Abstract # 2503 Event # 8:

Scheduled for Saturday, September 19, 2009 10:30 AM-10:40 AM: Session 1 (Mission Bay Ballroom AB) Symposium


P. A. Garber1, A. Molina2 and R. Molina3
1Department of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA, 2Fundacion Ometepe , 3Maderas Rainforest Conservancy
     In 1994 and 1997, with the assistance of a Nicaraguan family, we founded La Suerte Biological Research Station in northeastern Costa Rica and Ometepe Biological Research Station in southern Nicaragua. Our goals were research, education, and conservation of primates and tropical forests. In order to accomplish these goals we developed field courses in which undergraduate and graduate students conduct scientific research, experience local cultures, and learn about conservation. Over 50 of these students have received doctoral degrees or are currently in graduate programs. Four doctoral dissertations, several MA theses, and over 15 articles have been published based on research conducted at our field stations. In order to achieve our long-term goals of preserving the environment, we also needed to engage directly with local communities to address their needs and concerns. Although this process started slowly and opportunistically, we have developed a series of community-based initiatives related to healthcare, bilingual education, conservation education using traditional and on-line teaching tools, and purchased school uniforms, books, and computer equipment for the local community. In this paper, we analyze our experiences working with the human and nonhuman primate communities in order to outline a set of ethical considerations and responsibilities for conservation research. We have found that our community efforts are most successful when they have been directed toward educating young children and students.