“Tourism with a Hand Lens” Hits Major Media Outlets

Pag37A Ricardo Rozzi1.JPGThe researchers of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve have been promoting a novel tourism activity in the austral archipelago since 2004 known as “Tourism with a Hand Lens”, a term coined by Dr. Ricardo Rozzi. This initiative attempts to utilize the surprising biodiversity of mosses, lichens and liverworts (the “Miniature Forests” of Cape Horn) in the ecotourism projects being developed by local operators. In 2006, this idea was supported by the regional government via the publication of ecotourism guide books by the Omora Park and then a series of training courses both in Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams.

This week, Chile’s leading newspaper El Mercurio has highlighted Tourism with a Hand lens first in a full page, color article and then subsequently in the Sunday Magazine, which reports Puerto Williams’ potential as a world-class ecotourism destination.

Sustainable Tourism and the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement

In 2004, the United States and Chile signed a free trade agreement, whose environmental cooperation chapter is reviewed annually to define a work plan on related matters between both countires. In the context of the IV Planning Meeting of the agreement, embassy officials invited representatives of the Cape Horn consortium to participate in elaborating this document. OSARA President Christopher Anderson presented to US Assistant Secretary of State for Environment and Science Ambassador Reno Harnish and his staff the activities in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve that could be reinforced by this treaty, including setting goals for sustainable ecotourism, capacity building of park administrators and creating volunteer programs to improve infrastructure. Working together with staff from the US Embassy, the State Department and the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, OSARA will continue to promote these concepts with the goal of linking conservation and sustainable development in the extreme south via this binational agreement.

Cape Horn Headlines Student Symposium

The University of North Texas’ Biological Student Association held its annual Research Day on April 19th, inviting OSARA President Dr. Christopher Anderson to give the keynote address. This year’s symposium, coordinated by Benjamin Lundeen and inaugurated by UNT VP for Research Dr. Vish Prasaad, was the first time that the event sought to reach out to other departments and become a more interdisciplinary venue for undergraduates and students from other disciplines to participate.

Dr. Anderson’s talk, entitled The “Southern Summit’s” Relevance for Biocultural Conservation, was meant to provide a model for UNT’s students and faculty. It showed how the process of creating the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve has been a long-term, interdisciplinary project that has linked research and society since 2000. The success and significance of this approach to science, research and conservation was apparent and the continuing committment of the university was provided by high officials to strengthen and expand this annual symposium. In addition, some of these very same students will participate in the Tracing Darwin’s Path field course in Cape Horn in June and December of this year.