Honduras in Central America is one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week, so why not spend a few minutes today learning about one of Honduras’ World Heritage Sites: the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve.
The Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve is part of the largest forest ecosystem in Central America:
Located in the Mosquitia region of northeastern Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve is the largest protected area in the country with 350,000 hectares. The property protects the entire watershed of the Río Plátano all the way from the headwaters in the mountains to the river mouth on the Caribbean coast. Adding to its importance, the property is an integral part of a significantly larger conservation complex encompassing Tawahka Asangni Biosphere Reserve and Patuca National Park, among other protected areas. Taken as a whole, the conservation complex in northeastern Honduras is contiguous with Bosawas Biosphere Reserve in neighbouring Nicaragua, jointly constituting the largest contiguous forest area in Latin America north of the Amazon. Besides the remarkable dense rainforests in the mountains, there is a highly diverse array of distinct ecosystems in the coastal lowlands, including wetlands, savannah and coastal lagoons. Recognised as a nature conservation gem, the property also harbours notable archaeological and cultural values, with numerous Pre-Columbian sites and petroglyphs, as well as the living cultures of the various local and indigenous communities. Indigenous peoples and peoples of African descent in and around Río Plátano include the Pech, Tawahka, Miskito and Garífuna, living alongside the Mestizo (Ladino) population.
The property boasts an extraordinary diversity of ecosystems and species. For example, 586 species of vascular plants have been reported in the lowlands of the reserve. The over 721 species of vertebrates comprise more than half of all mammals known to occur in Honduras and include the critically endangered Mexican Spider Monkey, the endangered Central American Tapir, the vulnerable Giant Anteater and West Indian Manatee, as well as the near-threatened Jaguar and White-lipped Peccary. The endangered Great Green Macaw, the vulnerable Great Curassow and the near-threatened Guiana Crested Eagle and Harpy Eagle stand out among the impressive 411 documented species of birds. Taken together, reptiles and amphibians total about 108 species, with several species of poisonous snakes and 4 species marine turtles (Loggerhead, Leatherback, Green Turtle and Hawksbill Turtle). Freshwater fish include the economically important migratory Bobo Mullet or Cuyamel. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre #196)
You can find a gallery of additional photos of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve on the World Heritage Centre’s website.
World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural landmarks of international significance, selected for recognition by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. More than 1000 such sites have been recognized in over 160 countries, and we feature one every Wednesday, drawn from one of our homeschool countries-of-the-week. You can find a complete list online at the UNESCO World Heritage Centre and in Wikipedia.
The World Heritage Centre also has a free and comprehensive World Heritage education kit for teachers, as well as a wonderful full-color wall map of World Heritage Sites, available for the cost of shipping. Why not add them both to your own homeschool library. 🗺
What world treasures have you been exploring in your homeschool this Orion Term? 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: You can always turn to your River Houses almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia for more information about any of our countries-of-the-week. The almanac has profiles of all the nations of the world on pages 752–859; the endpapers of the atlas are indexes that will show you where all of the individual national and regional maps may be found; the history encyclopedia includes national histories on pages 489–599; and you can find additional illustrations, flags, and other mentions through the indexes in each of these volumes. For an ideal little lesson, just write the name of the Weekly World Heritage Site on your homeschool bulletin board, find its location in your atlas, read the WHC’s brief description aloud, look at a picture or two, and you’re done. Over the course of the year, without even realizing it, your students will absorb a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information. 🇭🇳
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Homeschool States & Countries posts featuring historical and natural sites of international importance. Download a copy of our River Houses World Heritage Calendar and follow along with us as we tour the planet, and add your name to our weekly mailing list to get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🌎