BFREE Donation Needs

Thank you for choosing to donate to BFREE!

Due to our remoteness and the harsh tropical climate, obtaining and maintaining supplies can be a great challenge for BFREE staff. Please use this guide as a reference point for up-to-date needs at the BFREE Research Station. We can provide a letter acknowledging the dollar value of your donation at the time it is received. 

If you are visiting BFREE in person, please consider making a littler extra room in your bag when packing for your trip to bring any small donations you can carry such as batteries, headlamps, books or first aid supplies such as antihistamines, pain-relievers, antibiotic ointment, anti-itch creams, and band-aids.

If you are not visiting the BFREE Research Station in person and would like to donate any of the below items, please contact BFREE directly at:


One of the many challenges BFREE faces operating in a tropical climate is the harsh impacts the weather has on our electronics. The BFREE staff heavily depend on access to electronics such as lap tops, cameras and GPS units to properly support our many ongoing activities and research endeavors. However, the extreme humidity and harsh rainforest climate causes these electronics to fail in a relatively short amount of time. We would greatly benefit from any donation of new or gently used electronics and supplies. 

Current needs consist of: 

  1. Batteries – AA and AAA batteries are a necessity at BFREE and are especially important in headlamps when our staff lead groups on night hikes. Unfortunately, batteries purchased in Belize are generally knock-off brands that don’t last through more than a few uses.
  2. Headlamps – Headlamps are essential to functioning at night at BFREE. Preferred headlamps are ones with a strong beam as well as with rechargeable batteries or that are able to be charged with a USB. Black Diamond and Petzel make great rechargeable lights with strong beams. 
  3. Laptops – New or Refurbished laptops to be used for email, photo upload and storage as well as word processing are greatly appreciated. Laptops with Microsoft Office already loaded is ideal.
  4. Digital Point and Shoot Cameras – Cameras have one of the shortest lifespans in tropical settings yet are one of the most important tools used. New or gently used point and shoot digital cameras are needed to document wildlife, people, research activities and are used by BFREE Rangers when encountering illegal activity on the property. Digital cameras that are waterproof and have rechargeable batteries are ideal. Some of the best brands we have used are Olympus Cybershot, Panasonic Lumix, and Nikon Coolpix. 
  5. Digital SLR Camera – New or gently used Digital SLR cameras with a good zoom lens is needed for avian techs to document birds while completing bird surveys around BFREE. 
  6. Solar Lights – There is no electricity available for our Rangers when they patrol our boundary line and camp at their Observation Post. Solar lights are very useful for our Park Rangers to use while patrolling at night to eliminate the need of continuously replacing batteries in headlamps. 


BFREE’s library is moving to a new location at the Cacao Discovery Center. With more space and a designated room; it is an exciting time to both replace bug-eaten, humidity drenched books and expand with additional resources.  We are interested in materials that help student, researchers, and staff better understand the habitat, wildlife and other aspects of tropical living. We would greatly appreciate any addition to our library.

Possible book and resource topics might include:

  1. Field Guides for the tropics (birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, plants, fish, etc)
  2. Laminated ID cards specific to the region
  3. Belize Travel Guides
  4. World Atlas and Maps (book form)
  5. Tropical Ecology
  6. Rainforest conservation
  7. Agroforestry
  8. Captive husbandry of reptiles (turtles in particulars)
  9. Protected Areas
  10. Watershed Ecology


The BFREE Research Station is located off of a 10km/6 mile unpaved dirt road. The entrance road requires a lot of maintenance and diligent care to remain passable by our 4×4 truck. 

  1. Tractor – A tractor with a front end loader would be of great assistant in maintaining the entrance road. 
  2. Utility ATV – ATV’s are used by our Park Rangers to patrol the BFREE property as well as to transport gear around the field station’s 1,153 acres. 


BFREE is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the Maya Mountains Massif. BFREE’s mission is “to conserve the biodiversity and cultural heritage of Belize.” As the only field station in this biologically significant area, BFREE seeks to achieve its mission by successfully integrating scientific research, environmental education and conservation, while also enhancing sustainable development and providing alternative livelihoods for local community members. We can provide a letter acknowledging the dollar value of your donation at the time it is received

The Bladen Review 2018

The fifth edition of BFREE’s annual magazine is now available in an interactive format online at Issuu! Get the latest news from the field station and learn about exciting research, conservation and education projects taking place in and around the rainforests of Belize. 

Highlights of the 2018 magazine include: a quick look back at the year, updates on the conservation and outreach programs associated with cacao agroforestry and the Hicatee turtle, and stories from new staff. Also, learn more about the unique eco-tour opportunities scheduled for 2019. 

Click here to download a PDF of The Bladen Review 2018.

Hicatee Awareness Month 2018 Wrap Up

Hicatee Awareness Month 2018

The Hicatee turtle, a national treasure for Belize, is seriously under threat due to over-hunting for human consumption. Listed as critically endangered, Belize offers the highest chance for its survival.

Because the Hicatee is in need of greater protection and innovative conservation actions, Turtle Survival Alliance and BFREE launched Hicateee Awareness Month, a country-wide awareness campaign in 2017.

The campaign commenced with the release of the natural history documentary “Hope for Belize’s Hicatee: Central American River Turtle.” Partners supported the launch hosting community viewing parties of the film, a volunteer toolkit provided step by step instructions on how to get involved, and social media played a significant role in promoting the first ever month-long appreciation campaign for the species.
With helpful feedback and many lessons learned, we were prepared and excited to launch the Second Annual Hicatee Awareness Month in October 2018.

In 2018, Hicatee Awareness Month focused on formally establishing the Hicatee turtle as the National Reptile of Belize, to raise its public status and to set the stage of national pride for the rare and unique species.

The month of recognition began with BFREE’s largest outreach project to date. Curated packages of educational resources were mailed directly to 100 pre- and primary schools in Belize – targeting the Cayo District and Belize District. The materials were also made available online and emailed to nearly 500 principals and educators.

Our goal in sharing the materials is to inspire a future generation of leaders that recognize the significant cultural and historic value of the hicatee. The resources were created by educators, scientists, filmmakers, students, and passionate advocates for the use of teachers in their classrooms. They included the children’s book, The Adventures of Herbert the Hicatee, written by a preschool teacher in Belize City, Ms. Martinez, fact sheets, coloring pages, and a country-wide poster contest.
Our partners within Belize and in the US helped make the month a success by hosting events and fundraisers and giving presentations. Students from Sacred Heart Junior College, led by Ms. Ingrid Rodriguez, gave presentations to primary school classrooms in the Cayo District while the Jacksonville Zoo chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers hosted a Hicatee Day Event and Fundraiser at their zoo, raising funds to support the work of the Hicatee Conservation and Research Center. Crocodile Research Coalition has featured the Hicatee turtle during all of their CROCtober outreach events.
Last week, we were contacted by a classroom from Hummingbird Elementary School in Belize City who were so inspired by the educational resources they received that they established their own Hicatee Committee.  The committee is spreading the message of conservation beyond their school to friends and family during an event on November 10th.

Now, more than ever, these words ring true, “the Hicatee is disappearing, but together we can save it!”

Additional Information on Hicatee Awareness Month 2018: 

Links to TV and News Interviews for Hicatee Awareness Month 2018 can be found here: In the News

Photos of Hicatee Awareness Month 2017 and 2018 can be found in our album here: Hicatee Awareness Month on Flickr!

A fun compilation video of Hicatee Awareness Month 2018 activities can be viewed here: Highlights on YouTube