Watch the video series, “Gorogonsa Field Notes,” and follow field researchers at the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory as they carry out important research that is helping to restore and preserve the biodiversity of Gorongosa National Park.
Text by Piotr Naskrecki, Gorongosa Restoration Project
For Gorongosa and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park to become a success of conservation, education and science, we need to let the world know about us. Mozambique still carries the stigma of being a country ravaged by war, but our E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory will radically change this negative perception. Part of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory will be dedicated to media production and distribution to serve our mission of sharing biodiversity knowledge with scientists, students, and the public. The Media Facility will also be used to train Mozambican media personnel in the principles and techniques of photography, video production, editing, and media distribution.
Via long-form broadcast TV, short-form digital video, multiple social media platforms, we will reach a number of different audiences from kids in kindergarten to tenured professors. Using existing partnerships (PBS, National Geographic) and new partnerships, we will make sure the work of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory becomes a global science story. We will let the world participate in the exciting adventure of saving this extraordinary place and discovering its incredible biodiversity. Ordinary people can participate virtually in the excitement of discovery and be inspired to act to save the biodiversity in their own backyards.
Peer-to-peer communication will be of vital importance. We will establish live links between the Lab and other facilities in the U.S. and elsewhere to allow us to engage students and the public in our research. Through media partnerships with museums and 3rd level institutions (such as the Harvard Museum of Natural History, American Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institutions) we will bring research scientists and their work into the public eye through a progressive communication strategy, including real-time streaming of E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory activities, scheduled E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory events, and web-based group-conversations such as Google+ Hangout. In addition, we plan to provide real-time digital video and social media dispatches from the field during biodiversity surveys of Gorongosa, with images of newly discovered species, camera-trap video feeds, and online chats/interviews from the field between scientists and students. We envision this communication hub as a way to connect scientists and the general public wherever they are—in museums, schools, and private homes—and demonstrate that exciting, cutting-edge science may come from the most remote corners of the world. More than that, we will communicate the sense of adventure and thrill of discovery; the fragility and incalculable value of biodiversity; the need to protect and save wilderness throughout the African continent and the world.
The Media Facility is slated to house a number of international-scale productions. It will include a climate-controlled area for macro and aquatic videography; this area and the rest of the facility will be available to visiting film crews such as the BBC, thus helping build a reputation for Gorongosa as a destination for science and education.
Photo by Piotr Naskrecki
Additional projects in development that will likely be filmed in the Media Facility are a one-hour museum film about Gorongosa’s invertebrates (working title Tiny Africa) and a one-hour science special about the hidden world of sound in the animal world —nature as you’ve never heard it before.
The work of the lab and its pioneering scientists will inspire further exciting long and short form projects in the future. This marriage of field science and intensive media will be a powerful force for communicating science and conservation messages to the world.
With generous support provided by: