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STRI special events, February 2024

March 7, 2024

STRI Advisory Board visit to Panama, Punta Culebra STEAM Camp, Bug night at Biomuseo, Josh visits Fortuna Station and more!

STRI Advisory Board visit to Panama

In January we started the new year having our closest friends and advocates, our Advisory Board and Fundacion Smithsonian with us in Panama for our annual tropical “homecoming”. It was an opportunity to showcase our research, with a special spotlight on our marine, resilience, archeology and paleontology programs.  STRI is setting the pace worldwide in each of these fields, and we are excited to share how each of these frontiers impact global understanding and identify solutions for improved restoration, conservation and more accurate Earth-systems models.

Punta Culebra STEAM Camp

In January, the Punta Culebra Nature Center organized a week-long summer camp for children between 7 and 12 years that included tours to scientific laboratories and meeting researchers, exploring the Punta Culebra Forest, an expedition to the crab beach, a scientific illustration workshop, learning to use scientific tools and instruments to explore the microscopic world, a chess workshop and other activities.

Bug night at Biomuseo

On Sunday January 28th the Biomuseo, celebrating its tenth anniversary, and STRI joined forces to organize the first "Bug Night". It was an evening full of wonder and science, in which more than 500 people discovered the fascinating world of bats, arachnids, insects and many more fascinating species from scientists dedicated to studying them, in addition to a night tour of the museum's exhibits and the Biodiversity Park. The Biomuseo is a Smithsonian-affiliated Museum.

Images courtesy of Heather Jingco

Josh visits Fortuna Station

STRI Director Joshua Tewksbury recently visited STRI's field station in Fortuna, near the continental divide in western Panama. Fortuna's extensive hydrological reserve allows scientists to study how changes in land use and climate affect upland tropical forests, which grow in drastically different environments than their lowland counterparts. Josh took a tour of the station to see it firsthand and hear about the dynamics of working at the site and the science that STRI and its associated researchers produce.

Gamboa mural

The power of teamwork is evident with the collaboration of the STRI community. A sincere thank you to all the participants who contributed to the beautiful mural at building 78 in Gamboa. This project was not only a creative activity, but also a family activity, allowing community members and their loved ones to come together as artists responsible for this magnificent creation.

Sloth watch at Culebra

One of the most requested summer activities is monitoring sloths! Visitors to the Punta Culebra Nature Center help us locate these furry creatures that usually move around the site. This way they help us collect, update, and compare our data on the approximate number of sloths we have. So far this year we have been able to visualize 2 females with cubs and a total of 10 adults, a figure that contrasts with 2019, the year this activity began and where we were able to observe in the same day, up to 26 sloths in total (2 of them with cubs).

Science talk at Punta Culebra

Researchers from Matt Leray's lab, Helio Quintero, Yaliana Chicaco and Maria Lacayo shared interesting information with our visitors about their project about the diversity of elasmobranchs in TEP using environmental DNA. Both children and adults were able to observe preserved species and learn about and even touch some instruments scientists use in the field.

Steve Paton Featured in SI Torch

Read all about Steve and his team on the continuous monitoring of Panama’s weather and the ocean, providing a solid base for a wide range of research projects and questions!

National Zoo and SCBI leadership visits STRI

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute leadership was invited by STRI Director Josh Tewksbury to visit some of the field projects and to discuss ongoing interunit collaborations, challenges, and opportunities in Panama. The group participated of a tour of the Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project, visited Barro Colorado Island, had a round table discussion with the Smithsonian Bird Friendly Coffee Program and visited the Punta Culebra Nature Center. In the photo from left to right: Kristina Teixeira (Staff Scientist, Forest Geo), Matt Cannella (Head Advancement, National Zoo), Brian Gratwicke (PARC International Coordinator), Oris Sanjur (Deputy Director, STRI) Brandie Smith (NZCBI Director), Scott Sillett (Head Migratory Bird Center) and Don Neiffer (Head Veterinarian, National Zoo) during a visit at the Biomuseo.

Image courtesy of Brian Gratwicke

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