I currently serve as the Director of Conservation Science for OnePlanet. I previously served as the Director of Outreach of OnePlanet from 2018-2022 before coming to Georgetown. OnePlanet's mission is to promote biocultural conservation in collaboration with Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon.
Here are some of the specific projects I am a part of at OnePlanet!
biocultural resource management
Much of my research, from camera trapping to interviews to mineral licks, fits into this Biocultural Resource Management project at OnePlanet. OnePlanet has been monitoring the biodiversity in the MKRCA since 2013, and my work is the latest facet of that larger initiative. This project emphasizes that Indigenous communities are sustained by the natural resources of their ancestral lands, and those resources are intricately tied to culture. A main focus of the project is crafting sustainable management plans in collaboration with the Maijuna for many of the species which they depend upon for food security and/or economic stability.
In the Amazon, native bees do not have stingers, but do produce delicious honey. This project focuses on beekeeping of native stingless bees as a way for the Maijuna to earn a sustainable income and, therefore, not have to resort to resource exploitation for basic needs. Stingless bees hold a special place in Maijuna traditional culture, so this is also a way to make money from traditional practices. Honey that is produced by the hives kept by Maijuna beekeepers is sold to tourists that visit the community or the region, and to a local market in Iquitos for a premium price. The project has resulted in much greater economic returns for Maijuna beekeepers than they would earn otherwise.
The Maijuna collaborate with local ecotourism agency Amazon Explorama Lodges to facilitate ecotourism activities in the community of Sucusari. Maijuna experts guide tourists through a range of activities focused on various projects they manage or subjects they want to teach, from stingless bees to medicinal plants to fishing. These tourists are often international, and may range from university groups which spend up to a week in the community, or half-day visitors that just pop in. We work with the Maijuna to do capacity-building and training on engaging with international tourists, so they they can communicate what they want to teach as clearly as possible and earn a sustainable income for conserving their ancestral lands.