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El Futuro desde la Patagonia

Read here to the full interview in Spanish with Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, co-Director of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program.

UNT Hosts Delegation from Chile

October 24, 2019

UNT celebrated with its Chilean partners the international launch of Chile's Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center that will tackle biodiversity responses to climate change in that region.

On Oct. 19, UNT hosted a delegation from Chile as part of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. Photo by Angilee Wilkerson.

"It was a great opportunity to meet with our friends and colleagues from Chile who share our commitment to the vital work taking place in the Chilean Sub-Antarctic. We had fruitful conversations about how to advance our mutual interests, how to further connect our educational programs and how to help create a sustainable future for this region." UNT President Neal Smatresk says. "We believe that our collaboration will make a difference in preserving this fragile ecosystem thanks to our relationship with the Chilean government, the University of Magallanes and the Pontifical Catholic University."

As part of its long-standing leadership of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, on Oct. 19, UNT hosted a delegation from Chile as part of the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. As the Department of State's premier professional exchange program, current and emerging foreign leaders participate in short-term visits to the U.S. related to their field of interest.

UNT President Neil Smatresk and Provost of the Universidad de Magallanes, Jose Maripani. Photo by Angilee Wilkerson.

The delegation toured the U.S. in advance of the United Nations Santiago Climate Change Conference to be held in December in Chile. Before visiting UNT, the delegation participated in the international launch of Chile's Sub-Antarctic Cape Horn Center at a special celebration held by the Chilean Embassy in Washington, D.C. UNT is a partner in the new center in Puerto Williams, Chile, at the southern tip of South America. The center aims to become a national and international model for the long-term study of social sciences and ecology in the context of global climate change.

While in Washington, the delegation also met with the Inter-American Development Bank and visited the headquarters of the Pew Charitable Trusts where UNT, the Embassy of Chile to the U.S. and the Omora Foundation participated in a panel discussion about climate change.

In January, Chile announced the creation of its newest marine protected area, the Diego Ramírez Drake Passage Marine Park, which followed years of work by the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, an international network of organizations - including UNT, the University of Magallanes and the Omora Ethnobotanical Park- that incorporates traditional ecological knowledge, arts and culture and environmental ethics in its conservation and policymaking efforts. The Diego Ramírez Drake Passage Marine Park located at the southernmost end of the Americas is the largest such park in South America, extending over 55,000 square miles and a stretch of ocean with rich biodiversity, and is considered one of the last pristine areas in the world.

Photos of plant and Darwin Cordillera glacier; background photo by Paola Vezzani.

Members of the group included UNT faculty Ricardo Rozzi and Jim Kennedy who organized the International Visitor Leadership Program visit to UNT. While at UNT, the delegation and several distinguished guests from Chile met with campus leaders and toured research facilities. The group traveled to California to visit agencies that manage marine sanctuaries before returning to Chile.

The Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program received a major financial boost in 2018 when the Chilean government awarded the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve $20 million for a new Cape Horn Sub-Antarctic Center.

"This means an opportunity to strengthen the social mission and research excellence in a privileged place for the monitoring of climate change and testing of a sustainable development," says Ricardo Rozzi, the director of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program and a UNT professor of philosophy and religion.

The Cape Horn Sub-Antarctic Center is set to open a new world-class 2,750 square-meter facility focused on promoting sustainable development for the Chilean Antarctic Province. In addition to featuring space dedicated to scientific research that aims to attract specialists from around the world, the center also will include an interpretive visitor center where tourists can learn about the biodiversity of Cape Horn.

Since 2006, students from UNT and various other U.S. and South American universities have participated in Tracing Darwin's Path, a study abroad program in the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve that blends environmental philosophy and biology with the study of art and culture. The Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program at UNT, the University of Magallanes in Chile and the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Chile coordinate this interdisciplinary program.

In June 2018, UNT joined the University of Magallanes, the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and the Chilean Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in consolidating a partnership strategy for the management of the Cape Horn center.

"The new center will provide UNT students along with students around the world with an extraordinary opportunity to experience the transdisciplinary approach to biocultural conservation in one of the last pristine regions of the world," Rozzi says.

UNT alumna Dr. Tamara Contador is nominated for the 2019 ASPIRE science award

The APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research, and Education ("ASPIRE") is an annual award sponsored by Wiley and Elsevier that recognizes young scientists who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in scientific research and collaboration with scientists in the region. This year, ASPIRE received 15 nominees contributing to the ASPIRE theme of natural laboratories. See all the nominees here.

"Dr. Contador is a biologist specializing in freshwater ecosystems. Her work has led to the identification and valuation of one of the most valuable Chilean natural laboratories: the Magellanic Sub-Antarctic ecoregion in the UNESCO Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. Dr. Contador's research focuses on the adaptations of sub-Antarctic and Antarctic aquatic insects to global change in freshwater ecosystems through the study of their ecophysiology, life histories and distribution. Dr. Contador has published in over 15 peer reviewed journals." Read more about Dr. Contador here and here.

The Ocean Awards for 2019 - Judges' Special Award to the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program

The Ocean Awards 2019

The winners of the Ocean Awards for 2019 have been announed and among them is the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program. The Judges' Special Award was given for the creation in January 2018 of the Diego Ramirez-Drake Passage Marine Park. The 25th marine protected area in Chile, the seventh in Patagonia and the largest such park in South America, it extends over 144,390 square kilometres and a stretch of ocean with a rich biodiversity of its own.

Dr. Shaun Russell (center) accepted the award on behalf of the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program from two of the judges, Sacha Bonson (left, Editorial Director of Boat International) and Charles Clover (right, Executive Chair, Blue Marine Foundation) on June 10 at Fishmonger's Hall in London. Learn more about the Ocean Awards and all of this year's judges here.

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi has been awarded the prestigious Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education

From the Ecological Society of America's website:

"Odum Award recipients demonstrate their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs through teaching, outreach, and mentoring activities.

Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, Professor at the University of North Texas, is a giant in the field of biocultural conservation and has pioneered innovative methods of teaching the integration of philosophy and ecology. He teaches and mentors students across all levels, starting from preschool, K-12 groups, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as informal adult education. Rozzi clearly takes the approach of getting the greatest knowledge of ecology to the greatest number of people and in so doing, making large-scale conservation impact. He holds multiple professor, researcher, and director appointments across institutions in both Chile and the U.S. His work as well as his approach to education focuses on the inclusion of diverse audiences, championing cultural and socio-economic issues in Latin America.

Rozzi is a thought leader in ecological conservation in theory and in practice. He has authored more than 25 books, more than 150 referred journal articles, and over 50 book chapters, both in English and in Spanish. Beyond creating globally recognized education programs - such as Field Environmental Philosophy - and novel teaching activities - such as Ecotourism with a Hand Lens - Rozzi also engages with governmental policies and the media to build bridges for international approaches to ecological education."

Read more about other award recipients here.

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