In January, Drs. Kenneth Sewell (Associate Vice-President for Research) and Ricardo Rozzi (Director of Omora Park) traveled to Washington D.C. accompanied by Dr. Mary Kalin (Director Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity), to present the Subantarctic Biocultural Conservation Program’s research, education and conservation agenda in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve for consideration in the deliberations regarding the binational working plan on environmental cooperation. These conversations took place in the context of the Fifth Meeting of the Environmental Affairs Council and Third Meeting of the Joint Commission for Environmental Cooperation. At that time, the Chilean Delegation, headed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Environment Commission, prioritized the Cape Horn project as one of national priority, which now sets the stage to materialize this long-term program goal into a concrete action plan for strengthening this binational partnership. In addition to the meetings at the State Department, Drs. Sewell and Rozzi also met with the Executive Director of the Ecological Society of America, Program Officers at the National Science Foundation, the Finnish Embassy and were hosted for a breakfast by the Chilean Ambassador to the United States (see photo).
In its 5th version Tracing Darwin’s Path, the Subantarctic Biocultural Conservation Program’s premier field experience for Chilean and US students, took on the challenge of integrating art, philosophy and ecology. With the collaboration of Magallenic artist Paola Vezzani students utilized techniques from drawing and the arts to enhance their observation, description and comprehension of biological and cultural diversity in the subantarctic ecoregion. This year also for the first time, Melissa Armstrong, SEEDS Program Manager from the Ecological Society of America, participated with the course sharing her experience promoting diversity in ecological education, but also collaborating in a formal evaluation of the course. Subsequently, 8 students remained in southern Chile and Argentina to conduct independent research as part of an NSF-funded project to provide international research experience to students.