I hope that everyone had a great Spring and Summer, we certainly did at ITEC! I hope that this new format for presenting the station updates will be welcomed by everyone.
ITEC Summer Courses and Visiting Groups
A lot has taken place at the ITEC station since my last update; its been a very busy year so far and promises to remain so.
There have been several ITEC field courses presented this year so far and include Coral Reef Ecology, Neotropical Herpetology, Canopy Access Techniques, Tropical Rainforest and Canopy Ecology and Tropical Avian Ecology. We will be adding Primate Ecology and Behavior over Winter Session this year.
We want to extend a warm welcome to the Tropical Avian Ecology professor, Dr. Scott Walter, the newest member of the ITEC faculty. Scott comes to us from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University.
ITEC hosted a number of academic groups this year as well, particularly in the Winter and Spring. These include both high school groups (Cambridge School of Weston, Students Without Borders, Ukiah Unified School District) and college groups (College of Charleston, Anderson University of New England, Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), School for Field Studies (SFS) and the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).
Coming up this Fall are groups from OTS, Beacon Academy and Union College. Other than September, ITEC will host groups in every month this year!
Research at ITEC
Sam Kaviar (Fulbright Fellowship recipient), returned to ITEC to continue is work with the pygmy three-toed sloth and later enrolled in our Tropical Avian Ecology Course.
Doctoral students, Katherine Dziedzic and Holland Elder, both from Oregon State University, spent several months at the station conducting their dissertation work on coral reefs. Rick “mothman” Mosher also made an appearance to continue his research on area moths.
Dr. Barry Sullender, now teaching at Cuixma School in Mexico, along with his assistants, Shaneela, Angela and Christina, also spent a few weeks at the station continuing their work on a number of arthropod subjects. Doug Doughty also made a visit to the station this summer to continue his work on area gastropods. This was Doug’s 12th year at ITEC.
Other visitors to the station this year include Mary Susan Pavelka (U. Calgary), George Argyros and Jerry Bresowar (Emory and Henry College), and Kevin Brennan (Winterline Global Skills) who were checking out the station for future courses. Volunteers David and Janis Brown of Albany, Oregon, provided much needed help at the station and plan to return again next year. Sam’s dad and uncle, Craig and Brent Kaviar, also made a visit to the station last summer.
Construction Project Update
Construction at the field station continued even while ITEC academic sessions and client visits were ongoing.
The walkway through the swamp out to the coral reef is now about three-quarters completed. This project was hampered somewhat due to the difficulty of acquiring the proper materials coupled to the extremely high tides that we’ve been experiencing. With any luck, the project will be completed by December this year.
We have also finished the long-anticipated deck along the back of the dining room. This deck, measuring 10 feet by 45 feet, has become the most popular place at the station.
A lot of bird, monkey and sloth watching takes place here, as well as eating, of course.
Along with the deck we’ve set up a 1250 gal water tank drawing water from this building’s roof. Our water supply has thus been enhanced both in terms of catchment area and volume stored.
Work on the laboratory and library has also continued. The lab building now has a concrete walkway making it easier (and cleaner!) to access the lab. The counters and tables have been surfaced with formica and a lab ware drying board was installed behind the sink.
The glass-fronted bookcase doors have finally been installed in the library and now most lectures are presented here. The lab and library are in continual use.
The most exciting news is that construction of the Faculty Residence building has finally begun! This building will house up to 12 ITEC faculty and long-term researchers, and is located on the far side of the central shed.
The building runs towards the big Ficus tree facing the bay and will have verandas that mirror the dorm building. At the time of this writing the foundation is nearing completion. The next step is to begin the framing of the building but this will depend on the availability of funding.
Future Construction Projects
Over the next few months we will continue with the construction of the Faculty Residence and walkway to the coral reef. We will also add two more water tanks which will bring our capacity to 7500 gallons. Other projects include the construction of a lavatory adjacent to the dining hall, laying more concrete walkways between buildings, and moving the central bodega, rebuilding it down the hill near the gate. This will clear up the courtyard and provide a long-awaited view of the forest to the south and Almirante Bay.
We would like to thank everyone again for the donations of time, materials and funds to the construction of the new ITEC field station. We would like to extend a special thanks to Mr. Reid Nagle whose generous donation allowed us to proceed with the construction of the Faculty Residence building at the field station. While we have begun this project, we are still a long ways from completing it. So once again, if any of you wish to contribute either funds, books, equipment or time, we at ITEC would be very grateful. And remember, you can now support ITEC through Amazon.com by clicking on AmazonSmile, http://smile.amazon.com/ch/59-3434081, before you make a puchase. A small portion of the purchase price will be donated to ITEC with everything you buy at Amazon.
Until next time,