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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Scott Pankratz

Executive Director of Ecology Project International

Scott is the founder and Executive Director of Ecology Project International where he has planned, implemented and assessed citizen-scientist projects with government, university, and citizen organizations in Ecuador, Mexico Costa Rica and the US. Prior to EPI, Scott taught high school physics and biology in Oakland, CA, was a Professional Resident in Environmental Education at the Teton Science Schools, and worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School.

Ecology Project International

Since 2000, Ecology Project International (EPI) has organized collaborative student-scientist partnerships between scientists and high school and university students from Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, and the United States.  In 2006, EPI initiated the first-ever collaboration between the Autonomous University of Baja California Sur (UABCS) and local Mexican schools in Baja California Sur (BCS) to conduct a whale census in the Gulf of California.  Due to the program’s success in 2006, the program size and scope doubled in 2007. In 2007 forty-seven Mexican high school and university students from various communities in BCS and 7 students from the US were involved in an innovative experiential education and research program in which they volunteered for the Marine Mammal Research Program, led by Dr. Jorge Urban of UABCS. Each group navigated for five days aboard a research vessel traveling between Cabo Pulmo and Loreto Bay learning information about the diversity of marine mammals that inhabit the Gulf of California. Over the course of six voyages, students recorded data on the size and health of 12 different cetacean species in the Gulf of California with a special emphasis on the Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) and Humpback whale (Megaptera navaeangliae) populations. Students carried out eighteen independent research projects using the data collected during the research voyages, and the results of the research were presented in a Student Science Symposium organized by EPI that took place in Loreto in March, 2006. As a result of the experiences gained and relationships built among all collaborators, community members who participate in these programs have an increased understanding of cetacean biology and ecology, as well as the interest to participate in local and international conservation efforts.

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

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