Mayan Cultural Preservation Project “Rediscovering the El Pilar Forest Gardens”

Border of Belize and Guatemala

Goal
Bring greater awareness of the living arts of the Maya forest. The El Pilar Program works to link the conservation of the great Maya city of El Pilar under the canopy of the forest garden to the local population. Our collaboration helps to raise the visibility of the forest garden practice as a living art. The heritage of the Maya forest and the forest gardening traditions need to be integrated into the contemporary education of the youth in the El Pilar area as a part of the conservation strategies to save the Maya forest and to connect the traditional practices to the growing education programs and the adventure tourism of the region.

Tribal Trust’s Contribution
Children’s forest gardening program: Funding helped support a shared intention of empowering the indigenous children to be a part of the conservation strategies to save the Maya forest.

Maya Forest Garden Coloring Book: Helped develop and fund the production of a children’s coloring book about the Maya forest which has been translated into the Mayan language. Alfonzo Tzul, founding member of the U Kuxtal Masewal Maya Institute of Belize, has translated the Spanish edition of the coloring book into the Mayan language.

Benefits
Greater awareness of the living arts of the Maya forest.
Conservation of the great Maya city of El Pilar is linked to forest gardening to the local population.
Increased visibility of the forest garden practice as a living art. The heritage of the Maya forest and the forest gardening traditions are being integrated into the contemporary education of the youth in the El Pilar area as a part of the conservation strategies to save the Maya forest and to connect the traditional practices to the growing education programs and the adventure tourism of the region. The El Pilar Maya Forest Garden Network (mayaforestgardeners.org) have established a demonstration garden at the Santa Famlia Primary School in Cayo Belize to help children to learn about biodiversity, useful plants, cultivation skills, and protection of soil.

Date
2003-2006