I am indigenous Q’eqchi Maya from Belize in Central America. My name is Marchilio Ack (better known as Moon), and I am married with four children. I am presently living in the Toledo district in the south of Belize in the village of Indian Creek.
Before entering into a career in conservation, I was working in the logging industry here in the Toledo district. It was this experience of unsustainable use of the environment that we live in that drove me to seek a profession that involved careful and sustainable use of our natural resources. I have been working with Ya’axche’ Conservation Trust since 1999 as a community ranger, and received extensive training in various aspects of ranger activities. After becoming familiar with all these skills I was chosen to become Field Supervisor (now referred to as Head Ranger). I am responsible for managing the Golden Stream field station, coordinating the rangers’ field activities, including a biodiversity monitoring system developed within the Golden Stream Corridor Preserve, and assisting with community outreach and education activities. I have received extensive training in biodiversity monitoring, fauna and flora identification, field orientation with GPS, tour guiding, trail planning, construction in parks, and protected area management skills.
In 2008 Ya’axché was granted co-management of Bladen Nature Reserve, a 99’000 acre area within the Maya Mountain Massif, containing one of the most important biodiversity areas in Belize. This led to Ya’axché seeking and eventually securing funding to expand the number of rangers it employs from six to ten to cope with the increase in patrol area. Since taking on this co-management, it has broadened my scope of work and experience dealing with various government agencies and non-governmental organizations that are stakeholders in protected area management in Belize.