Based in the conservation community of Santa Barbara, California, ESP~Maya encourages the visionary work at El Pilar, where indigenous practices demonstrate there are alternative paths to prosperity and conservation. We draw on the wisdom of forest-gardeners and community conservationists in the Maya forest.
To perpetuate the ancient tradition of forest gardeners and “archaeology under the canopy” through
- environmental and cultural sustainability
- economic viability
- research and education
- analysis of how ancient practices apply in modern times
- Research: Support exploration of the Maya traditions, both archaeological and contemporary
- Education: Outreach to local, regional, and international audiences on the discoveries of the Maya cultural traditions and their current uses
- Discovery: Promote the Living Museum of El Pilar and “Archaeology under the Canopy”
- Sustainability: Invest in the sustainable economy of the traditional Maya forest garden because the greatest threat to biodiversity is the loss of traditional knowledge
Where are we working?
- In the Maya Forest Region
- At the nexus of people and nature in Belize and Guatemala
- On the El Pilar Archeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna
What is the importance?
- Learning successful conservation strategies from indigenous cultures
- Pioneering models that draw on lessons from time-honored cultural traditions
- Understanding past contributions to plan future alternatives
Why the imperative?
- Environmental conservation is a global necessity
- Alternative development models are urgently needed
- Endangered traditional knowledge provides time-honored conservation practices
- Archaeology offers unconventional perspectives on the landscape