Discovering “Hidden” Underwater Life

S4030912.JPGTwo graduate students at the Omora Park have received funding from the Chilean National Environment Commission to support their research on the “hidden” underwater diversity of subantarctic stream and marine ecosystems. However, Jaime Ojeda (M.S. Conservation, University of Magallanes) and Tamara Contador (Ph.D. Biology, University of North Texas) will not only do their research, but also conduct workshops with pre-school and elementary school children, teachers, and tourism operators from Puerto Williams and Punta Arenas. The workshops will aim to not only discover but also value the importance of the hidden biodiversity of freshwater and marine invertebrates that inhabit the aquatic systems of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve.

UMAG Student Wins National Award for Thesis

Intendenta con musgos y niños.jpgOSARA is proud to report that Yanet Medina, masters of science student at the Omora Park-University of Magallanes, has won second place in the national competition to select the nation’s best theses and dissertations in the area of tourism. The $1,000 award was given to Ms. Medina by the regional secretary of the Chilean Tourism Ministry and recognizes her work in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve to consolidate “tourism with a hand lens” via her thesis entitled: “Miniature Forest Garden of Cape Horn: Tourism with a Hand Lens as a Tool for Conservation, Education and Scientific Tourism in the Chilean Sub-Antarctic Ecoregion”.

UNT and OSARA Receive National Science Foundation Grant

chile - omora park 240.jpgThe University of North Texas and the Omora Sub-Antarctic Research Alliance have received a $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct international research experiences for US students in the Chilean sub-antarctic region. The grant is also supported by the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity’s Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research Network, which includes sites at the Omora Ethnobotanical Park (Cape Horn), Senda Darwin Biological Station (Chiloé) and Fray Jorge Experimental Site (Coquimbo). The Chilean LTSER Network extends across a latitudinal gradient from the subantarctic archipelago to the temperate rainforests and the arid desert regions of Chile and provides a platform for students to not only visit diverse ecosystems, but also interact with Chilean and Argentine mentors, learn how to combine social and ecological studies to create biocultural conservation and research, and study together with students from Chile and Latin America. For more information, go to the project website.

Naval Supermarket Helps Protect the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve

100_0103.jpgFrom El Pinguino, 13 Mayo 2009

The Puerto Williams Naval Supermarket joined efforts in April to celebrate “Earth Month”, putting into practice an initiative to convert to the use of returnable bottles to reduce the contamination in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. This decision can seem basic, but in reality it requires a great amount of coordination. From Puerto Williams, these returned bottles must be carried by ship to the closest bottling company in Punta Arenas. About half of the population of Cape Horn County is employed by the navy, and these actions will significantly support efforts to reduce the world-wide ecological catastrophy of plastic. Amazingly it takes a two liter plastic bottle hundreds of years to disappear.

The motivation for this effort is the fruit of educational campaigns conducted in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve since 2000 by the Omora Ethnobotanical Park, the University of Magallanes and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, where the local navy district has enthusiastically collaborated throughout. It bears mentioning that this program is also part of a broader initiative to convert plastic bags in the town to reusable, cloth bags.

With such measures as this, the Chilean Navy demonstrates its committment to social responsability and the bettering of life for all living beings in the extreme tip of the Americas.