Since discovering the El Pilar Maya site in Belize and Guatemala in 1983, UCSB archaeologist Anabel Ford has been dedicated to making the culturally rich area a unique blend of research, preservation, community cooperation, and economic development.
She convinced the governments of both countries to protect the area from encroachment and named the resulting binational reserve the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna. She got citizens on both sides of the border working in community groups aimed at both exploiting and protecting the site. She organized the ongoing research effort. And she reached out for funds to anyone who might be interested in helping preserve and study the artifacts of one of the ancient world's most amazing cultures.