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Our Marvelous Museum Friends!

Based in the city of Raleigh, North Carolina, The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences brings the magic of their education expertise to Belize each and every year. The objective of the program is to provide certain and special educators with a superb journey to Belize. Since 1987, fortunate North Carolina science educators have been coming to Belize, joining up with Belizean teachers, and exploring the wonders of our bio-diverse nation.

For the past several years, teaching team Liz Baird and Jason Cryan have provided the charismatic leadership  which has brought dynamic  education moments to both the North Carolina and Belizean teachers. Animal tracks are searched for and bird watching always yields surprises; excitement was brimming over the sightings of  pale-billed woodpeckers and bat falcons. And even the smaller organisms get attention. It was proudly noted that this year a pair of dung beetles were rolling dung around right at the base of Xunantunich ruins! A glorious sighting!

Premier Educator Liz Baird is quick to point out the common ties between the natural world of North Carolina, and Belize. “So many of our migratory birds over-winter in Belize, and along our coast, we have brown pelicans! In certain parts of North Carolina, we have barn owls!"  Liz was particularly happy to meet and greet the one and only Happy the Owl. And every teacher agreed that Happy was a fine ambassador for his species. This young male barn owl has educated so many about the truth of his stunning owl species. The barn owl eats more rats and mice than any other animal on the planet. It was explained, and the Belizean teachers confirmed, that many people in our country consider the barn owl to be the ‘bird of misery and evil;” consequently, they are often killed. Happy the Owl has truly succeeded in seeing that this misinformation is brought to a bit of a halt.

Feeding the zoo’s tapir troop was part of their fun visit.  Enthusiastic teacher Carlene, from Hattieville, recalled how she was brought up to believe the Mountain Cow myth: That these gentle herbivores, our National Animal, were dangerous beasts. “They can skin you alive with their flexible nose.”  Carlene laughed about that myth as she fed tapir Fuego a few carrots.

The group also visited the Community Baboon Sanctuary, the Mountain Pine Ridge, and of course, the Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve. Their visit was filled with lots of fun and lots of  learning. We all look forward to further visits from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

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