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TIDE’s Celia Mahung receives James A. Waight Award for Conservation

Posted: Saturday, February 18, 2023. 11:56 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Retired Executive Director of preeminent southern conservation organization Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), Celia Mahung, has been presented the annual James A. Waight Award for Conservation by the Belize Audubon Society (BAS), in a virtual ceremony held on Thursday.

Mahung, a Toledo native, got her start in education but took her commitment to education and empowering youth and women into the environmental field, leading flagship environmental education programs and promoting alternative lifestyles for people who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. Among these is the annual TIDE Freshwater Cup, a football tournament active since 2007; piloting the Managed Access Program in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve as a way of improving fisheries management; creating the pioneering Fire Management program and providing training and technical assistance to other protected areas and land management agencies and the recent establishment of the Marine Protected Areas Network.

An emotional Mahung said, “I am humbled to be a recipient of this award. The work was done with a great team. Whatever I’ve done I’ve not done it to get a thank you. I’ve done it from the bottom of my heart. I believe it was work that needed to be done. I felt I had the potential to make a difference.”

Executive Director of BAS Amanda Acosta said, “We could not be prouder of this year’s nominee and winner… BAS strives to inspire people to live in harmony with the environment and her career at TIDE also reflected our values of ‘balancing people and the environment.’”

The conservation award is in memory of one of the Belize Audubon Society’s (BAS) founding members and first president, James A. Waight OBE. It is bestowed to individuals or organizations in recognition of significant contributions, nationally or locally, to the conservation and enhancement of Belize’s natural environment.


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