Date: June 8, 2000
Chair: John Bohn
Treasurer: David Anderson
Location: Citigroup Center
Speaker: Dr. Chris Wemmer, Smithsonian Institution
This program suggested by OAH member Steve Kinyon who is spending three weeks in Burma this Spring focusing on butterflies as part of this Biodiversity Project.
Dr. Chris Wemmer is Director of the Conservation and Research Center of the Smithsonian Institution. He also runs a 3,200 acre farm outside Washington as a research facility for endangered species. He has been involved with numerous programs around the world but his passion is biological conservation in Burma, specifically the Myanmar Biodiversity Project, a five year old project to teach protection of wildlife ranging from spiders and butterflies to endangered species of deer and wild elephant populations.
Dr. Wemmer has an M.A. in Biology from San Francisco State College and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Maryland, is Associate Director for Conservation at the Conservation and Research Center ("CRC"), National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution. As a Smithsonian Scientist, Dr. Wemmer has been involved in various aspects of Third World conservation since the 1970's. He has served as scientific administrator of the Smithsonian-Nepal Tiger Ecology project, has advised the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Asian Elephant Ecology Project, and is Chairman of the IUCN's Deer Specialist Group. Since 1987 he has developed and organized conservation and zoo biology training courses in developing countries. Dr. Wemmer is particularly interested in grassroots approaches to building conservation capacity in the Third World, particularly through long term ecology projects in protected areas. He has worked in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Burma, and has many publications to his credit.
The Conservation & Research Center's mission is to advance conservation of biological diversity. In meeting the Smithsonian Institution's mandate, CRC increases knowledge through investigations of threatened species, habitats, and communities, and disseminates knowledge through advanced studies, professional training, and public outreach.
The Biodiversity Programs of the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) contributes to the Smithsonian Institution's 1994 commitment by Secretary Heyman to have a deeper participation by other key units of the Smithsonian Institution including the National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the National Air and Space Museum, as well as colleagues in Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, and Panama and at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Biological Service..
Biodiversity Programs Mission: To understand and conserve the diversity of the world's fauna and flora
Biodiversity Programs provide administrative and financial support for: Research, particularly by NMNH and other Smithsonian professionals, on biological diversity including inquiries into tropical and temperate, marine and terrestrial, and genetic subjects, scholarly activities on biodiversity subjects.
- Increase our knowledge of the world's natural history through taxonomic collection and data analyses, as well as ecological and interdisciplinary studies.
- Improve education for this and the next generation of scientists, natural resource users and managers, and serve as a catalyst for information exchange between scientists and decision-makers
Objectives: Biodiversity Programs seeks to build long-term relationships with all key participants in biodiversity research, management and education. Linkages are within the Smithsonian bureaus, other government and non-government organizations and universities here and abroad with a goal of associating our scientific staff with the global network of experts shaping biodiveristy-related programs.
Knowledge: We will foster and conduct more investigations in temperate, marine and genetic biodiversity, as well as participate in the global community identifying existing biological collections and launching new surveys to fill in missing areas. Biodiversity Programs' existing core programs such as Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems, Biodiversity of the Guianas, Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments and Measurement and Assessment of Biodiversity will be strengthened and expanded to support regional approaches to the study of biodiversity. We will improve our system of diffusion of knowledge and providing data collected to users in the research and planning arenas using printed, electronic and all available media to disseminate this knowledge.
Education: We will bring more foreign and U.S. minorities, scholars and students into the educational and training process of museum curation and research as well as continue providing the international model with the Biodiversity Measuring and Monitoring and related courses. We will publish course manuals for instructors and students to accelerate the process of information transfer worldwide. We will explore all other media possibilities as they evolve for expanded dissemination of research and education results.
Partnerships: Biodiversity Programs counts among its partners in science, conservation and education other key units of the Smithsonian Institution including the National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the National Air and Space Museum, as well as colleagues in Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, and Panama and at the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Biological Service.