So, we wanted to kick off the observatory project in February with some action already, but as it is probably in most cases with such projects: we are delayed. Of course the money doesn't flow as rapidly as it could and also the purchase process of much of the equipment within Ecuador and especially from abroad is also somewhat slow.
The presidential elections in Ecuador will also cost us a week, because we had to re-schedule the training. Currently we are planning the training of the field assistants for the 17th and 18th of April. Of the participants of those trainings the field assistants for the project work (May - July) will be selected. We will probably have the field assistants taking turns in order to have as many people as possible experiencing what research field work is like.
In parallel we have started the purchasing process of much of the equipment that we need for either setting up hectare plots and also the monitoring activities.
As we found out there is a surprising amount of weather stations connected to a network in the region already we will be trying to buy a piece of equipment that can be integrated into that network in order to contribute to the greater good with our data.
In terms of camera traps: in the past we have used Bushnell (various models) almost exclusively. However, there is a wide range of different brands / models in very different pricing categories out there now, so we'll probably mix out portfolio a bit in order to gain more experience with a larger variety of camera traps. The Bushnells - in retrospective - were okay, some models better than others, but it's never wrong to have a little look around in what else is on the market.
Noé will probably be starting the bird monitoring activities next months, so at least with that part we will be completely on track.
Of course the lack of maintenance on many trails over the past 12 months (yes, that's how long we've been out of business! Happy anniversary, Lockdown!) have rendered some of the trails almost impassible, so that's another issues that we have to take on before starting the project and - of course - before receiving tourists again.