tell us where and in what year were you born? What was it like
as a child growing up in your hometown? How has the town/district
changed since your youth?
Anna Hoare: I was born in the Corozal District
and it was interesting growing up in a tight knit community
and a large family who provided my needs in more than interesting
ways. Growing in the sugar era, I learnt that hard honest work
is honourable and there are some things that money cannot buy.
Growing up in a farm, I appreciated the power of sharing with
my schoolmates the precious fruits of the land. We shared with
our neighbors what we had and we did not waste resources. I
grew up taking pride in our community , our yards and overall
what hard work can provide.
did you personally become involved with the concerns of the
Belize Audubon Society (BAS)?
Anna Hoare: I became a member of Belize Audubon
Society since I was a student about fifteen years ago. As an
ecologist and educator, I found the mission of the organization
compatible with my own mission. I believe that we are part of
the environment and thus we need to travel lightly on it as
we are all responsible for the management or mismanagement of
earth. Whether we like it or not, we are an integral part of
the environment and we all depend on it for our mere existence;
its clean air, water and all the other environmental services
that we usually take for granted. I believe that we can conduct
activities that are compatible with natures' works and so we
speak about striking the balance between nature and people,
that is sustainable development or sustainable management of
do you consider to be the primary challenges for the Belize
Anna Hoare: I believe that Belize Audubon
Society, as a foremost leader in environmental conservation
is expected to do so much with so little. As one of the oldest
NGOs, we play a crucial role in providing technical assistance
to various entities such as the government, communities, schools,
agencies and we also have done great pioneering work in the
field of protected areas management, environmental education
and advocacy. While we do generate limited revenues from some
of the protected areas that we manage we are not financially
sustainable like all the other NGO's in Belize, thus we obtain
most of our funding from grants from both the national and international
Lack of sufficient financial resources is a constraint. In addition,
the human resources needs to increase as the workload of our
staff keeps increasing as more and more demand are placed on
is the Belize Audubon Society doing to educate the youth of
the country regarding the challenges facing the concerns of
Anna Hoare: Education is one of the three
pillars of the organanization's work. We work with schools at
all levels ranging from primary to tertiary institutions. We
deliver and visit hundreds of classrooms each year in all districts
and all levels. We also conduct other formal trainings such
as capacity building of communities in various areas as well.
We also work with school internship programs for schools ranging
from Corozal to Punta gOrda. We also do experiential learning
experiences as our trained staff does training for
those who need the expertise that we have acquired.
will the current governmental fiscal restraints challenge the
Belize Audubon Society?
Anna Hoare: The government provided a subvention
to assist in meeting some minimum operational expenses for the
management of some of these areas especially as some of the
protected areas that we manage do not have any income generating
revenues. Since the government is faced with fiscal constraints
it has not been able to contribute directly to the organization
nonetheless, collaboration continues.
you tell us a highlight to date of your life as the current
Executive Director of the Belize Audubon Society?
Anna Hoare: A highlight is that BAS is forging
ahead to be part of the new era in which NGO's are highly acccountable
and transparent.BAS is more than an organization caring about
the birds and the bees but rather its role is
recognized as an organization that has a crucial role in serving
as a watchdog to government agencies that are developing policies,
we are helping in the democratizing our communities, we provide
a voice to the voiceless as well. Furthemore, we are able to
access funding from the international agencies to implement
programs that promote sustainable development for the Belizean
you tell us a highlight of your personal life?
Anna Hoare: The highlight of my life is a
great family that is comprised of an extremely supportive and
loving husband and three children who are the center of my life
with my job being an extension of my life.
an occupation as the Executive Director of the Belize Audubon
Society is obviously demanding, both mentally and physical.
What do you do to keep in shape? What is your favourite past-time
Anna Hoare: My favourite pastime is enjoying
nature activities with people who dare to care and accept our
responsibility in threading lightly on earth and it is our responsibility
to leave it better than we found it. I love to read
biographies, nature paraphernalia.
is the greatest outdoor adventure you ever experienced in Belize?
Anna Hoare: My greatest experience was diving
in our barrier reef and experiencing a spawning aggregation
and observing the gracefulness of a huge turtle.
is your most favourite Belizean food dish? What are your most
favorite locally grown fruit and the most favourite vegetable?
Anna Hoare: I love great food so it is hard
to tell which is my favourite. I love our fruits such as soursap,
watermelon, mangos, etc and vegetable such as okros.
you ever had the luck to see any of Belize's exotic wildlife
such as a jaguar, tapir or the like? Have you ever been bitten
by a scorpion, snake or spider?
Anna Hoare: I have seen tapirs, sharks, tamanduas,
manatees in the wild but not jaguars! I almost stepped on a
fer-de lance once but I missed it and yes, I was once bitten
by a scopion which was quite painful.
of the Maya archaeological sites in Belize have you visited?
Which site was the most fascinating for you?
Anna Hoare: I have visited all of the main
sites in each district and I think that Caracol and Xunantunich
are my favourite as both seem to offer panonomic views that
are the top three books we should all read in our lifetime?
Anna Hoare: A third serving of chicken soup
for the soul; Tilden's Prinicples of interpretion, Silent Spring
would be on your list of favourite Belizean artists, writers
or musicians? Who would be on your list of favourite non-Belizean
artists, writers or musicians? What kind of music do you like
to listen to?
Anna Hoare: Pen Cayetano, Gilvano Swasey,
Carol Fonseca, Andy Palacio and Paul Nabor.
would you answer the question "What is Belizean Culture?"
Anna Hoare: Is a melting pot of all the ethnicities
that we have that is brewed gently.
is so ecologically diverse with abundant natural beauty.
What do you consider to be the most beautiful spot in all
Anna Hoare: The reef.
is your favourite vacation spot outside of Belize?
Anna Hoare: I have none as each country that
I have been to is a unique experience.
would you consider to be the greatest asset of Belize? What
do you consider the biggest challenge for Belize and Belizeans
in the 21st century?
Anna Hoare: The greatest asset is its natural
resources. Biggest challenge is that we are unable to find a
balance between environment, economy and development. The human
capital of Belize is not being prepared to cope with the needs
of this era. Poverty, crime, illiteracy, environmental degradation
is on the
increase and not on a decline.
would you most want someone reading this interview to remember
about what Anna Hoare of the Belize Zoo has to say?
Anna Hoare: We owe it to ourselves and our
children to leave a better world than we found it and it is
all our responsibilities (not only of environmentalists)
to do so.