The Toucan Ridge Ecology and Education Society (T.R.E.E.S.) is an organization dedicated to conserving Belize’s natural and cultural heritage through education, income-generating conservation-based community projects, capacity building, and local and international networking. We strive to create equal opportunities for all Belizeans regardless of gender, age, ethnic, or religious background – especially promoting educational and skill-building opportunities for woman and youth in rural areas that would otherwise not be offered such opportunities.
The educational opportunities offered at our center are diverse and include topics in biology and biodiversity, organic agriculture, as well as in music and art. We maintain a small library and offer computer access to local schoolchildren and provide after-school tutoring services. We support local sustainable community development by providing the education, tools, and the resources (e.g., start-up funding and training by local experts) needed for communities to initiate and maintain alternative sustainable livelihoods, including organic agroforestry projects. Through on-the-job training, locals gain professional skills that are not otherwise offered outside of the University or College environment, including: wilderness safety and rescue, guiding, ecosystem management, field biologist methodologies, environmental impact assessment, leadership, and organic and sustainable farming practices.
Our organization encourages the creation of a social, environmental, and cultural network by promoting partnerships within Belize and internationally. The T.R.E.E.S. Research Center offers fully featured facilities for conferences, symposiums, and annual meetings for researchers and students, NGOs, government organizations, and members of the private sector concerned in a unified vision of environmental and cultural conservation in Belize.