Luis E. Vargas-Castro
Foundation of the Distance State University for the Development and Promotion of Distance Education (FUNDEPREDI), Costa Rica
As one of the Scientific Product Grant Program recipients, 4th quarter of 2018, I am glad to share good news on how our citizen science project with high school kids is starting to develop. We have secured the participation of 5 local high schools (only one more pending!), in rural communities of Santa Cruz, Guanacaste province, Costa Rica. After a series of meetings with the principals and school teachers, I must say that we are truly amazed and motivated by the warmth and emotion with which they welcomed us at the different institutions visited.
In each one of these sessions, we explained why bats are key contributors to healthy ecosystems and presented the general plan of the research project. In addition, we described how innovative technological tools, such as the Echo Meter Touch 2s —kindly provided by Wildlife Acoustics— are useful to monitor wildlife. In this particular case, how students are going to be able to record bat ultrasounds just by conveniently connecting them to cellphones! I feel optimistic with the keen interest among our growing group of allies (from public and private sectors) in facilitating the students’ engagement with our project.
We have already set specific dates and coordinated most of the logistics for the upcoming workshops with the students, to teach them how to use the Echo Meter Touch 2s. Once they have received training and the equipment, we will start recording bats in a synchronized effort on multiple spots of the Santa Cruz landscape. Therefore, not only our research team will grow with their participation, but students will also benefit from experiencing science and technology first-hand. More importantly, project participants will then have the power to teach other people about the importance of protecting bats and the numerous benefits they provide. More soon!