In search of the key to her future, or at least to broaden her horizons, Elizabeth Anne Brown and her father, Rodney spent Spring Break at LFRC to see, listen, and learn it all. Elizabeth Anne, 16 years old and a high school junior is interested in a career in the sciences, and wanted her vacation to be educational and meaningful, but fun. This is exactly what she got. The Browns had an activity-packed time by both participating in on-going research projects and collecting field data, all whilst enjoying the natural beauty of the Lamanai area.
Highlights of the trip included a dawn canoe excursion to the Pine Savannah habitat to investigate a recently excavated nest of Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) eggs, a spotlight river trip to catch a glimpse of the creatures active at night, black-lighting for resident insect species, and a hike to check camera traps set out to document wildcat movement. At one landowner’s property, we found a recent photograph of a puma (Puma concolor) walking by a mere two nights prior, and at another camera station, a male jaguar (Panthera onca) was caught on film following the trail of an agouti (Dasyprocta punctata). After visiting community lands in the humid tropics, nothing is more refreshing than a cool drink of fresh coconut water straight off the tree, which both father and daughter enjoyed. Elizabeth Anne also assisted with the capture-release of a juvenile croc, collecting morphometric data, and implanting a unique pit tag as part of our long-term monitoring project on growth and survival of the threatened Morelet’s crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) in their marshland habitat. Of course a visit to the area would have been incomplete without stepping back in time to walk the ancient Mayan temples of Lamanai to envision how the early peoples lived. The opportunity to gain insight into the study area of Biology and gain actual field experience was an unmatched opportunity for Elizabeth Anne, whose mind is now full of the possibilities for her future!