Morning found Roots & Shoots-Caribbean Coordinator, Dr. Rick Asselta at Gale¿s Point Manatee Village, Belize, waiting with two villagers and a scientist.
They were waiting on the children of the village to join them for a clean up and tree planting around their village.
This would be the first of an anticipated weekly ritual.
The kids arrived ready to work¿with little plants clutched in their hands that they had pulled up along the way, in order to replant them.
¿They had the idea,¿ Asselta
said, ¿but the technique needed development.¿
¿This is a community that is full of talented, intelligent and caring people,¿ Asselta
said, ¿who are, at times, overwhelmed by the economic, poverty and isolation issues of living in rural Belize.¿
To combat these limitations, Asselta
was brought in as an active consultant to create a plan using Roots & Shoots and Lake Tanganyika Catchment Reforestation and Education (TACARE) methods, to care for animals, the environment and the human community simultaneously.
TACARE was established by the Jane Goodall Institute
in Tanzania in 1994 to support sustainable livelihoods and address poverty.
had three days in Gales Point to accomplish this and set up a Roots & Shoots program.
¿We did it,¿ he
adds. ¿At least we had a good start.¿
According to Asselta
, this could allow for further development with farmer¿s markets, crafts and cultural events, better cash crop development, and a way to deal with garbage and recycling, while maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem.
Administrators of the Manatee Research Project would like to get young people involved with their research, which Asselta
acknowledges as the most important development of these meetings.
They discussed ways for students to achieve the level of education needed to participate in the project, and how they could encourage them to return to their community with the knowledge to work for their people and the manatees.
¿This would be similar to what was done at Gombe with the Chimpanzees,¿ Asselta