Program Details

Round River is excited to return to Belize and partner with such a significant organization as the Ya’axché Conservation Trust. Round River staff and students will provide assistance to the conservation activities of the Ya’axché Conservation Trust in the
San Pedro, Belize
Program Type:
Study Abroad
Degree Level:
Fall Semester, Spring Break, Summer

Program Overview

Program Description:

Spend a semester living and researching in the Maya Golden Landscape of Belize, assisting the Ya’axché Conservation Trust with protected area management for biodiversity conservation and environmental education.

Round River's programs are field-based, meaning you will be camping for the entire semester in the wilderness of Belize. Students have the unique opportunity to not only explore Belize, but to work with local people to assist with conservation measures to ensure the region's wildlife is protected. 

Spanish language skills are not required; all lectures and field activities are in English. However, it is recommended that students have some prior knowledge of Spanish. Students should be physically fit and prepared for hiking, back-packing, and inclement weather.

Home to tropical wildlife, like the harpy eagle, scarlet macaw, Baird’s tapir, and jaguar, along with intact broadleaf forests stretching from the Maya Mountains to coastal mangroves and the Caribbean waters of the Mesoamerican Reef, Belize’s Maya Golden Landscape is a vital link within the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Started by local Mayan leaders in 1997 and now recognized as a leading Belize conservation organization, the Ya’axché Conservation Trust works primarily with indigenous communities to preserve the Maya Golden Landscape. Alongside these local communities, Ya’axché fosters sustainable livelihoods, assists with protected area management for biodiversity conservation and provides vital environmental education.

Threats to the Maya Golden Landscape include predator/livestock interactions and unsustainable agricultural practices such as excessive burning, agrochemicals and the cultivation of riverbanks and steep slopes. This deforestation further exacerbates downstream pollution of biologically rich coral reefs. In response, Ya’axché is demonstrating to local communities that there are sustainable alternatives that can benefit them and the environment by providing assistance to small farmers to better manage and diversify their farms.

At the heart of Ya’axché’s work is Protected Areas Management. Managing the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve and co-managing with the Belize Forest Department the Bladen Nature Reserve and Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve, the Ya’axché ranger team conducts patrols, monitors biodiversity and enforces protected area laws. While working with local people to understand the benefits of protected areas, the Ya’axché rangers monitor the status of large mammal and bird populations throughout the Maya Golden Landscape. Keeping track of indicator species allows Ya’axché to use the science-based Integrated Landscape Management approach to conservation, a practice of planning how land will be used and resources will be managed in the most efficient and sustainable manner.

In April of 1994, the Chief Forest Officer of Belize requested assistance to investigate jaguar and livestock-related issues. Round River then conducted preliminary studies, and brought attention to the potential problems in characterizing livestock predation by jaguar as the result of jaguars in need of management. The success of intact natural systems includes the presence of predators and predation, along with all other natural processes.

$17,780 includes tuition, room and board, project research fees and equipment, ground transportation, and evacuation insurance USD.

Additional Program Information

Scholarships Description:
Contact Provider for Details.

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