The study of the ecology of Sittee River in Central Belize (MAPS) began with the opening of the Possum Point Biological Station in the 1980’s by Paul and Mary Shave. Over the past 30 years, this station has hosted hundreds of travel-study courses by colleges, universities and high schools from across the United States. The river and its surroundings are an excellent outdoor classroom for observing and studying aspects of tropical biology and ecology, due to the diversity of habitats and species that are found here (GALLERY).
The information presented on this website was primarily developed during travel-study courses from the University of Maryland, aided by staff from the biological station. These courses initially focused on basic ecology of the river ecosystem and the riparian forest. Over time, course emphasis shifted to aspects of the human economy and to sustainable development in the village of Sittee River. A book manuscript is presented here (SITTEE RIVER BOOK) that describes the ecology and economy of the river and the village that share the same name. It is hoped that this book will be a useful reference for students and ecotourists who visit Sittee River.
Due to increasing awareness of the need for sustainable development, this website includes a “rainforest business" (SITTEE RIVER TRADING COMPANY) for the sale of local products. Proceeds from online sales go directly to the Sittee River community members who are involved with the business. The Sittee River Trading Company also sells calendars and notecards to benefit the Sittee River Scholarship Fund, originally started by the Shaves. The Sittee River Scholarship Fund supports higher education for children from Sittee River village.