Archive for October, 2013

The Penguin Counters

October 9, 2013

Dear Penguin Place

Yes, we aim to inspire a whole new generation of field biologists! With just 24 hours to go on our Kickstarter campaign, please join us and share our links, so we can expand our film’s educational and science components.

When this new generation of young scientists visit the Antarctic, they will be treading on a visionary concept – a continent that is legally owned by no one and solely dedicated to the pursuit of science, peace and environmental conservation. The size of the US and Mexico combined, all 5.4 million square miles of this massive continent are overseen by the 50 member nations of the Antarctic Treaty System.

The way Ron Naveen got involved goes back to the early nineties, when the Treaty System outlined a need for baseline data on geographical and biological features in this fragile region. Having been an expedition leader in the Peninsula area, he knew which sites to visit and which had the most diverse species. With Oceanites already in existence, Ron secured funding from the US Marine Mammal Commission in 1993 to develop a plan for such a database. One year later with funding from the NSF’s Office of Polar Programs, the Antarctic Site Inventory was born.

From the start, penguin colonies were ideal for Ron’s study, which fit his passion for seabirds perfectly. With accessible nesting areas and population sites that could potentially be monitored from season to season, penguins offered the best clues on environmental changes. Unlike any other research project in the Antarctic, the ASI covers an area of half a million square miles, achievable only because they work ‘as nomads’, far from permanent research stations. Hence their data is comprehensive and unprecedented.

Yet with the size of the Antarctic, the penguin counters operate in only a very small corner of this astonishing continent.

‘It’s so quiet here,’ says Ron, ‘that all you hear are the penguins and your heartbeats thumping through your parka. It’s a place to study, a place to think, and of course, a place to dream.’

Please let these dreams include you. We are grateful for any donation, large or small. Funding beyond our goal will be used for extra science and educational materials – all important and very much needed to keep the research going.

Thank you so much!
Harriet, Peter & Ron
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Tackling climate change, one penguin at a time…