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US embassy hosts citizen science and climate change program in Dominica
Published on October 19, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dr Gillian Bowser (centre) makes a point to the Kalinago group. Seated at her left is Chief Charles Williams, and on the right is Minister for Kalinago Affairs Casius Darroux

ROSEAU, Dominica -- A three-country traveling program to promote ways ordinary “citizen scientists” can help observe and promote awareness of climate change in their communities, sponsored by the US Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), recently visited Dominica.

During her visit to Dominica, program presenter Dr Gillian Bowser, research scientist at Colorado State University, traveled to the Kalinago Territory, where she was warmly welcomed by leaders of the indigenous Kalinago community, including Chief Charles Williams and minister for Kalinago affairs, Casius Darroux.

Bowser was treated to a tour of the Territory before conducting a citizen science workshop that focused on environmental changes the Kalinago had observed in recent years. During the interactive workshop, Bowser led the group on an outdoor excursion to collect various plant and insect specimens, as well as to observe the ecology of the Territory.

To supplement the workshop, and fully equip the Kalinago with the tools to implement techniques that Bowser shared, the US embassy donated a number of electronic devices including two Apple iPads, a desktop computer, a printer, and a digital camera bundle.

“The US embassy hosted this program because the nations of the Eastern Caribbean are highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change due to their small geographic size, low coastal elevations, and fragile landscapes,” said deputy public affairs officer Jeff Barrus. “We particularly wanted to hold this workshop with the Kalinago people because they are generational stewards of their environment and keen observers of the changes taking place in it. The US embassy supports efforts to build capacity within the region to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. This begins with widespread awareness of the problem by the general population.”

Bowser is a research scientist at Colorado State University where her research is focused on biodiversity, sustainability, and women’s scholarship. She has devoted much of her efforts to how climate change impacts resources and communities. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology at Northwestern University, a Master of Science in Zoology at the University of Vermont, and a doctoral degree at the University of Missouri – St Louis. She worked with the National Park Service for over 20 years as a wildlife ecologist, including 11 years spent studying insects, bison and rodents at Yellowstone National Park.
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