The Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society (T.R.E.E.S) is a small grassroots ecological conservation organization that has established a great little research and education center, the T.R.E.E.S Hosting Center, nestled in the foothills of one of the prestige Belize Maya Mountains. We are a small biologist-managed facility, with a focus on wildlife ecology research and post-secondary education. However, we believe strongly that ecological conservation can only happen with community involvement, and thus we also provide a wide range of community programs to members of our community and involve locals in all aspects of our research and education initiatives.
We are centrally located in the country, a short drive from the Caribbean Sea and a number of marine stations, easily accessible off the Hummingbird Highway, and yet we boast some of the highest biodiversity the country has to offer.
We specialize in group hosting, particularly for University student groups, but also happily take in eco-tourism groups and individuals that are interested in experiencing what it is like staying at an operational research station. We can arrange all portions of your group’s course or tour in Belize through our Canadian Study Abroad partner company, Ecorana Environmental Ltd. (www.ecorana.ca), so if you would like to add a marine component or other experiences or locations to your course, we are happy to assist! In partnership with this company, we provide strong ecology education opportunities at all levels of education, and also offer personalized individual on-the-job ecology training through Ecorana’s environmental summer internship program. Therefore, if you want a comfortable and personalized tropical ecology experience, either as a researcher, educator, student, or eco-tourist, we guarantee that our services and facilities will be exactly what you are looking for.
I just want to start off by saying this trip has been one of the best learning experiences of my life…… I am so glad and fortunate my first internship was with T.R.E.E.S……you guys are doing an astonishing job with the research station, the environment is perfect for people of all levels to learn and develop further their skills as biologists…..Because of this experience, although it was tough at times, I intend to continue my pursuit in becoming a biologist…..You guys were awesome!
After spending a week at T.R.E.E.S this past summer, I feel that I have grown as a student, a scientist, and a person with the T.R.E.E.S directors and staff’s help. So many wonderful memories made despite having to confront a lot of fears and personal limitations…I am certainly more of a “city-girl.” But I honestly did end up enjoying myself! I decided to come on this trip to challenge myself and I feel that I came out of it with even more than I was hoping for: friends, fun, once in a lifetime opportunities and unique stories. I am planning to continue into a career that involves mainly educational programming and outreach. The opportunity to conduct the community survey with T.R.E.E.S was an invaluable experience that reaffirmed my interest in that type of work. Conservation requires community support and support comes from interest instigated through knowledge. We can really make a difference and that is heart-warming to see and take part in.
Having travelled to the wilder parts of Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, I can say that Toucan Ridge is a tremendous destination for biology or environmental studies courses – the mix of humid tall rainforest, mist-covered hills, jungle river, second growth and low intensity citrus fields provides an amazing richness in species, habitats, and teaching opportunities. During our course, we recorded about 60 species of birds, nine species of bat, various possum and rodents, as well as 3 large predators. There are great opportunities to discover herpetofauna and invertebrates. The accomodations were great and the network of trails facilitated access and logistics for a safe and secure camp. The nearby limestone caves was an added bonus – I can’t say enough about the place.”
In my travels to wilderness hotspots in various tropical parts of the world – West Indies, East Africa, India, Seychelles, Comoro Islands, Madagascar, New Zealand, Hawaii etc – I have come across few places that can match Toucan Ridge for sheer biodiversity that is really accessible – there is even a bus stop right there! To have rainforest pristine enough for jaguars, right next to stream and overgrown-orchard habitats, is truly exceptional. Bird netting there for just a few days in March provided the most diverse catches I have had anywhere. In addition to the biology, the bonus is the infrastructure at Toucan Ridge which is exceptionally comfortable and user-friendly, with many other exceptional ecosystems within a short distance of the site. Mat and Vanessa provide truly knowledgeable and helpful support, and the food is great! This is definitely an outstandingly high-quality facility.
It’s hard to express how much gratitude I have with a simple “thank you”, but I guess it’ll have to do. This place is an oasis in an oasis and the things I’ve learned and experienced here will last forever. Oh yeah, the food’s great and Mat and Vanessa are the best.
We LOVED staying at T.R.E.E.S! Very educational, excellent hospitality and food. It was an unforgettable experience and I will definitely be back! Thank you for all your hard work!!
T.R.E.E.S. is without a doubt one of the best places you can stay in Belize! Mat and Vanessa are awesome, and the rest of their staff is very helpful. They are always willing to help you with whatever you need, even if it’s setting up tours with other tour groups. The grounds are amazing. If you’re looking to stay in a rainforest with some great people, T.R.E.E.. is the place for you. Also, the food is amazing!
T.R.E.E.S immediately felt like home to me thanks to the beautiful yet rugged facilities, Vanessa’s welcoming smile, and Matt’s delicious cuisine! There was always something amazing to do or see. You get both quantity and quality when it comes to experiencing true Belize ecology at the T.R.E.E.S field station. Thank you T.R.E.E.S!
Thank you so, so much for everything. The food was absolutely amazing, and the facilities were great – luxury compared to the last place we stayed. Thank you for being so nice and accommodating. I could live here!!! I will miss the place. ,
T.R.E.E.S is a beautiful piece of paradise. The cabins gave a lookout into the backyard jungle, and the center is open and welcoming. There were so many things to see and do! Also the food is amazing!
2016_October_NABC Bird Banding Workshop and Cert in Belize_FINAL