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Bio-Itzá Reserve

Shield the Source Fund

We the Itzá, the last descendants of the Maya lineage in the Petén forest, are watching the forest vanish, its herbs and trees, the animals of its land and water. Our Mayan language is disappearing too, and the traditions of our great fathers. The forest is dying, the animals are dying, and we are dying also. To live, we need the forest, and the forest needs us. We must take care of the forest, and the forest must care for us, because we are partners of the jaguar, owner of the forest; partners of the scarlet macaw, ornament of the Mayas; partners of the tapir, animal of seven skins; partners of the mahogany, tree of our canoes; partners of the Ramón tree, the food of our ancestors; partners of the smoke of the copal tree, the spirit of our great ancestors. United together, we make our home in a piece of jungle, land of the Maya Itzás, on the shore of the great Lake Itza in San Jose, where once lived Kan Ek, the last Maya king.

-Reginaldo Chayax Huex , Bio-Itzá Association Director, Mayan Priest, and Protector of the Earth

In February of 2018, Michelle Roark, founder of Phia Lab, convinced her family of four to go on an adventure to Guatemala with a friendly guide and stay 3 nights in the Bio-Itzá Reserve. After almost cancelling the journey the night before departure based on fears of caring for her two and six year olds in the wild, Michelle now describes the experience as "authentic and magical" -- jungle hikes with Don Danny (shaman and plant medicine specialist), fire ceremony and wellness teachings of Don Regi (association founder, national icon and designated as Protector of the Earth by Guatemala), meals prepared with natural ingredients and cooked over fire, and sleep protected by mosquito nets in open air thatched-roof shelters without the distractions of electricity or wifi. Over dinner on the 3rd night, Don Regi and his crew voiced concerns and sadness over plant and animal poaching and passionately identified the need to resurrect the Ranger Program as their highest priority. Over breakfast the next morning, Michelle and family informed their new friends that they would inject new life and funding into a Ranger Program through a long term commitment under Phia Lab.

Upon return, Phia Lab established a donor advised fund, The Bio-Itzá Reserve Shield the Source Fund in partnership with The Bio-Itzá Association and The Resource Foundation.  Through this new giving platform and an ongoing commitment from Phia Lab, it is our hope that the Bio-Itzá Ranger Program will be well-equipped to protect the reserve, revitalize the base camp and medicinal plant gardens and safeguard Maya Itzá culture from further decay. We are inspired and humbled by the work of Don Reginaldo and his team and encourage anyone with an eye for adventure, hunger for learning and thirst for nature to visit the reserve.  Help them “shield the source” and preserve what delivers energy and wellness to all of us. 

Company Description:

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Phia Lab is a next generation energy company founded by Michelle Roark, Chemical Engineer and two-time Olympian. Driven by the desire to bring the benefits of wellness to people with similar interests, Michelle has built a personal products company on proprietary research that targets the bio-energetics of plant, flower and herb essences. Natural energies impact the way we feel, the way we think and how we live. We harness energies created by sun, soil and water from the far corners of the world and combine them using the natural laws of physics and mathematics. Ultimately, we create one of a kind products that help us all live fully and with passion – to be a force! 

How You Can Help

Support these efforts by donating below. Donations to The Resource Foundation in support of Bio-Itzá Reserve are tax deductible to the highest extent allowed by law.

To learn more about the Bio-Itzá Reserve Shield the Source Fund and how you can support its work, please call TRF at 212-675-6170. 



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