The idea for a botanical garden all around the grounds of the Community Cultural Center came from some of the older people in the community who felt many young villagers were not as familiar with the plants of the forest as they should be. Once children start school, especially middle and high school, they don’t go out to the cornfields as often as their parents did when they were young.
Therefore, they don’t have long opportunities to become familiar with the flora and fauna they would encounter along the way. Young people are forgetting or may never learn many of the Mayan names for plants, and do not know much about their uses and cultural significance. This is distressing to many of our older citizens who want to preserve this rich heritage.
By putting local useful plants in the botanical garden of the Community Center we have achieved several things. We have provided a place where the children of the village can come to learn about these plants. We have also identified each plant scientifically, written ethnobotanical information about them and created a guidebook that helps the young people explain a plant and its cultural significance to others.
We have created a beautiful garden atmosphere in which visitors can feel welcome as they learn about our environment. We have also provided a space where villagers can learn about composting and have made a small demonstration milpa (traditional cornfield) for children to work in and for tourists to explore.