Dear ASA supporters,
A new year is here, and we enter it with fresh energy and a sense of hope and anticipation! Here in Peru things are looking more promising in regards to Covid-19 with vaccinations already happening, and at Finca Las Piedras life is slowly returning to some level of normal.
As you know from our previous report, we finished 2020 with two great accomplishments in our environmental education projects. Through the online program “A Minute with insects” we continued educating local kids about insect biology until November, the end of the school year here. Our book “Milli’s Misadventures” (Spanish version) is also officially out, and you can find the online version and the audio book here. Up to date, more than 800 copies have been distributed and other hundreds of online copies have been downloaded by kids in Peru and the rest of the world through our alliance with the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER). Of particular note were more than 200 copies delivered to indigenous children living in the buffer zone of Manu National Park, one of the most remote and biodiverse places on Earth. We have plans for this book to reach even a greater audience, so stayed tuned!
Since we are back to having our regular team, we have resumed almost all of our research activities at the station. We have even been able to resume our resident program for undergraduate Peruvian students to learn about research on butterflies and moths. We have selected to highly motivated young women to join us for this program for 2021. They come from two different regions of the country and will stay with us for 10 weeks. This resident program is one of the very few opportunities undergraduate students in Peru have for career development in field research with insects with expenses fully covered. Each of last year´s residents, for instance, will be lead authors on three peer reviewed publications. They are putting the finishing touches on their publications now and a few will present their work at upcoming research symposiums. We are proud of their hard work and look forward to continuing to support Peru´s next generation of biologists.
We couldn´t be happier for the way this new year has started, but we know that while the economy is still not fully recovered, there will be challenges ahead for us and our work in Peru. We thank you for being there for us always and for your continuous support to protect the Amazon rainforest!
With immense gratitude,
Geoff, Johana, & the entire ASA team