Why support FPI on Giving Tuesday?

Every year #GivingTuesday serves as a reminder to think of others in our own communities and beyond, to celebrate a spirit of generosity, and to recall the better angels of our nature. This year has been particularly difficult, painful, and divisive, but even small gestures may help to brighten someone’s day, and lay the foundations for a better, safer, more equitable world. 

The pandemic forced FPI to cancel all of our field research and training programs for 2020. While this effectively ended all new revenue and data collection for the year, it also amplified our commitment to wildlife disease screening and pathogen monitoring. We spent this time seeking new partners and collaborators, developing resources for expanded biosurveillance using cutting edge conservation technology and genomics, and making our systems for sharing data and protocols with others more robust. 

However, it was not only longstanding problems with the prevention, monitoring, and response to spillover events that have come to a head in 2020. This year has also been dominated by the many longstanding racial and social justice crises that had been likewise ignored until reaching a horrifying tipping point. We have spent much time reflecting on these issues as well, and reworking our programs and research to rise to this moment. 

Our renewed aim with our small non-profit organization is to continually improve how we contribute to more fairness, diversity, and inclusion in our programs. This summer we announced the formation of our Future Black Scientists fund, which will award full scholarships to attend our field training programs, expanding opportunities for students of color who are underrepresented in the biological sciences. We are also maintaining our focus on recruiting and extending more opportunities to students and scientists in the countries where we work.

Our vision is a future where both science and society will benefit from the talents and skills of people from all backgrounds. We pledge to maintain this as a core guiding principle, and if you share this vision, we ask that you keep us in mind when you give on  #GivingTuesday. 

Two Ways to Make a Difference

As the effects of the global pandemic are felt keenly by everyone in their own homes and communities, it may seem as though the movements, population dynamics, and pathogen loads of animals in faraway tropical forests are a trivial matter. In reality, however, it is at times like these that the importance of this type of research becomes most salient.

The Importance of Wildlife Disease Screening

For more than a decade, FPI has been monitoring the disease status (including viruses) carried by our long-term study populations. The scientific community has strong reason to believe that COVID-19 was created by the accidental transmission of a virus from a reservoir species to a novel species (humans), and this type of spillover event is only expected to increase with human pressures on wildlife. Sadly, due to the global pandemic and travel restrictions, 2020 has left a problematic gap in our biosurveillance data. While this cannot be recovered, it becomes paramount that we are prepared for a greatly expanded 2021 field season. This will entail a larger team, wider sampling among various taxa, and screening for more pathogens than ever before. 

Taking Action
The video below shows a rare glimpse into some of the fieldwork that we do related to wildlife health monitoring, as well as some of the conservation technology we are developing. We had planned one of our most ambitious field seasons for this summer, but all of that planning and coordination was no match for a global pandemic. We are currently working hard to find ways that we might prevent a huge gap in not just our long-term data-sets, but also our budget, which has been greatly impacted.  This could possibly be achieved with help from our Peruvian partners, including a small team assembled by one of our field veterinarians, but to do this we are also asking anyone who has managed to stay financially secure during these difficult times to consider even a small donation. Your help –even if it is just sharing our posts on social media– means a lot to us, and can be instrumental in allowing this work to move forward at a critical time. We can’t do this without you. 

Sincerely, 

The Field Projects International Team.

This fund will be used solely to create scholarships for future black scientists, naturalists, and conservationists. Black people are woefully underrepresented in the sciences in general, and this needs to change. FPI is committed to addressing not only practical barriers to enrollment in our field courses and research training programs –such as the monetary cost of participating– but also addressing social and psychological barriers as well. This means making a concerted effort to recruit people of color into our programs, making sure our messaging is inclusive, and ensuring that the field environment is safe and welcoming. We believe that without more black voices in scientific fields and black contributions to research and conservation, our community is incomplete and the world at large is a much poorer place. 

Giving today will support the following programs:

Scientific Research: 2021 will mark the 12th field season for wildlife research at Los Amigos in Peru. Until COVID-19, we had never missed a field season since we first began studying wildlife in 2009. While our hope is still to collect some baseline data in collaboration with our Peruvian partners, we also must begin planning an expanded and more intensive 2021 field season. With your support, the immense hit to our research and budgets can be mitigated, and we can enhance our biosurveillance and wildlife monitoring efforts.

