Archive for October, 2009

Solar Water Pump Installed in Medina Bank

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Solar Pump Installation (photo Ya'axché)

On the 16th of October 2009, Christopher Nesbit from the Maya Mountain Research Farm installed a solar Submersible water pump for the community of Medina Bank. This water pump was able to pump over 3000 gallons of water per day on full sun. This came in handy for the much needed portable water for the community of Medina Bank.

The objectives of installing this solar water pump are to provide portable water to 38 households in Medina Bank, provide clean water to 63 children at school and later provide clean water to school kitchen, income generation for the Water Board and Village council and later to provide clean water to the organic garden plot in Medina Bank.

Energy to power the water pump comes directly from the sun. There is no need to use diesel or gasoline fuel for power to generate electricity. The generator that powers the water system uses diesel fuel that emits a significant amount carbon into the atmosphere everyday at Medina Bank adding to the effects of Climate Change. This solar pumping water system is reducing the emission of carbon into the atmosphere, therefore allowing the community of Medina Bank to adapt to a more efficient and sustainable Water system.

This idea of using solar water pump came into the picture when Ya’axché began working with 5 members of Medina Bank in setting up a garden plot with the drip irrigation system. At the time Ya’axche had installed a drip irrigation system using a small gasoline water pump.  This small project was made possible through the Organization of American State (OAS) funding; however the gasoline water pump was consuming a lot of gasoline fuel that is incurring a lot of expense for the garden plot.

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Spring at Medina Bank (photo Ya'axché)

Christopher Nesbit was invited to assess the possibility of setting up a solar water pump for the garden plot in Medina Bank. At the time Medina Bank water system was not working due to damage engine that power the generator.  In Medina Bank there is a beautiful water source, a natural underground spring that pushes out clean water all year round. This clean water from the spring is being used by the community for drinking and cooking at home throughout the dry season. Christopher recommends that a solar submersible pump will work very well at the site.

A solar powered submersible pump cost $3000.00Bze and Ya’axché had no funds at the time to purchase this type of pump and also we had no funds to purchase the PV that is required to produce energy for the pump. Christopher Nesbit from the Maya Mountain Research Farm (MMRF) had connections through BP and asks for donation of 4 Photovoltaic to the Medina Bank water system project. His request was successful. He donated 4 PV to Medina Bank; each PV is producing 180 watts at 36 volts. These four PV’s will be able to operate one DC submersible water pump that will pump over 3000 gals of water per day for the community of Medina Bank.

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Mrs Cara Huddleston (photo Ya'axché)

At this time Cara Huddleston, a volunteer at the Maya Mountain Research Farm, she too wanted to be part of the project in Medina Bank. Christopher and Ya’axché Community Outreach Officer, Auxebio Sho, had discussion of the project and later ask Auxebio to meet with Mrs. Cara Huddleston at the MMRF. Auxebio  arranged a date to meet with Cara at MMRF to discuss more about the project. Auxebio gave Cara a brief history of Ya’axche and its program areas, its goals in conservation and sustainable development for communities like Medina Bank. Cara wanted to help the community of Medina Bank and she pledge to seek funding to purchase the much needed submersible water pump.

Cara went to the US and began asking friends for donations to purchase the water pump that will be used for Medina Bank water system. It took a few months before she could get all the funds necessary for the pump. The pump was purchase in the US and took a few weeks before it finally arrived and delivered by Christopher and Cara at the Ya’axche PG office. The community had the pump and the PV but needed additional funds to purchase the electric wires, PVC pipes and fittings necessary to install the system.

The Village Council and the Water Board of Medina Bank agreed to provide additional funds of $1650.00bze to purchase these items which came to a total cost of $2465.18. The Golden Stream

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Items for Solar Water Pump (photo Ya'axché)

Watershed initiative (GSW) provides the additional matching fund of $815.18 to purchase items. Additional tools and materials were purchase for the training that had an additional cost of $113.55bze.

Cost of the Solar water pumping system in Median Bank Village

Four PV donated by Chris Nesbit, each PV have an output of 180 watts at 36 volts Direct Current-10000.00

Solar submersible water pump purchase by Mrs. Cara Huddleston: $3000.00

Additional items for installation purchased by Medina Bank and Ya’axche/GSW: $2638.73

Labour cost for digging & covering trench done by Medina Bank community: $630.00

Training in Installation/transportation done by Chris Nesbit and paid through Ya’axche/OAS: $3000.00

Total: Bze$19,268.70

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Spring At Medina Bank (photo Ya'axché)

The water source is from an underground spring at Deep River which pushes out clean water throughout the year. The solar submersible pump is set into spring approximately 6 ft bellow and is attached to a concrete frame above with a rope. The water is transported through 11/4 inch PVC pipes connected from the pump to the storage tank approximately 540 ft away. Electricity from the panels to the pump is through two 6 gauge wires that are 540 feet long; this is the distance between the pump to the Panels and storage tank. The 6 gauge wires are protected by one inch PVC pipes that are set along the water line from the panels to the pump. The solar panels are mounted on four 4 feet posts above ground level for easy installation and maintenance and also for easy removal in case of hurricane storm during the hurricane season.

