People are critical components in conservation research teams

Working with camera traps in humid environments is often really neat but it’s sometimes frustrating, because the humidity eventually affects the electronic components of the cameras, causing malfunctions. Malfunctions can lead to dead cameras, dark photos, or thousands of still life portraits of plants. Those portraits of plants are interesting enough, I suppose, but we don’t gain much from them except a reminder that each component of the camera is critical.

People are critical components in Andean bear conservation research. Without people, I suspect the bears and their habitat would go along for day after day, year after year, century after century... However, people’s activities alter bear habitat and affect bears directly, requiring the efforts of other people to conduct research and develop and implement conservation plans to keep these ecosystem components clicking along.

Within each field team, every team member is a critical component. Even if each person comes to the team with similar experience and training, their individual aptitudes and personalities can enhance the team’s overall productivity.

One of our objectives is to, in return, enhance and improve the ability and future potential of each team member. They won’t be part of the team forever; I know from experience that almost no one wants to be a field assistant forever. When our team members move on, we want them to be able to go on to improve research and conservation capacity.

Most of all, I hope they know that they’re valued as part of our team. Muchisimas gracias, amigos.

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