Wildlife Disease Testing: We have 8 years of disease monitoring data on primates, and two more on birds, bats and small mammals from the Los Amigos Biological Station. Our goal is not only to continue disease screening, but increase the scope of our efforts. We want to to test for more pathogens, to focus on more species, and to bring more aspiring young scientists into the field to help with collecting this data.  

 Conservation Technology: Our plans are to “Tech the Rainforest” by installing a low-cost, energy saving, canopy-based network that would listen continuously for any signals from sensors in the forest below. Initial investments have made it possible to develop and test these systems, but we will need more resources to set up the network in the rainforest and deploy custom GPS collars on focal primate groups. 

Support Science Today

We know that giving today is harder than ever, but we are committed to continuing wildlife research and training programs in a safe, inclusive way that is oriented toward conservation science.
Please help us continue our mission.

Who Are We?

Since our founding in 2009 as Primates Peru, our organization (now known as Field Project International) has trained and recruited >300 scientists in the Peruvian Amazon, as well as conducted several field biology courses per year in Peru and India. We are partners with local conservation organizations in the creation and management of the Amazon’s first molecular genetics laboratory, which we call the Green Lab. Through this venture we hope to directly contribute towards in situ biodiversity monitoring and conservation efforts related to wildlife rehabilitation and rescue. As a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization, we are committed to transparency and accountability in the management of our finances.

What Do We Do?

We now operate the largest primate mark and recapture program in Perú, and one of the largest on the continent, which has catapulted us into areas of research such as primate communication, visual and olfactory perception, parasite ecology, dispersal behavior, territoriality, development, and senescence. Since 2012, we have viewed disease monitoring and biodiversity conservation as two sides of the same coin. Our biosurveillance programs have expanded to include bats and rodents, two taxonomic groups with high likelihoods of pathogens with zoonotic potential. 

 

How Do We Support Conservation?

Numerous studies have confirmed that government-protected forests can never hope to contain and protect all the flora and fauna present in biodiversity hotspots. A large responsibility falls on the shoulders of private citizens and organizations to create forest corridors and refuges for plants and animals that fall outside national parks (or have spatial needs that are larger than a single park). Our field courses and research programs target these sites. We bring a global population of students to our field sites annually, which contributes heavily to making each site economically viable. Approximately 40% of the fees for our activity-based courses go toward field station fees, which directly support local conservation efforts. 

 

 

How Do We Support #WomenInScience?

Although women remain grossly underrepresented in senior academic positions, we’ve actually seen far more women than men in the field doing phenomenal science (data current to 2018). FPI is committed to supporting female scientists as they pursue degrees and equitable employment, and we also actively encourage more women to follow this career path.

 

What Is Our Goal?

The underlying goal that drives all of our programming is biodiversity conservation and disease monitoring through the application of novel, low-cost, conservation technologies. We believe the best way we can contribute to this cause is through research into the complexities of tropical ecology and biosurveillance, as well as courses and programs that will train and inspire the next generation of biologists, conservationists, scientists, land-use planners, and policymakers around the world.

 

How Do We Give Back?

All projects contribute to the training courses that we offer and serve as a platform for learning for our long-term trainees. We maintain a 5:1 student-teacher ratio for our courses, which draw aspiring young scientists from around the globe to learn many facets of tropical ecology and conservation genomics along with the research methodologies used in each. In order to assure talented and highly motivated students are able to attend regardless of their ability to pay, we offer several scholarship programs for all our courses. Our scholarship winners have come from as far away as Iran and India to attend courses in Peru.

Will Your Donation Be Tax-Exempt?

          • We are registered as a 501 c(3) non-profit organization under the name Primates Peru in the state of Missouri. Download our tax-exemption letter here.
          • After you donate, you will receive an email confirming your tax deduction from us that can be saved to deduct your gift on your taxes if needed.
          • Download our Form 990 for 2018-2019 here.
          • Download our Form 990 for 2017-2018 here.
          • Download our Form 990 for 2016-2017 here.
          • Download our Form 990 for 2015-2016 here.
          • Download our Form 990 for 2014-2015 here.
          • Download our Form 990 for 2013-2014 here.
          • Use password Primates_Peru if prompted.

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