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STRI special events,
May 2023

June 1, 2023

Official inauguration of the BCI100, MUCI Exhibit Opening, Remembering Richard Cooke and more.

Official inauguration of the BCI100

The official inauguration of the BCI100 Exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC took place, with participation of Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, STRI’s Advisory Board and staff members. To celebrate Barro Colorado’s centennial, the bilingual exhibit “Barro Colorado, 100 Years of Discovery and Wonder’ was inaugurated at the U.S. National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. on May 12th.

MUCI Exhibit Opening

On May 30th, the exhibition "Barro Colorado Island: 100 Years of Discoveries and Wonder" opened at the Interoceanic Canal Museum (MUCI), celebrating the island's 100th anniversary as a research station and the starting point of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama.

This exhibit brings together the history of Barro Colorado, from its formation during the construction of the Panama Canal, and how it became the most studied tropical forest in the world, providing a glimpse into the science being conducted at this research station. The exhibit was developed by STRI in collaboration with MUCI and will be open to the public until October 1, 2023.

STRI’s participation at XPRIZE Rainforest

Recently, Oris Sanjur represented STRI as a member of the XPRIZE Advisory Board in the launching of the XPRIZE Rainforest semi-finals international competition in Singapore. XPRIZE Rainforest competition aims to identify technologies that can be used to monitor rainforests and their biodiversity in real time.

Fossil hunt with the O'Dea lab

Early in the morning on Sunday, May 14th, a group of about 50 people which included STRI scientists and administrators from many fields and their families, as well as community members from both Panama City and Colόn, gathered at a construction site in Sabanitas to join the O’Dea Lab to hunt for fossils. Throughout the morning, the group uncovered fossils including the swirling shells of multiple species of gastropods, fragments of sea turtle shells, and shark teeth that are still shiny and sharp. Participants kept the shells and invertebrate fossils to start their own collections at home, and the rest have joined the Marine Paleontology Collection in the O’Dea Lab where they will be valuable resources for paleontology studies now and in the future.

Vigilance and monitoring of marine resources workshop

STRI staff scientist Héctor Guzmán organized a two-day workshop about monitoring of protected areas of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor (CMAR), with the participation of government and NGO representatives from Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico who work in the vigilance and monitoring of marine resources.

Remembering Richard Cooke

Panama’s National Secretariat of Science, Technology, and Innovation (SENACYT) organized an in-memoriam for STRI’s former staff scientist Richard Cooke, who passed away in February. STRI scientists participated and shared their memories with Dr. Cooke. During the event, the book “The native peoples of Panama and their relationship with the natural environment: 50 years of studies” by Dr. Cooke was also presented.

Image courtesy of Tamara del Moral, SENACYT.

United for Birds

Through a collaboration between the Migratory Bird Center (MBC) of the National Conservation Biology Institute and National Zoo (NCZBI) and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the Bridge of the Americas/United for the Birds (BTA/UPA) program has been implemented to attract and retain more teachers from schools in low-income communities in Virginia (USA) and Panama. Participating teachers took part in teacher training, applied program activities in the classroom, and participated in a guided tour of the Punta Culebra Nature Center. Smithsonian visited 3 schools in West Panama that participated in the program and graduated in May 2023.

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