Posted on April 22, 2014 by Tim 1 Comment

So a few years ago I met Mini and Gideon Erkenswick Watsa at the Los Amigos Biological Station. This young couple were conducting their graduate research on little primates in this extremely biodiverse forest and we quickly made friends during my brief stay. This friendship was probably strengthened by a little coral snake incident I had but nevertheless we have remained in contact over the years. Mini had formed PrimatesPeru as a way to fund undergraduate students to assist with data collection on her thesis work. Last fall, mere months after graduating with her doctorate degree Mini, and Gideon continuing with his work, have decided that they needed to do more to protect the beautiful forests that make up this important and remote region of southeast Peru. PrimatesPeru became an official 501(c)(3) non-profit last fall as a way to introduce students to biological field work, with an emphasis on primate studies. Of course this is about more than field studies. More importantly is their goal to bring students to Los Amigos (known as CICRA) which is a part of the Amazon Conservation Association land concession which protects more than 360,000 hectares of beautiful rainforest. The region lies just west of the borders of brazil and Bolivia and just downriver of famed Manu National Park, and is recognized as a biological global hotspot. Unfortunately its placement just off the Rio Madre de Dios, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon, is prone to the massive destructive affects of illegal gold mining. So PrimatesPeru serves students, researchers, conservationists, and other non-profits and is worthy of your support. I can say this because I was honored to be asked to join the board of directors which I happily accepted. Honestly I play a very small role in its direction but I am more than willing to lend my support to the cause. I will be contributing what I can as well as offering support and publicity in my endeavors with them. I am excited to announce that beginning in May 2014, I will be joining select 20-day field courses to teach a block of instruction on tropical herpetology and, where interests demand, photography. And even more exciting for me is some future possibilities to join my work with PrimatesPeru with herpetological surveys and data work being conducted on the region with some other academic institutions. So if you are, or know of, a college student that is interested in learning what it is like to conduct field work in a tropical environment please send them our way to check us out. We can guarantee and lifelong memory and experience.

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