The Story of Pat the “Great Cat”

A very special jaguar has won the hearts and minds of the teachers, college students training to be teachers and Peace Corps volunteers who have gathered at the 9th Annual Summer Institute In Environmental Studies and Culture here at The Lodge at Chaa Creek this week. His name is “Pat the Cat” and he is the subject of a new book written by children of Belize and the U.S. as part of an international literacy initiative.

Children of Belize and the U.S. joined hands across nations to give a voice to a “down on his luck” real-life Belizean jaguar, whose world was forever changed as people came to share his land. The resulting book, Pat the (Great) Cat: A Jaguar’s Journey, has made the students published authors and advocates, and their teachers are taking note!

Written side-by-side in English and Spanish, Pat the (Great) Cat: A Jaguar’s Journey chronicles the true story of a jaguar whose dramatic journey from Belize to the United States is both heart-breaking and heart warming. It is a magnificent tale, rich with creativity and insights that only the children of the Americas could have provided.  We think that their teachers agree!

Those gathering at the Institute this week are presenting lesson plans that will accompany this very special book. The Belize Ministry of Education has chosen the book as a supplemental text for the coming school year. It may be that this is the first time that the students are authors of their own textbook!

The Summer Teacher Institute In Environmental Studies and Culture is sponsored by The Belize Foundation For Conservation, State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland, The Lodge at Chaa Creek and Belize Natural Energy. More information about Pat the (Great) Cat: A Jaguar’s Journey can be found at

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