Applied Conservation

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Me with my camera on the Essequibo river

Principles

My conservation work and research focuses on the principles of fairness, justice, and respect. I seek to not make the same mistakes of past conservationists and impose external solutions, but rather to engage and empower local peoples and communities to manage and conserve their resources, as they have often done for thousands of years.

South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS)

Roaming around with the SRCS in 2016-2017

I currently serve as the Scientific and Research Development Consultant for the South Rupununi Conservation Society (SRCS). In this capacity, I work on building the SRCS (and therefore, the South Rupununi (and wider))’s scientific capacity through training SRCS team members and others in research methodology. I also serve as support in a variety of ways for past, ongong, and future SRCS conservation efforts. More details on my work with the SRCS are available below.

Informed Decision-making and Planning

Communities

Human-jaguar conflict research team at Karasabai village

My research is focused on context-specific solutions that focus on community and individual self-efficacy. Many of my research questions (and those of my collaborators), along with many other projects stem from conservation priorities raised as concerns by Indigenous and/or local communities on the ground in Guyana.

Human-jaguar conflict research team at Karasabai village

My research, and the research of my peers, focuses on effective research through respectful engagement of Indigenous particpants as active participants in the research process to either inform or work with community members and/or leaders to generate context-specific and relevant community-owned solutions to conservation issues.

Human-jaguar conflict research team at Karasabai village

By training and enabling research teams and informing community leadership, we actively leverage our skills to equip communities to interrogate their natural resources as scientists themselves, conducting research to inform management decisions as needs arise.

This research, capacity development, and community engagement would not be possible or successful without the overarching principles of Indigenous rights and mutual respect.

Human-jaguar conflict research team at Karasabai village

Policy

Boats at Hope Beach, Guyana

Similarly, much of my research addressing policy and management needs of governmental stakeholders, such as the Government of Guyana’s Protected Areas Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and Guyana Forestry Commission. As my research, on the ground, is only possible through past and current partnerships with a multitude of stakeholders, my policy engagement and advocacy builds on my 9+ years of experience working with and for various governmental bodies.

My field notes

This has also been the case for partnership with local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), with whom I collaborate, have shared data with, and/or have ongoing relationships with. These include the Iwokrama International Center, Conservation International-Guyana, ReWild (formerly Global Wildlife Conservation), and the World Wildlife Fund-Guianas.

Education

Capacity Development

Examining visual aids while practicing surveys

A major focus of my current work is through the recognition that I have achieved much of what I have through many others who saw promise in me and helped out in some way, form, or fashion. Similarly, I believe conservation, and science, are more effective when as many people as possible are at the table, part of the discussion, all as equals.

Examining visual aids while practicing surveys

My work therefore seeks to empower people on the ground through active engagement in the scientific process, and capacity development (not limited to scientific capacity). I have trained people, through working with people on-the-ground, in email, proposal, and application writing; photography; and scientific inquiry.

Examining visual aids while practicing surveys

I believe that both science and conservation practice in Guyana and globally will only benefit from adding, through enabling as many voices, with as many ideas, at the table.

Environmental Education

SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre)

Through partnership with local non-governmental organizations, I have been involved in a variety of environmental education efforts, that have leveraged my visual and written communication skills. With SRCS, in 2016-2017, we designed a series of posters and a book about the common birds of the Rupununi for use by children in the South Rupununi. The books have been adapted to a larger audience and have now evolved into a series covering various taxa, including mammals.


Posters

SRCS Red Siskin Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Red Siskin Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Hoary-throated Spinteail Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Hoary-throated Spinteail Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Bearded Tachuri Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Bearded Tachuri Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Harpy Eagle Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre)i
SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Toco toucan Poster (Design & text by MPierre)


Books

SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre) SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Bird Book 1st Edition (Design & text by MPierre and other contributors)
SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre) SRCS Sun Parakeet Poster (Design & text by MPierre)
SRCS Bird Book 2nd Edition (Design & text by MPierre and other contributors)

Future Directions

Rupununi from above

Through my current capacity with SRCS, I will continue to engage Indigenous and local communities, community leaders, and community members. I will continue to do respectful research that focuses on informing practical, community-led, and community-owned solutions to issues involving socio-ecological systems. I will encourage my peers, in wider conservation, to critically examine their approach to conservation science and practice through demonstrating better, and ethical, conservation research.

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