The Annual Earthwatch P.I. conference was held from 1-3 March in Cambridge, Boston, US. The conference was attended by over 70 Principal Investigators and project staff, representing around 60 Earthwatch projects worldwide. Projects represented included Marine Mammals of Brazil, Dolphins and Whales of Moray Firth, Puerto Rico's Rainforest, Echidnas and Goannas of Kangaroo Island and Ghana's Manatees.
The main aim of the conference was to train P.I.'s and project staff on all aspects of field management, health and safety, this included risk assessment, emergency response planning and Earthwatch policies and procedures. The first two days of the conference covered aspects of pre-fielding preparation and the in-field management of projects, and training took the form of presentations, discussions and breakout groups. The sessions were attended by many scientists from projects new to Earthwatch, and also those from long running projects, who had a wealth of experience to offer to those newer to Earthwatch.
In the time outside the organised sessions the scientists had plenty of opportunity to network, share research and experiences. Much fun was had over 10-pin bowling and billiards when they had a chance to let their hair down and get to know their fellow scientists and Earthwatch staff in a relaxed setting.
Kevin Robinson, P.I. on Dolphins and Whales of the Moray Firth, said:
"It was a terrific event and a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the company and exchange of other Principal Investigators from all around the globe."
He added: "It was a valuable experience, and I now find myself thoroughly inspired and enthused for the coming 2007 field season and looking forward to meeting so many new faces! Roll on 6 May when our first EW team of 2007 arrives!"