In its second year of development, the beautiful accessible pathway which winds its way throughout The Best Little Zoo in the world, STILL is not fully complete. The project is a costly one. Although funds were raised both in Belize and from foreign donors, more were needed to see the work go forward into a final and happy finished phase.
|Pathway Event - March 2014|
The month of March has proven to be a magical month for Belize Zoo pathway progress. First off, a request for funding help which was submitted to the British High Commission, received a thumbs up! These good folks see the imperative need to have the zoo be accessible for all. They share our vision that the beauty of the zoo and its great character will have an everlasting place in Belizean society as a caring and forward-thinking institution. Wheelchairs, walkers, canes and strollers can easily travel the rose-coloured zoo pathway. Presently, the zoo is the only nature destination in Belize which is accessible, and we hope that this is a trend which will grow to other destinations in our country.
Then, our long-standing friends from SUNY Cortland, in New York, arrived to actually do the manual labour required to expand the pathway! Nine students, under the competent direction of Professor Vicki Wilkins, took the hot weather in stride, as they pushed wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full of stone chips to the pathway site. Except for one lone male, the SUNY Cortland pathway crew was a crew of young women who had tons of determination and enthusiasm. Would the portion of the pathway targeted for completion really happen? The time schedule was brutal. They had four days before a small event would happen, announcing the new portion of the zoo which was now (hopefully) accessible.
|Accessible Walkway Gets a Big Boost|
Thanks to their hard work and determination, yes! The deadline was met. The SUNY Cortland group had also spent time fund-raising for this good effort before arriving to Belize. Their generous contribution, along with that of the British High Commission, will nearly see the entire pathway become a “done deal”. But more happy surprises were to be had. Our area representative, Hon. Dolores Balderamos, came to attend the ceremony. She noted that the zoo was consistent in including the children from neighboring La Democracia and Mahogany Heights in its many programs and activities. She strongly believes in the need for the zoo to become fully accessible to ALL Belizeans. In the not-so-distant past, Ms. Dolores provided funding support to see that our accessible washroom could be built. It was, and is often used by those with diverse abilities. On this day of celebration, Ms. Dolores presented a check which will assist in the final stages of the development of our much-needed, much-appreciated accessible pathway.
Also present at the ceremony were key members of the Belize Assembly for People with Diverse Abilities, BAPDA. Ms. Eve Middleton provided all with an overview of the difficulties which those who have various disabilities face on a daily basis here in our country. She applauded the efforts The Belize Zoo has made to provide a place of fun and recreation for those people who so need an out-of-doors destination to enjoy with friends and family.
The Belize Zoo thanks SUNY Cortland, The British High Commission, Hon. Dolores Balderamos, BAPDA, and our good friends, LOVE FM, for continued support, encouragement and fine friendship.