Current Impacts on Field Stations and Field Courses
The pandemic that has gripped the world for more than a full year has impacted all our lives in untold ways and is also having serious consequences for research in remote regions of the planet. Travel restrictions resulting from COVID-19 have essentially ended study-abroad opportunities for countless students for some time to come. In the most pragmatic sense, this means that the Tiputini Biodiversity Station has had no visitors and essentially no income for more than a year since no scientists or students can get to our facilities in Yasuní to learn about the most biodiverse place on the planet. Gratefully, our parent institution, USFQ, has committed to seeing us through the current crisis while hundreds of previous visitors have selflessly donated to our operation. We invite you to join them in contributing to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station (Donate • Ceiba Foundation) as we return to normalcy; your generosity will help us get through the coming months and to re-establish many research and conservation programs.
Beyond not having researchers and students at places like TBS, COVID has also meant fewer vigilant eyes available to oversee wilderness sites, so negative repercussions in the realm of conservation are expanding globally as well. As a way to bring attention to this tremendously challenging situation, a group of scientists associated with field stations and nature education, including TBS’s founding director, have published a series of arguments explaining precisely what is being lost and have issued a plea for solidarity from all sponsoring institutions to sustain their far-flung installations during these trying times as well as being at the ready to get in situ courses underway again as soon as conditions permit safe expeditions. During the last 15 months, the Tiputini Biodiversity Station has gone from being a robust operation with numerous scientists and student groups in the field exploring nature to a bit of a ghost town where nearly empty facilities are being maintained in preparation to open at full throttle at a moment’s notice as the pandemic subsides.