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Santa Cruz Government School students explore conservation and culture in San Ignacio

Posted: Wednesday, May 29, 2024. 4:12 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: As part of the ongoing Education Week festivities in Belize, students from Santa Cruz Government School in Santa Elena Town embarked on an enriching field trip today, delving into the realms of wildlife conservation and cultural heritage.

The itinerary included visits to the renowned Iguana Conservation Project, the Belize Raptor Center, and the historic Cahal Pech Archeological Site.

Since its inception in 1996, the San Ignacio Resort Hotel has been a steadfast advocate for the conservation of the threatened Green Iguana.

The students were greeted with an immersive educational experience as they explored the intricacies of the Iguana Conservation Project.

Nestled within the lush property, an educational exhibit provided a glimpse into the world of these remarkable reptiles, highlighting their pivotal role in maintaining the ecological equilibrium of the river habitat.

Students learned that the lifespan of the male iguanas can span up to 20 to 25 years in the wild and 30 to 35 years in captivity, as well as the impressive length that male green iguanas can reach, stretching up to 4.5 feet.

Moreover, insights into the reproductive habits of female green iguanas, laying anywhere from 20 to 60 eggs, underscored the conservation efforts.

This year alone, the Green Iguana Conservation Project harvested 367 eggs from seven female iguanas, contributing significantly to their preservation.

Continuing their journey, the students ventured to the Belize Raptor Center, where they were treated to a captivating bird show featuring majestic species such as the white-tailed kite, the orange-breasted falcon, and the barn owl.

Dedicated to the education and conservation of raptors and their habitats, the Belize Raptor Center plays a crucial role in rescuing and rehabilitating injured and orphaned birds of prey.

The students marveled at the remarkable abilities of these birds, learning that the orange-breasted falcon holds the title of the world’s fastest animal and faces the looming threat of extinction.

Equally intriguing was the barn owl’s ability to rotate its head 270 degrees and detect a heartbeat from a distance of 25 feet, showcasing the marvels of nature up close.


The culminating stop of the educational trip was the Cahal Pech Archeological Site, where the students explored the rich cultural heritage of Belize.

Amidst the site, plazas, temples, and the iconic ballcourt, guides explained about the ballgame Pok Ta Pok.

Guides also shared the historical importance of the “Place of Ticks.”

Immersed in the legacy of the Maya civilization, students gained a deeper appreciation for the cultural tapestry woven into the fabric of Belize’s past.

Through these immersive experiences, the seeds of conservation and cultural preservation were sown, nurturing the next generation of stewards tasked with safeguarding Belize’s biodiversity and heritage for generations to come.


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