The water is stored in a 2500 gal’s tank and the overflow is channelled to a concrete storage tank that holds 2000 gallons of water. Water from the storage tank is channelled through primary and secondary PVC lines that are connected to 38 households. On sunny hot days the water pump will pump over 3000 gallons of water per day and will keep the storage tank full throughout the day.

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Village Woman Transporting Drinking Water (photo Ya'axché)

The Leaders and community members were excited to see the water system working again, they no longer need to transport water from the spring and up the hill with gallons and buckets. The kids at school have clean drinking water and would be using the water for the garden. No burning of fossil fuel and if the system is monitored and maintain very often it will serve 10 to 20 years.

We greatly appreciate the assistant of Mrs. Cara Huddleston, Christopher Nesbit, and members of Medina Bank community to make this small project successful one of its first kind in the district.

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Solar Panels (photo Ya'axché)

Medina Bank is very thankful and happy for the Solar Water Pump.

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Community Of Medina Bank (photo Ya'axché)


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Ya’axché Participates in Exchange at Guatemala

Last week Ya’axché participated in an exchange in Peten, Guatemala accompanied by community members of Medina Bank, San Antonio, Cayo and the Belize Forest Department. They met with 14 other conservationist from Guatemala and Mexico. They spent time learning about the Guatemala system of protected areas and many livelihood activities that promote more environmentally-friendly activities to farmers and cattle ranchers. The exchange was very enlightening and great to build international partnership in Mexico and Guatemala. There is a drive fro greater communication and collaboration between our Mexican and Guatemalan counterparts.

Xaté Processing Plant

Xaté Processing Plant

Points of Interest:

* There is a strong focus on Xaté as a livelihood crop in Guatemala. The exchange group visited many successful farms including two that integrated natural (or at least mostly natural) forest canopies into the life cycle of the Xaté plant; the forest maintains its integrity while transplanted Xaté thrived underneath. 1 to 2 leaves were collected every 3 – 4 months off of every plant. The owner had an integrated farm, but was making most of his money off the Xaté.

* The tough issue with Xaté is controlling and certifying that it is grown or harvested from legal areas and not illegally extracted from protected areas in Guatemala and Belize. This system still needs improvement in both countries.

* A Xaté facility in Poptun, Guatemala claimed they had been purchasing the legal Xaté from Belize. They said in the past month this has changed as a facility in Belmopan is now packaging and exporting the Xaté directly to the U.S.

* One staff member of Ya’axché believes that Belize should embrace Xaté as a crop and at the same time set up solid sustainable extraction controls and certification process. We could also look at the canopy crop idea similar to Cacao.

* Ramon Tree nut collection and production into healthy foods was also a very successful project through the Rainforest Alliance who looks to replicate efforts elsewhere.

* There is a solid current environment for partnership within the region.

This is the information Ya’axché got while participating in the exchange and we are now sharing it with you all.

Ya'aché's Protected Areas Manager and Medina Bank's Alcalde, Pablo Salam

Ya'axché's Protected Areas Manager and Medina Bank's Alcalde, Pablo Salam

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Ranger For A Day



Starting in November 2009 Ya’axché is inviting environmentally conscious tourists to become a Ranger-For-A-Day by joining an official patrol of the 15,000 acre Golden Stream Corridor Preserve. The experience promises to be an unique opportunity to play an important role in Southern Belize’s conservation efforts. Volunteers will accompany rangers in pristine areas inaccessible to the average tourist where they can expect to help out by contributing to the daily wildlife logs, recording key species of mammals and birds at the riverside transect site, and monitoring for policy infractions within the preserve. Be prepared to hone your detective skills as you learn to identify animal (tapir, armadillo) tracks and get your binoculars ready to search for toucans and spider monkeys.

Your boots will get muddy on this real life patrol but after a morning of adventure, volunteers are invited to enjoy a dip in the refreshing Golden Stream River or stick for tasty traditional Mayan meals from local village vendors and cool spots.

Open patrols are conducted based on a schedule which is available at the Ya’axché Adminstrative Office. Patrols start at the Ya’axché Field Center at 9 AM. For more information about transportation to the Field Center, see below. Plan on wearing long pants, sturdy shoes for walking (hiking boots are not required), insect repellant and don’t forget to bring water and a snack. A donation to Ya’axche is required.

If you would like to make a reservation of if you have any questions please contact us at , (+501) 722-0108), or drop by at our office at #2 Alejandro Vernon Street, Punta Gorda Town.


Bus – James Bus leaves from the bus station on the corner of King Street and Front Street just before 8 AM. You can also catch it as it drives through town on its way to the highway. Tell the bus attendant to drop you off at the Ya’axché in Golden Stream. A one-way trip to the Field Center will cost $5.00. The return bus to Punta Gorda passes by the Field Center  between 1:00 and 1:30 PM.

Car- The Field Center is located on the Southern Highway, approximately 29.5 miles north of Punta Gorda and 33.8 miles south of Independence. We are situated between the villages of Medina Bank to the north and Golden Stream to the south.

 Here is a Map on how to get to Ya’axché Conservation Trust Field:

Map showing how to get to Ya'axche Field Station

Map showing how to get to Ya'axche Field Station

If you would like more information on our scope of work and what we do: you can browse through our blog here or on our official website .

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