Category: News

Joining Forces for Conservation: Moody Gardens Partners with Ecology Project International and Pacuare Reserve

Advancing Wildlife Protection and Environmental Education Through Global Collaboration

Ecology Project International and Pacuare Rserve enters into conservation partnership with Moody Gardens.
Moody Gardens is proud to be official partners with Ecology Project International (EPI) and Pacuare Reserve.

Moody Gardens is excited to announce a new partnership in conservation and education with Ecology Project International (EPI) and Pacuare Reserve. This collaboration underscores our shared commitment to protecting wildlife and promoting environmental awareness.

The Agami Heron at its breeding grounds in Costa Rica at Pacuare Reserve.
Agami Heron perched on a decaying log in the Costa Rican tropical forest at Pacuare Reserve.

Our partnership with Pacuare Reserve includes funding assistance for conservation projects, staffing, and research. This support is vital for expanding the conservation efforts focused on the rare and magnificent Agami Heron, among other species.

This multi-year endeavor aligns with our mission of advancing conservation and education through successful international collaborations. One of our initial joint projects involves contributing to the construction of an observation blind for the majestic Agami Heron and hatcheries that protect sea turtle nests. We look forward to achieving great things together through joint research initiatives, educational programs, and impactful conservation projects.

Ecology Project International is a non-profit organization that fosters
place-based education partnerships among educators, experts, and students.
The work of EPI helps promotes scientific and community-based conservation, which addresses human and environmental threats.

Pacuare Reserve, managed by EPI, is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including three species of monkeys, 252 bird species, sea turtles, jaguars, and ocelots to name a few. The reserve, accessible only by boat, welcomes eco-tourists, students, and researchers to its dense jungle outpost.

Visitors can look forward to observing the flora and fauna first hand which can give them a real sense of the world in its natural environment. They can also participate in census collection and field research where they can observe and study species such as sea turtles, monkeys, felines and birds.

Additionally, they can learn about the diverse species and natural wonders of the reserve, with field assistants who explain scientific terms in simple, easy-to-understand language. For those unable to visit, donations are welcomed to support ecosystem protection, research, and education in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.

Two Spider Monkeys look down through the branches of the rainforest at Pacuare Reserve.
Curious Spider Monkeys looking down through the branches of the dense rainforest.

The Agami Heron, known for its vibrant breeding colors, is classified as Vulnerable due to habitat loss and other threats. Its small, scattered population makes it especially vulnerable. The research project at Pacuare Reserve is vital for protecting this species by studying its behavior, migration, and habitat needs, and sharing the findings with the international Agami Heron Working Group.

Research and conservation programs for the Agami Herons faces challenges, including the need for advanced technology like satellite transmitters and high-quality optical instruments. Moody Gardens is supporting Pacuare Reserve by helping design and place a blind to enhance the observation site. This will allow researchers, and participants to gather more accurate data and improve existing conservation strategies.

Together, Moody Gardens and EPI are confident that our joint efforts will lead to significant advancements in conservation and education for the Agami Heron and other species that can be found at Pacuare Reserve.

Bethany Boedicker of Moody Gardens Hotel triumphs at 2024 World Food Championship

The World Food Championship (WFC) is thrilled to announce the victor of the highly anticipated 2024 World Food Championship, Bethany Boedicker, Executive Pastry Chef for the Moody Gardens Hotel

Bethany Boedicker, Executive Pastry Chef at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center
Bethany Boedicker, Executive Pastry Chef at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center

Boedicker, a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience, emerged triumphant after an exhilarating competition against champions from 11 diverse categories. Renowned for her expertise in desserts, Boedicker clinched the esteemed title of the 11th World Food Champion.

The intense two-day culinary battle unfolded at Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food in Bentonville, Arkansas, where chefs from around the globe showcased their exceptional talents. Guided by esteemed judges Matthew Cooper, Joe “Trae” Basore III, and Timothy Ordway, contestants faced a series of challenges meticulously crafted to push their culinary skills to the limit.

Boedicker expressed her elation at the victory, stating,

“Winning this prestigious title and receiving such a generous prize is an incredible honor. This achievement marks a pinnacle in my career, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to compete among the best in the industry.”

“We are incredibly proud of Bethany’s achievement at the World Food Championships. Her talent and dedication have been evident throughout her 11 years with us, and this win is a testament to her exceptional skill and passion for pastry.”

Leon Garrison, Moody Gardens General Manager

The World Food Championships (WFC) is the premier culinary competition, attracting talented chefs worldwide. Since its inception in 2012, the WFC has transformed competitive cooking and impacted the food industry. With its global audience, the WFC continues to deliver unparalleled culinary experiences and support communities through various partnerships. For more information, please visit

Special Note: Bethany will be appearing as a headliner chef at the Galveston Island Wine Festival during Labor Weekend from August 30 to September 1.

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