. In adult sea turtles we can distinguish males from female because males have a much larger tail. This second turtle was adult sized with a very short tail. I take pictures of both turtles. This will help us identify the turtles in Belize by distinctive shells, barnacles and facial scutes. A scute is the word of a scale on a sea turtle. Today was definitely a success!


Day 6 (March 24th):
Today is my last day going out with Turtle Inn’s dive shop before I move on. I am excited to head out to the Silk Cayes again today. I want to see if I see the same turtles again or if we spot any more in this area. The dive and snorkel guides tell me that the turtles come to this particular spot because fishermen use to clean there catch here. Again we see two loggerhead turtles. One turtle is the same juvenile we saw the day before. The other may have been the same but I didn’t see it myself and nobody got a picture of it.


Before I leave Turtle Inn I train the staff of Tides Dive Shop to continue to report turtle sightings. They will continue to collect data on turtle sightings and email the results to me. I hope to come back to Turtle Inn soon and have the chance to see more dive sites and work again with Turtle Inn’s knowledgeable dive staff!


Summary of the data from this week:

  • There were nine dives and no turtles sighted on any dives.
  • There were fifteen snorkels and four turtle sightings, but possibly only two turtles.
  • There was also one turtle seen from the boat.
  • Sites were visited in the areas of Laughing Bird Caye and the Silk Cayes.
  • Pictures were taken of two turtles for identification purposes. One is an approximately 1 meter adult female loggerhead sea turtle. The other is an approximately 76 cm juvenile/subadult loggerhead sea turtle.
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Biodiversity Research & Conservation - National Bird Surveys about-us/news/2011/04/biodiversity-research-conservation-national-bird-surveys about-us/news/2011/04/biodiversity-research-conservation-national-bird-surveys Thu, 14 Apr 2011 15:27:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/04/biodiversity-research-conservation-national-bird-surveys H. Lee Jones, author of the “Birds of Belize” field guide, visited Blancaneaux Lodge in early March as part of the routine bird surveys he does along the entire length of the country. Roni Martinez, the Lodge's Conservation Officer, joined Jones for a day and managed to cover a span of approximately thirty miles, recording all birds found along this transect. A total of 102 species were recorded, including the Broad-winged Hawk, Scarlet Macaw, Collared Trogon, Plain Wren and King Vulture. Most importantly, the Orange-crowned Warbler was recorded during the survey, only the second such occurence ever in Belize.

“We found an Orange-crowned Warbler, a North American stray that had only once before been recorded in Belize and several Scarlet Macaws in a remote area where the pine ridge gives way to broadleaf forest along the upper Macal River – a truly outstanding adventure,” said Jones, about his stay at Blancaneaux Lodge.



During a bird survey in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Lee Jones and Roni Martinez obtained the second record of an Orange-crowned Warbler in Belize. // Photo courtesy of birdphotography.com

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Blancaneaux Lodge participates in Earth Hour 2011 about-us/news/2011/04/blancaneaux-lodge-participates-in-earth-hour-2011 about-us/news/2011/04/blancaneaux-lodge-participates-in-earth-hour-2011 Thu, 14 Apr 2011 14:56:00 GMT about-us/news/2011/04/blancaneaux-lodge-participates-in-earth-hour-2011 On March 26th at 8:30 p.m. local time, Blancaneaux Lodge joined the global effort of five million supporters in more than 128 countries for Earth Hour 2011. The goal? To turn off all lights for 60 minutes as a sign of a commitment to a sustainable future. To smoothly accomplish this, Blancaneaux Lodge offered a candlelight dinner to all guests with local Marimba artists and invited local folktale author David Ruiz.

All lights were successfully shut down at precisely 8:30 p.m., just as Ruiz began a presentation on the evolution of Belizean literature. Ruiz also gave a reading from his new book, "Under the Yaax che Tree - Legends, Tales and Apparitions in Western Belize."


Guests at Blancaneaux Lodge attend an outdoor candlelight dinner and reading during Earth Hour on March 26, 2011.

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