We are honored to be a part of:
The Fallen Stones: Chasing Butterflies, Discovering Mayan Secrets, and Looking for Hope Along the Way
By Diana Marcum
Have you ever wondered where the butterflies come from for live displays at museums, rainforest exhibits, and the like? Here you will find out!
A roller-coaster road takes you up to one of the first and most successful and largest butterfly farms in Belize, perched on the side of a hill overlooking the Columbia Forest Reserve, beyond the Maya site of Lubaantun which inspired the farm's name. A second breeding location was built in 2019 to expand on species bred, and it is located adjacent to the Hickatee Cottages property.
Toledo District, southern Belize
Toledo District, southern Belize
View from Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm, Toledo District, southern Belize
The original breeding operation was built in 1992 by two British butterfly experts -- Clive Farrell, who created the Shipstern Nature Reserve in northern Belize, and Ray Harberd, who spent a former life in tropical agriculture. The construction work itself was an amazing feat! Having converted a mile and a half of muddy track into a road, and hauled building supplies up into the jungle, Ray then quickly established one of the most successful butterfly breeding programs in the country, and one which was recognized with the Shell Technology for Development Award in 1995.
Today, a steep hike down the stone steps and then a jungle trail takes you to the Farm. There are a dozen breeding cages with up to 8,000 butterflies, which are maintained by local staff from the village of San Pedro Columbia. The pupae are then flown each week for worldwide distribution.
The butterfly exhibits supplied by Fallen Stones' pupae are an important tool in the education of the public not only about butterflies, but about conservation in general. 60% of insect species are dependent on the world's fast-disappearing rainforests, and during the 20th Century numerous butterfly species became extinct. When their environment is under stress, butterflies are the first to suffer and disappear, so this is a highly sensitive indicator of environmental health.
Clive has summed it up by saying “Making butterfly spotting accessible gets people in touch with nature. Butterflies are essential indicators of the health of the environment, as well as being beautiful and quite wonderful to watch.." Clive is the originator of the butterfly house concept, and the owner of the lovely Stratford-Upon-Avon butterfly farm in England.
The Fallen Stones Butterfly Farm experience is available only to Hickatee Cottages guests and is not open to the general public. Please inquire with management on the weekly schedule as the visits are subject to the butterfly shipping schedules, availability and of course good weather conditions.
We are honored to be a part of showcasing what Clive and Ray have created with Fallen Stone's and sharing their vision and love for butterflies with you.
NOTE: The hillside is steep and the walk requires a reasonable level of fitness, and sturdy footwear. Please dress modestly, and refrain from using bug spray - it's fatal for the butterflies.
Want to see more on this experience...Check out: BUTTERFLY FARM DRMUCKER and SanPedroScoop.com's blog!