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Beautiful Belize!

July 20, 2016

Jaw-dropping. Inspiring. Beautiful. Exhausting. All in the best way possible. Listen with us as we describe our first day’s journey on the Tropical Ecology Institute as a symphony of sounds.

Early morning alarms, excited chatter, and discussion about what everyone packed started our day from Raleigh through Miami to Belize City!

The sounds of laughter and Belizean accents greeted us after we made our way through customs to hugs from our new friends, tour guide Nathan, driver Bruce, and two amazing Belizean teachers, Ryan and Sherret.

With no time to waste we loaded onto the bus to begin exploring. Our first stop: the Community Baboon Sanctuary (interesting fact: howler monkeys are locally called baboons). The brief sound of silence accompanied the sounds of the forest as we devoured stewed chicken, rice and beans (not to be confused with beans and rice), potato salad, fried plantains and fresh pineapple and watermelon. Geraldine, one of the women who helps lead the community effort to conserve land for the howler monkeys, led us on our first hike. As we listened for the sounds of howler monkeys, we discovered cohune palms, aracari toucans, cashew trees, strangler figs, and many unique uses for local flora. The crowd favorite of the day was the surprisingly haunting, guttural howling once we finally spotted a family of monkeys in the top of a large mango tree.

Our other most memorable sound (and smell) of the day came as we started our trek across the country on the Western Highway. A quick stop on the side of the road confirmed our suspicion: a flat tire! We limped down the highway into Belmopan (the capital city) and enjoyed a break at a local grocery store (and our first taste of Belikin) while the pros changed the tire. The sounds of Ryan’s hearty laughter as we played I Spy Bingo carried us through San Ignacio to our home for the next three days at duPlooys Jungle Lodge. Before dinner a few teammates had the opportunity to feed a wild kinkajou small pieces of banana as it hung from its tail in a nearby tree.

As the day came to a close we appreciated the sounds of frogs, cicadas, and rain on the roof as we fell into bed to prepare for another day of adventures.

Howler Monkeys

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy & Danny Harrington permalink
    July 20, 2016 8:42 am

    We’re enjoying following along on your adventures through these posts!

  2. Shawn Sampson permalink
    July 20, 2016 10:52 am

    Sounds like a an amazing trip so far and it was I the first day!! Tell Amy we miss her and am so glad that she is getting the experience. Hope today is going well and lots of fun is being had.

  3. July 20, 2016 1:10 pm

    Reblogged this on NC Museum of Natural Sciences Blogs and commented:

    Join the Educators of Excellence on the Tropical Ecology Institute!

  4. Annabelle permalink
    July 20, 2016 6:33 pm

    Hope you all had a great day today as well. I’m glad the flat tire didn’t slow you down too much, but was excited to see you for a quick minute at the zoo. I’ll be curious if your group has better luck collecting figs in the Macal that we did last year. It’s been much rainier, so may they will be more abundant. Let me know how it goes. See you Friday at The Best Little Zoo in the World!

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 20, 2016 7:44 pm

      Hope your poonwood has cleared up!is

  5. Matt and Vance Craps permalink
    July 21, 2016 6:23 am

    i love you mom (Becca) we went to the dash game they won. 13 -5 the dash got a triple yester day we went bowling and the movies we watched norm of the north it was really good. we learn obout sports in other plases i hope you have fun today
    I know you guys are having a great time. Have fun at the ruins and on the river today! Love you Bec!

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 21, 2016 9:07 pm

      Becca says “Everything was amazing! We saw a toucan and iguanas today!”

  6. Linda D Clark permalink
    July 21, 2016 6:50 am

    So excited to follow your adventures.

    • lizbaird permalink
      July 21, 2016 9:05 pm

      Thanks! Let us know if you have any questions!

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