The participants in Kaxil Kiuic are committed to working with the wide-range of communities in which we come in contact. These communities include local, state and national groups as well as international scientific and educational institutions. The strategic vision of Millsaps College, the guiding force behind the reserve, is summed up in our phrase “Across the Street and Around the Globe” and it is that same thinking which helps direct our mission at Kiuic.
We work with various local communities in order to try and develop successful regional strategies for sustaining the forest and both the biological and cultural resources they hold. This may range from talking with nearby towns about strategies for presenting their resources to visitors or working with the state and national government in their efforts to establish a model for a state biocultural reserve.
Some of our projects include the Puuc Jaguar Conservation program and the Millsaps Scholarship Program for Rural Youth. Kaxil Kiuic is the home to jaguars and other species of cats known to the region and Dr. Markus Tellkamp, Millsaps Director of Biological Programs at Kiuic is leading a program to help these endangered animals by working with groups in the state (Link). Our Millsaps Scholarship program provides Maya students from villages lacking high schools the opportunity to attend high school while supporting the participating families (Link).
Community efforts also extend into the area of cultural heritage management. Winners of the 2013 Archaeological Institute of America’s Best Practices in Site Preservation Award Kiuic’s directors of Archaeology (Tomas Gallareta and George Bey) are dedicated to undertaking archaeological research with an eye towards proper respect for the environment as well as the conservation of these unique cultural resources. The project is currently involved in studying the ancient recipes for concrete used by the Maya in order to recreate them in an effort to provide the best materials for stabilizing and consolidating the ancient Maya buildings at Kiuic. As an extension of this project Kiuic has also stabilized and preserved a Maya cemetery located in the reserve still in use by communities adjacent to Kiuic.
Kaxil Kiuic is dedicated to trying to work with communities, groups and institutions in order to be a useful neighbor. It is a complex and exciting experiment unlike any other presently underway in Mexico, and creates an amazing platform for testing the ideas and aspirations of Millsaps and Mexican faculty, scientists and students.
An exciting new non-profit called Ko'ox Boon (Let's Paint) has been developed by Millsaps alums as a way to bring art and creativity into the lives of children in communities surrounding the Kaxil Kiuic biocultural reserve. You can learn about their goals and efforts on FB (Ko'ox Boon) or on their website: www.kooxboon.com.