What does a research organization like the Oceanic Society or EarthWatch do to prepare for each research project? Turns out they are always working hard behind the scenes to make certain each participant has a rewarding experience and that the research project is successful.


Conducting research in another country and taking a group of people along to participate in the research requires months and months of prior planning and preparation. The staff at the Oceanic Society has to make certain that all the logistics for each trip are in place. We double, triple and quadruple check all the arrangements that have been made. This includes making sure we have all of the required permits and that they are up-to-date.

When people sign up to go on a trip we first send them the research plan so they have time to become familiar with the goals, objectives and methods of the research project. As the trip gets nearer to departure, we mail to everyone who will be going on the trip, all the documents they need. This includes travels plans, airline tickets, packing lists, etc. We encourage participants to bring school supplies for children living in the area so we let them know what would be appropriate and what is most needed.

In the case of the river dolphin trip we have to notify the people at the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and tell them when will be arriving and who is coming on the trip with us. We work closely with the researcher and the research director to make certain all the research equipment is in working condition and that we have everything we will need to conduct the research. All the educational materials for the volunteers need to be current as well.

It is important for us to reconfirm emergency and evacuation procedures in the rare event that something happens and we need to get the volunteers to safety.

Lastly we have to pay for all the services, such as the boat charter, local guides, hotel reservations and miscellaneous items before everyone arrives. This is ongoing for us as we do many trips in any given year but each trip is unique and that is one reason it is so interesting.

The work at the Oceanic Society always continues even though the research season ends. At the conclusion of each journey we make sure all the appropriate reports are filed with the local agencies. We also made sure the research results are disseminated to the general public. Often we assist local conservation groups with writing position statements to help protect the environment. All of this keeps us very, very busy.


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