"Zoos have an important role in the future of biodiversity, and are a key stakeholder in Earthwatch's research and education programs," said Dr. Marie Studer, chief science officer at Earthwatch. "We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with zoo personnel in the effort to improve awareness and management of life on Earth."
As part of WildCare Institute's involvement in Samburu, zoo educators are also helping develop a teacher-training program to introduce ecological and conservation thinking into local schools. Finally, Saint Louis Zoo is recruiting a team of interested volunteers from the Saint Louis area to participate in Earthwatch's Grevy's Zebras project in September.
Rubenstein's talk was part of an AAAS symposium titled "Research Collaboratives for Conservation: Zoos and Universities Working Together." The symposium highlighted recent efforts by zoos to move beyond captive breeding and research programs to integrate these activities with conservation efforts in the field. WildCare Institute has become a world leader in this movement, and other speakers described their partnerships supporting conservation efforts in Nicaragua, Galapagos, and Madagascar.
Earthwatch engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. 2006 marks the 35th anniversary of the unique global volunteer organization. The Samburu Conservation Research Initiative is part of a network of four collaborative research centers that engage local communities in addressing conservation issues.